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2023 CFA Gala celebrates 75 years of strong roots and new growth

Come Wednesday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m., Kingsbury Hall will be a sea of green as members of the artistic community dressed in “chlorophyll chic” converge to celebrate 75 years of creative excellence at the University of Utah College of Fine Arts’ annual Gala themed “ROOTED.”

With the celebration of the three 2023 Distinguished Alumni juxtaposed by performances and presentations from each academic unit, the evening-length event will be a powerful illustration of the past, present and potential of the College of Fine Arts. Special guest, President Taylor Randall, will also grace the stage in celebration of the impact of the arts at the U.

2023 Distinguished Alumni

  • Marilyn Berrett| Legacy Award, which honors an alum whose seasoned and successful career has brought deserved acclaim not just to them but to the program(s) from which they attended here at the University of Utah as well.
  • Ewa Płonka| Horizon Award, which honors an accomplished mid-career alum on the rise.
  • Georgiana Kennedy Simpson| Arts Educator Award, which honors an alum who has made significant contributions in the area of arts education.

Read more about our 2023 Distinguished Alumni here.

Featured performers 

  • Music: “Conga del Fuego Nuevo” by Arturo Marquez, performed by the Utah Philharmonia
  • Art & Art History: “The New Gittins Gallery” film, made with gratitude for the generosity of the Wheatley family in honor of their mother and artist Mary Lois Wheatley
  • Theatre: Finale from “As You Like It” by William Shakespeare performed by theatre students
  • Film: “Game of Love” written and directed by student Jacob Hagen
  • Dance: “A Choreographic Offering” choreography by José Limón, Music by J.S. Bach, performed by dance students

The evening’s emcee and the new Director of the Department of Theatre’s Musical Theatre Program, Erin Farrell Speer, will also host scholarship recipient, Jasen Dreher, in a conversation about the impact financial support has had on his ability to study music and achieve success.

Starting with a red carpet and photo ops and ending with a dessert and DJ set by Buttahfly Boi Blues on Kingsbury’s plaza, this event will be one for the books.

The CFA Gala 75: ROOTED is free, all are welcome, and no tickets are required. Those who can’t make it to the gala but want to support the ongoing creative efforts of the College of Fine Arts can make a secure online gift today.

This event is sponsored by Mark Miller Subaru, TWIG Media Lab, Lori Tolbert Catering, and UtahPresents with support DoubleTree Suites by Hilton, Nothing Bundt Cakes, and the Nancy Peery Marriott Endowed Fund for Scholarship, Performance, and Production.