Mob action breaks out downtown

Feb. 05, 2013 @ 09:19 PM

A mob scene erupted Tuesday night at Centennial Station, new home of the High Point Area Arts Council.

During the open house and fund drive kickoff, a flash mob — one of those seemingly spontaneous (wink, wink) dance events — broke out to the tune of Little Eva’s “Locomotion,” part of the railroad theme of the evening, in tribute to Centennial Station’s past as a depot for Norfolk Southern railroad.

Janette McNeill, co-leader of this year’s fund drive with Fred Smith, started the dance from on-stage to end what seemed to be a typical welcoming speech. McNeill is dean of the High Point campus of Guilford Technical Community College, and Smith is with High Point Bank.

Several hundred people, both High Point VIPs and everyday folks, were able to get a look at the new arts facility for the first time since it was purchased in early December. It contains offices for the Arts Council; a large room with a stage and dance floor that can be used for productions or rented to outside groups; and studios for High Point Ballet, which decorated its area with colorful dancers’ costumes, and High Point Community Theatre, which has not moved in yet.

During the evening, the High Point Youth Jazz Orchestra performed and members of the cast of Community Theatre’s upcoming production of “Annie” sang. Dancers from High Point Ballet joined the flash mob.

Last year, the Arts Council fund drive began a new practice of asking donors to make commitments of three-year pledges, rather than being approached each year. Consequently, this year’s fund drive started with $42,000 already in its coffers, said Debbie Lumpkins, executive director.

“It’s seamless for them,” Lumpkins said. “There are people who give consistently, and the fact that they can go ahead and make pledges and don’t have to remember to do it and know the level they’ll be recognized seems to work.”

No specific goal has been set for this year’s fund drive. Last year’s netted $160,413. The fund drive supports the Arts Council and its five affiliate groups. A separate capital campaign is underway to raise money to pay off loans for the purchase of Centennial Station.

vknopfler@hpe.com / 888-3601