Arts fundraiser set Aug. 6 at country club

The Uncommon Cause arts fundraiser, the biggest such event supporting the nonprofit Columbus Area Arts Council, will unfold at 7 p.m. Aug. 6 with a theme of Future Focus at Harrison Lake Country Club.

Tickets are now available for $100 or $125 per person through Aug. 6 at

The arts council provides a range of programming to the community, ranging from the long-running First Fridays For Families gatherings for youngsters and their parents and grandparents to hands-on arts activities such as glass blowing. Moreover, the arts council operates 411 Gallery on Sixth Street downtown, and it recently began hosting street concerts at the colorful Sixth Street Arts Alley, which is still being completed with special lighting and an artsy canopy to be added.

Brooke Hawkins, the arts council’s interim executive director, mentioned that she would ideally like to see a crowd of perhaps 300-plus at the venue that has proven especially popular the past few years with arts supporters.

“We really feel like people love it there (at the country club),” Hawkins said. “It’s so comfortable, people can easily spread out and they can be both indoors or outdoors, and the facility overall just offers a lot of different options for an event like this.”

For entertainment, the fundraiser will welcome the return of live local band Flat Earth, playing pop-rock covers. The group, popular for several years now with local listeners, is known for opening most of its sets with a tune from Seymour native John Mellencamp, and stirring people to hit the dance floor with energetic songs such as its rendition of Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk.”

Band leader March Gotoh said last year that the best part of such events are “that connection we get with a live audience.”

Though Hawkins was just appointed June 1 to temporarily lead the organization, she has extensive experience with the annual arts fundraiser dating to 2008, the first year she volunteered. Since then, she has worked on graphic design, marketing, or helped lead some other aspect of the event.

“It’s definitely familiar territory,” she said.

In fact, in 2017, she and husband, Josh Ratliff, were co-chairs of the gathering at the Columbus Learning Center, where the event generated $110,000.

“We’re ready to set some records this year,” Hawkins said.

The theme is specific to “really focusing on the future of public art specifically within our community,” she said.

Toward that end, the event’s traditional Fund a Need push near the end of the evening will focus on raising dollars for a new Public Art Longevity Fund.

Some of the more visible and popular public art pieces include the Eos sculpture near the entrance of Mill Race Park on Fifth Street downtown and also Flamenco, the bright red sculpture at Fourth and Washington streets, also downtown.

Among the top prizes for the night’s live auction are a privately catered dinner with live music for a group on the closed Sixth Street Arts Alley. Noblitt Fabricating Inc., one of the city’s strongest arts supporters, is making that prize package possible.

“They have been huge contributors to the Sixth Street Arts Alley project,” Hawkins said. “They’re so happy about it, and we’re happy to have them be such a big part of it.”