It’s a big one. 25, that is. Especially for a theater. About 125 guests attended the 25th anniversary gala of Passage Theater, known for producing new works and works that celebrate and dig beneath the layers of diversity of Trenton and beyond.

According to executive artistic director June Ballinger the event, emceed by comedienne Nancy Giles of CBS News Sunday Morning, grossed approximately $25,000. Ballinger was announced as the inaugural recipient of the Artistic Professional Developemnt Fund, to be utilized for artistic training, enrichment, and more. Ballinger says the award, “left me stunned with surprise.” She says she had been using her own “vacation time and dime” to further her artistry, including taking Spanish language intensives “so I can better connect with the Latino community in Trenton of which I am passionate and which I believe will be a vital part of the city’s — this time we mean it — renaissance.” Now she has real dollars for those endeavors.

We were pleased to see a copy of the September 21 issue of U.S.1, in which the cover story profiled Princeton artist Lonni Sue Johnson’s “recovery art” following a brain trauma, placed next to one of the silent auction items, a pen and ink drawing, “The Music Shop,” circa 1970, by Johnson. It sold for $200.

=Visit www.passagetheatre.org.

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