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Art patrons scored original loot bags at gala

As far as loot bags go, Gateway Theatre's pARTy does it big - original works of art, some valued up to $2,000.

As far as loot bags go, Gateway Theatre's pARTy does it big - original works of art, some valued up to $2,000.

"We're just having a home built in the Westwind area, and I think this will look great in the dinning room," said Maryam Naser about her recently acquired painting of fishing boats by Howard Ku.

Katharine Lecy was also pleased with her booty - a painting of a water street in Venice.

"I haven't been to Venice," said her husband, Scott. "But I can look at it and be reminded of what I should be doing," he added with a laugh.

Both Naser and Lecy have come to support the Gateway not just for it's theatrical productions, but also for its children's program.

"We started coming to Gateway for my daughter, who's in musical theatre. The instructors here are amazing," said Naser.

The unique fundraising event sees visual artists supporting theatre artists by donating their work, while art lovers and patrons of Gateway buy tickets at $350 a piece, with the promise of inheriting one of those original works.

Given that each piece is unique, the question of who gets what is decided by lottery, with five names drawn at a time.

As the evening wore on, the chances of getting a first pick got slimmer, so some patrons went for monetary value, noting appraisal values. The last person chosen actually gets two works.

Once all the names are drawn, anyone wanting to buy one of the remaining works can do so for $300.

The event grossed more than $20,000, said Gateway's general manager Suzanne Haines.

The art, which also included a handcarved wooden jewelry box, was only part of the eye candy. A red carpet and showgirls greeted people at the door.

Each of the theatre's three floors were themed: Vegas, disco and diamonds and denim, giving the evening a glitzy feel.

One patron said she didn't really care what kind of painting she brought home. For Patti Smolen, the goal was to support the arts, which she believes are "integral to the fabric of any community."

And events like these, along with donations and sponsorship, are integral to Gateway's ability to contribute to that fabric, added Haines, who described the event as incredibly successful.