By: Dale King Contributing Writer
Marleen Forkas, a longtime Boca Raton philanthropist who loves and supports cultural arts, has just presented two local artistic performance purveyors with major contributions.
The Symphonia Boca Raton, the Boca-based, world-class chamber orchestra, announced that the 2018-19 Connoisseur Concert Series will be renamed “The Marleen Forkas Connoisseur Concert Series” to show its appreciation for her recent $300,000 gift.
In addition, The Wick Theatre, which just completed its fifth season of programming under owner and managing executive producer Marilynn Wick, received $50,000 from Forkas, Wick announced on opening night of the season’s final show, Jerry’s Girls. The donor was present in the auditorium and received rousing applause for her generosity.
To recognize Forkas’ contribution, the Wick will name the concession area of the lobby in her honor.
As to the Symphonia gift, “We are beyond humbled and so grateful that Marleen Forkas recognizes the importance of providing world class classical music to our community,” said Carole Boucard, president of the Symphonia Board of Directors. “Her gift will help us share world-class orchestral music with new audiences across South Florida.”
She said the donation will also enable The Symphonia to establish its first endowment fund, which will help support the continued growth of the organization and allow it to expand its offerings for years to come.
“I’m delighted to enable more people to hear our world class Symphonia,” Marleen Forkas said. “I encourage the community to support classical music by subscribing to next year’s exciting concert series now.”
For years, Boca Raton has benefitted from contributions from Marleen Forkas and her late husband, Harold.
Active at Florida Atlantic University, the couple enabled the Marleen & Harold Forkas Alumni Center to open on FAU’s Boca Raton campus. The pair was jointly awarded the FAU President’s Distinguished Service Medallion in 2008. Marleen previously served as a member of both the FAU Foundation Board and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine Advisory Board.
Marleen has also been involved with a number of local organizations, including the Boca Raton Regional Hospital Foundation, B’nai Torah Congregation, Boca Ballet Theatre, the American Heart Association, Boca Raton Museum of Art and the Marleen Forkas Camps at the Jewish Community Center, including the Marleen Forkas Camp Kavod, which provides a year-round camping experience for children with special needs.
Marleen graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Management Engineering Division and had a successful 40-year career as an embroidery designer, serving clients around the world.
The Symphonia’s performances and educational outreach programs feature nationally and internationally acclaimed conductors and soloists. Productions enhance the cultural lives of area residents, with special emphasis on adults and younger citizens.
Marilynn Wick, creator of Costume World, acquired the former Caldwell Theatre in April 2013 a year after it closed. She revamped the vacant property and reopened it the following September with an acclaimed production of The Sound of Music.
The building also houses a costume museum and restaurant. Marilynn’s daughter, Kimberly, is vice president, museum curator and head designer.