A Night of 'Lorca,' and Tapas Benefits TAMIU's Sammy Johnson Black Box Theatre

Texas A&M International University invites the community to a rare artistic event that will help raise funds for its brand new Sammy Johnson Black Box Theatre Thursday, Oct. 30 from 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

José Rubén de León, a San Antonio-based renowned artist and theater producer originally from Laredo, will present a 20-minute excerpt from his one-man theatrical show, titled, "Lorca."

The excerpt presentation of "Lorca," which alludes to legendary Spanish poet and playwright Federico García Lorca, will be held in the Sammy Johnson Black Box Theater, located on the east side of the new Center for the Fine and Performing Arts. The presentation will include a Spanish song, as well as excerpts from the show's monologue.

The Theatre is named after Sammy Johnson, a veteran Laredo art enthusiast and philanthropist. Johnson helped found the Laredo Little Theatre and has long supported the arts in Laredo. Many Laredoans who have gone on to success in the arts trace their history to involvement in at least one of his arts productions through the years. As performer, producer, director and all-around catalyst, he has been a powerful advocate for the arts.

Silvia Jones, director of donor relations at TAMIU, said the evening will consist of a seated reception featuring cocktails and Spanish style appetizers or 'tapas.' While the event is free and open to the public, it is a fundraiser for the Theatre.

"Our current goal is to raise a total of $250,000, which will be used to fund the Center for the Fine Arts. So far, we have been fortunate to receive generous pledges totaling over $130,000. Through this event, we hope to to raise the funds necessary to complete our goal and support a state-of-the-art Theatre that will bring the magic of theater performance alive for the entire community to enjoy," Jones said.

Dr. Gilberto Soto, chair of the Department of Fine and Performing Arts, said the Theatre will be an experimental area in which students can organize and design their own settings for improvisational plays and small recitals.

"The logistics behind the theater invites students to become creative in their own artistic ideas, which is a very important aspect in their aesthetic education," Dr. Soto said, "This area will lend itself to small scale musical performances as well as theatrical performances such as marionette shows and pantomimes. This unique facility will not only benefit our students but will also be available for students in our school districts to utilize."

Soto added that the Theatre features automatic lights, a great curtain and a Steinway 'Boston' piano that can be used for musical accompaniments.

"The funds raised at the event will help expand the artistic imagination and abilities of students and so, I invite the entire community to come visit our new Theatre, witness the enormous performance potential that this facility provides, and finally, to contribute to the future success of our students, who have shown excitement for the new learning opportunities they will experience," Soto said.

For further information about the event, please contact Jones at 326-2168, e-mail sjones@tamiu.edu or visit offices located in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 261B.

University office hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu