Heberton Hall hosts fundraising dance event for Starving Artist

Michael Woodworth

Equinox Staff


The 1980s: Molly Ringwald’s acting career was just jump-starting, Michael Jackson was in the middle of his legacy, and “The Cosby Show” premiered on television. With the help of the Starving Artist members, Heberton Hall was a part of the past on Saturday, Feb. 25.  The ‘80s Prom was a fundraiser to benefit for the Starving Artist, a nonprofit creative collective. Representatives from multiple demographics showed up to enjoy the night, whether it was Keene State students or a couple looking to experience and remember the glorious decade that they grew up in. “We had people from high school up to retired people; we had students, community members, and members of the Starving Artist,” Laina Barakat, co-founder of the Starving Artist, said.

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Everything was ‘80s-themed as well, the drinks, the costumes, and the band. Flux Capacitor, an all-’80s cover band, rocked the prom and brought back the hits of the decade playing songs such as “Kids of America” by Kim Wilde, and “Don’t You Forget About Me” by the Simple Minds

“It was awesome!” singer and guitarist Thom LePage said. The prom-goers swarmed the stage for the last song and danced around and shared the mic with LePage, which drew laughs from both the band and the audience.

“It was good. The audience was really responsive. The ending was great,” keyboardist Mike Caulfield said. The hall was jumping up and down and dancing sporadically to the music and looked like they were having a good time.

“I thought it was great. A lot of people came out and were dancing,” Seth Chatfield, who dressed up exactly like John Bender from the Breakfast Club, a classic ‘80s movie, said. Chatfield volunteers at the Starving Artist and designed the prom. He was also part of the team that decorated the hall to make it as festive as it was. Mitch Michaud, a junior, and his date, Courtney Perron, a freshman, confessed that they came out the prom to dance and have fun. Jake Barakat, the prom king and Starving Artist volunteer, said, “We were expecting a small amount [of people], but a lot of people bought tickets.”

Jake Barakat was sporting a rainbow wig that truly stood out in the crowd. When volunteering for the Starving Artist, he usually runs the door and/or puts up posters around the community. Catherine Delacruz, a research grant writer at Dartmouth College, is the newest member of the Starving Artist. She is in charge of marketing, membership, and fundraising. She said she aims to rebrand the image of the organization. “It’s good to get different people in the community to be aware of the Starving Artist,” Delacruz said. Delacruz attended Columbia University in New York and graduated with a degree in public health. All through the night, a silent auction was being held with vintage ‘80s items ranging from a Lite Brite light up activity board to a “The Best of Bill Cosby” vinyl record. There were also posters that were made by Brandon Berdaw, who is another volunteer member at the Starving Artist. He is also the in-house graphic design person for the organization.

“I thought that there were a lot of interesting things and it was cool to see what people had as personal items in the decade,” freshman Rebecca Marsh said.

All the money raised at the prom, whether it was through ticket sales, drinks, or the silent auction and raffles, went directly to the Starving Artist, but first to the expenses that were made to put the event on, according to Laina Barakat.

“We made around $1,600 and it cost about $600 to put on,” Barakat said. She also thought that the event went really well.

“It really felt like you were going to prom,” she said. The Starving Artist is non-profit and it needs money to pay the bills, said Barakat. She also added that the employees are not paid, that they are only volunteers. There were many volunteers that helped make the prom very successful. “We are thankful for everyone that came out and volunteered,” Barakat said. She also mentioned that the organization puts on a fundraiser every year. “We always have a fundraiser and try to do it in the spring,” she said. Alas, the night was over and the dream of being in the ‘80s slowly faded away. But, what memories that were made that night will surely not fade away anytime soon.


Michael Woodworth can be contacted at mwoodworth@ksc.mailcruiser.com

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