Arts council to host Uncommon Cause Aug. 24

Brooke Hawkins, executive director of the Columbus Area Arts Council, speaks during the Columbus Area Arts Council 2023 Uncommon Cause: Flourishing Through Art at the Harrison Lake Country Club in Columbus, Ind., Saturday, August 5, 2023.

The nonprofit Columbus Area Arts Council will host the annual Uncommon Cause fundraiser with the theme “Hats Off to the Arts” from 7 to 11 p.m. Aug. 24 at Harrison Lake Country Club, 588 S. Country Club Road in Columbus.

The theme will include prizes or awards for various types of styles of hats.

Early-bird individual ticket prices are $120, available beginning July 17 at the organization’s website at

The evening’s entertainment will be the band Milligan, which has a following here and is performing Saturday at the arts council fundraiser called Hogstock at Hog Molly Brewing Company, 830 Depot St. in Columbus. Organizers said the group performs originals and cover tunes.

The event also includes food, a live auction of high-profile packages such as trips, a silent art auction, a pop-up shop, and a closing-night push called Fund a Need in which attendees are invited to donate to a particular issue that the arts council is committed to.

This year’s Fund a Need is Studio C, a community art studio open to any artist locally to use at Columbus Propeller Inc. MakerSpace, 4760 Ray Boll Boulevard.

Organizers also expect to soon name a special, honored guest for the evening — a person who has contributed for years to the Bartholomew County arts scene.

Last year’s Uncommon Cause grossed approximately $224,000.

“Ideally, we would always like to raise more money than the previous year and always continue to grow the Uncommon Cause and the overall fun of the event,” said Brooke Hawkins, the arts council’s executive director. “But that’s not necessarily our total focus.

“Part of the reason is because we’re now diversifying our fundraising more, though Uncommon Cause remains our largest fundraiser of the year.”

The aforementioned Hogstock is just one added element helping the fundraising cause.

The idea for the Uncommon Cause dinner and auction grew out of a 1975 benefit ball at the original Commons to raise funds for Commons programming. George Budd headed a committee of organizers that contracted with Chicago-based Dan Glasser Orchestra to provide music. A midnight breakfast prepared by chefs James Gregory and Jens Thomsen capped the night.

The concept expanded in 1976 to the inaugural Uncommon Cause dinner and auction, taking its name partly from the original Commons built in 1973. With a theme of “The Yankee Peddler,” the inaugural event raised $20,000.