Patron of the Arts: Laura Collinge

In 2004, Laura Collinge of Huntersville and a friend wanted to form a fun social group while promoting opera as an art form that is accessible to everyone. Collinge founded BRAVO! an auxiliary group of Opera Carolina (operacarolina.org) that targets professionals ages 21-40 with programming, discounts, parties and events.

Inspiration "One of the many reasons I support the arts is because a city's art scene helps to define its character, its texture. But more importantly it inspires people as it entertains."

Enhanced enjoyment "BRAVO! collaborates with many other arts and social groups in town. We worked with the Twitter group @CLTweetup to host one of their monthly gatherings. It was on stage at the Belk Theater on the set of 'HMS Pinafore.' People were able to try on costumes, get made up by a make-up artist, play 'Guitar Hero' on stage, and take a back-stage tour of the theater. "

The best part "Working with maestro James Meena and the entire team at Opera Carolina is tremendous fun. They are so supportive, enthusiastic, and are so committed to our goal of making opera accessible to everyone.... A young couple in our group attended BRAVO! events during some of their first dates together. Nothing made me happier than to see them get engaged on stage before an opera."