Each year near the end of the summer season, friends, members, and supporters of the nonprofit, arts, nature, and cultural organization Oglebay Institute (OI) gather at a lavish party, organized and hosted by the OI Board of Trustees. The event celebrates the arts and raises money to benefit the organization’s multiple venues and hundreds of public programs.

OI’s Board Benefit takes place from 6:30–9:30 p.m. Friday, August 19 at the Mansion Museum in Oglebay Park. The party fills the picturesque lawn and overflows into the elegant and historic facility. Attendees enjoy an array of gourmet foods, cocktails, beer garden, and dessert buffet at this annual “must attend” social event.

The Mansion Museum is an ideal location for the Board Benefit because of its beauty, elegance, and historical significance.

“Those who attend this event each year look forward to it, and show up ready for a wonderful time,” said OI president Danielle Cross McCracken. “First-time attendees are always welcomed and inspired, and usually become annual guests.”

McCracken commented that many aspects of this event are enjoyable, but the main attraction is simply the event itself.

“This event is first-class in every way,” she said. “Our board members and staff members work tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure this party is one of the best events of the year. From the carefully selected menu to the elegant décor, no detail is overlooked.”


Pictured with OI president Danielle Cross McCracken (far right) in front of the Mansion Museum are representatives from Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, the presenting sponsor for Board Benefit 2022. Left to right are Robert Dobkin, Lisa Hawrot, DJ McGlaughlin, Gerald Lofstead, Don Nickerson, David Croft and Eric Gadd.

Many businesses provide financial support to ensure the success of this event. The presenting sponsor for the 2022 Board Benefit is Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC. Additional lead support is provided by WesBanco, Commonwealth Financial Services, Truist, and Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack. 

Sponsors also include Casey & Chapman PLLC (Flower Sponsor), Costanzo & Associates PLLC, Kennen & Kennen Inc. Realtors, Kepner Funeral Homes (Limo Sponsor), Paull Associates Insurance/Real Estate (Music Sponsor), Altmeyer Funeral Homes, Inc., Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP, Kalkreuth Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc., and WVU Medicine—Wheeling Hospital.

“Board Benefit sponsors have an impact beyond the event,” said OI director of development Micah Underwood. “Their contributions are an investment in our community’s access to year-round arts, entertainment, and education experiences.”

Organizers hope to raise $30,000 this year, which will help fund the hundreds of visual arts, dance, theater, nature, and history programs that generations of area residents have come to know and love.

“Proceeds from Board Benefit go a long way in helping us fulfill our mission and remain a vibrant part of Wheeling’s cultural landscape,” McCracken said. “The event also heightens community awareness of Oglebay Institute programming and the importance of personal experiences in the arts and nature.”

“We are sincerely grateful to our board members for their ongoing support and guidance,” Underwood said. “This wonderful event is just one of the ways they raise awareness and funds so that our community can continue to enjoy the opportunities we offer.”

Led by Oglebay Institute Board of Trustees chairperson John D. Culler, officers for the board include Cheri DeBlasis, vice chairperson; Walker Holloway, vice chair for finance; and Mike Boldrick, secretary.

Other board members include Erin Carenbauer Ball, Saun Capehart, Mike Costanzo, Amy Dobkin, Kim Florence, Anthony Gentile,  J. Milton Gutman, Anne Harman, Anne Madarasz, Martin Maness, Donald A. Nickerson Jr., Tom Paree, Cheryl Dean Riley, Julie (Piko) Ryan, Wendy Scatterday, Justin Seibert, Jeremy R. West, and Kristian E. White.

“The event is a chance to thank our long-time supporters—people who have been members for 50 years or more—and to meet people who are encountering OI for the first time,” Underwood said. “Their generosity, along with that of the rest of our members, sponsors, and attendees, makes all that we do possible.”

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at OIonline.com, from any board member or by calling 304-242-4200. Cost is $80 per person in advance and $90 at the door. ($60 is a tax-deductible contribution.)

Since 1930, the nonprofit Oglebay Institute has served as the cultural hub of Wheeling, West Virginia, providing countless opportunities for people to engage in creative pursuits and serving as a gathering place for all people to enjoy, appreciate, and experience arts and nature. The organization operates six facilities in Wheeling: Stifel Fine Arts Center, School of Dance, Towngate Theatre, Schrader Environmental Education Center, Mansion Museum, and Glass Museum. OI also owns and operates Terra Alta Mountain Nature Camp in Preston County, WV.

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