Arts and Entertainment

Under the Tuscan Sun: FUSION arts festival delivers a taste of Italy

Refreshments, food and art abound at the annual FUSION summer arts festival. Pictured: A volunteer pours a drink at the 2009 festival at Dumas Bay Centre. - Mirror file photo
Refreshments, food and art abound at the annual FUSION summer arts festival. Pictured: A volunteer pours a drink at the 2009 festival at Dumas Bay Centre.
— image credit: Mirror file photo

Italy is coming to Federal Way. This year’s FUSION summer arts festival, themed “Under the Tuscan Sun,” will feature Italian food and entertainment.

The theme originated from this year’s chair Betty Jean O’Neal, who vacationed in Tuscany last year.

“It was absolutely beautiful,” O’Neal said. “For people that haven’t had the opportunity to visit (Tuscany), then by attending (this year’s event), they’ll have a little bit of that experience.”

FUSION — which stands for Friends United to Shelter the Indigent, Oppressed and Needy — is in its 17th year. The money raised at the FUSION summer arts festival helps homeless women and children in the area live more self-sufficiently.

“We’re very proud that in recent years, over 85 percent of our clients have successfully moved on to permanent housing,” FUSION founder Peggy LaPorte said. “The support of the community really enables FUSION to empower families so they can become stable and self-sufficient.”

FUSION 2010

The 2010 festival runs 3 to 9 p.m. Aug. 4 at the Dumas Bay Centre, 3200 SW Dash Point Road. Tickets are $60 in advance or $70 at the door.

Last year’s festival raised more than $90,000. This year, the group set a goal of $120,000.

“The goal in the past has been $100,000,” LaPorte said. “It’s a lofty goal, but we hope we can make it.”

So far this year, either through monetary or in-kind donations, FUSION has brought in $64,000 from sponsors, which is $10,000 more than last year.

Some in-kind donations include catering by Metropolitan Market, wine from Barefoot Winery and coffee from Poverty Bay. In addition to food and musical entertainment, other activities for attendees include an art exhibit with more than two dozen local artists, a raffle and a silent auction.

To bring in some of the Tuscan feel to the event, there will be murals as well as Italian inspired music, including a tenor, an accordion and a flutist, mixed around the grounds at Dumas Bay.

There is also a live auction. Auction items include a vacation villa in Portugal for two weeks, a seven-day cruise for two on Holland America, jewelry, art pieces and more vacation stays.

Susie Horan, the manager of Prudential Realty Northwest will be the event’s emcee, and Keith Eldridge and Ron Hannon will be the auctioneers.

“This event is our primary fundraiser for the year,” LaPorte said. “This event creates community awareness for the cause. We rely on the support of the people.”

Background

FUSION started in 1993 after a group of women came up with an idea to help the homeless. Focusing their work on women with children, they began a grass-roots effort to raise money. In two years, they purchased a one bedroom condo, and its first residents were a mother and her infant, victims of domestic violence.

In January 2009, FUSION merged with the Joseph Foundation. Joseph Foundation has a similar mission, but instead of focusing on women and children, the non-profit works with both single and dual parent families.

FUSION now operates 15 transitional housing units, 11 condos and four homes from property bequeathed by Helen and Stuart Noyes to the Joseph Foundation. The original FUSION condominiums continue to house primarily women and their children. The houses in Northeast Tacoma serve dual and single parent families, whether head of the household is a mother or father.

Tickets

The festival runs 3-9 p.m. Aug. 4 at the Dumas Bay Centre, 3200 SW Dash Point Road. Tickets are $60 in advance or $70 at the door. For featured artists, visit www.fusionfederalway.org.

Video slideshow from the 2009 FUSION festival:

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