The Art of Dessert Gala in Santa Rosa raises $600,000 for youth education programs


More than $600,000 was raised for local youth education programs over the weekend at the Art of Dessert Gala, an event held Saturday in Santa Rosa that benefited the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts.

The night was packed with activities beginning with a reception and live music performance in the main theater. Throughout the night, events included a silent auction, a dinner of cocktails and wine from Rodney Strong Wine Estates, and a ukulele performance by Bellevue elementary school students.

Each table had a large, extravagant cake topper, making a total of 25 baking masterpieces in the room. More than 200 guests walked from table to table, eating and admiring the cakes that caught their eye. The Luther Burbank Center for the Arts dubbed this part of the night “dessert mania.”

State Senator Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, acted as moderator for the fundraiser.

This year, the organization sought to raise $525,000 to provide arts education programs to thousands of students in the North Bay, with offerings such as scholarships, a sculpture garden, fine arts programs, and a musical instrument loan library for school music programs.

“We raised over $600,000 at the event,” said President and CEO Rick Nowlin. “That is a new record.”

Prizes at the auction included a romantic getaway at the Montage Healdsburg Getaway, a case of Jackson Family wines and an Ultimate Beer gift hamper.

Funds raised at the Art of Dessert gala will go directly to the Luther Burbank Center so they can continue to offer educational art classes to local youth, Nowlin said.

The Art of Dessert Gala is the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts’ largest fundraiser of the year. Since its inception 19 years ago, the gala has raised more than $4.5 million to support the organization.

For more information on the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, visit


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