Cary, NC—The second annual Expressions gala, benefiting the Lucy Daniels Center’s Family Support Fund, raised more than $97,000 through sponsorships, ticket sales, and the evening’s silent and live auctions.

Guests of the sold-out event, held at The Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary, NC, on November 9, were treated to insights from featured artist Mark Hewitt, the renowned potter based in Pittsboro, NC, about his inspirations and techniques while enjoying delectable cuisine inspired by his work. Hewitt called the evening’s exploration of the creative instinct “a flowering of human expression.”

The meal’s five courses, which mirrored the potter’s process from mining and refining clay to bringing the finished pots out of the kiln, were inventive explorations of flavor and presentation by a team of notable chefs including The Umstead’s executive chef Scott Crawford, pastry chef Daniel Benjamin, and guest chefs Tarver King of The Ashby Inn and Restaurant in Paris, VA, and Ryan Smith of Empire State South in Atlanta, GA. The chefs had been working with Hewitt for months in preparation for the meal.

Calling his work on Expressions “one of the highlights of my career,” Crawford said, “This is the one event all year that makes the chef team nervous, because we really want to get it right.”

Guests were captivated by the chefs’ exploration of common themes with the potter’s art. Linda Quarles, who with husband Orage Quarles III served as the event’s honorary co-chairs, had high praise for the “wow” factor guests experienced.

“The Triangle region is rich in arts and culture, so it is not easy to create a phenomenal, stand-out event,” she said. “Expressions has accomplished just that by melding creativity, cuisine, and a worthy cause into an unforgettable event. It was an honor for us to serve as the event’s honorary co-chairs.”

Major supporters of Expressions included presenting sponsors Steve and Becky Scott, VIP Artist Reception sponsor PNC Bank, and media sponsor WTVD-11, whose video of Center students and families visiting Hewitt’s studio was one of the emotional highlights of the evening. A silent auction of 20 functional pieces of Hewitt’s work and the live auction of several one-of-a-kind experiences plus a larger decorative piece of pottery helped boost the evening’s fundraising totals.

Proceeds from Expressions will benefit Lucy Daniels Center’s Family Support Fund, which helps close the gap between what families can afford to pay for their child’s mental health services and what it costs to provide them. The Center is the Triangle, NC, area’s largest and most comprehensive nonprofit provider of mental health services exclusively for children, serving more than 600 families annually.

Center Board member Dean McCord, who chaired the event planning committee, was thrilled with the results.

“Who would have guessed that the intersection of food and the visual arts could lead to such an effective fundraiser?” he said.  “I’m overwhelmed by the support the community has given to Expressions, and, as a result, the Lucy Daniels Center.”

Learn more about the Center and Expressions at


With more than 20 years of service to children and families, the Lucy Daniels Center is a nationally recognized model for childhood mental health education and services. The Center is the largest and most comprehensive non-profit focused on providing mental health services to young children and their families in the Triangle and is conveniently located at 9003 Weston Parkway, Cary, NC 27513. For more information, visit    

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