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Stars Turn Out for Tony Bennett's 9th Annual Exploring the Arts Gala

Tony Bennett and his wife Susan Benedetto hosted the 9th annual Exploring the Arts (ETA) 2015 gala last night at Cipriani 42nd Street in NYC, honoring George S. Kaufman, Chairman of Kaufman Organization & Kaufman Astoria Studios, and Samsung Electronics America for their outstanding longtime partnership with the organization. NBC Nightly News Anchor Lester Holt hosted the evening that was highlighted by a special performance by Emmy Award winner Uzo Aduba with a select group of students from the Frank Sinatra School. The evening was capped by a superb performance by 18-time Grammy winner Tony Bennett, who closed the evening with a medley of some of his timeless classics. Additional guests at the illustrious affair also included Orange is the New Black actresses Taylor Schilling, Samira Wiley, Taryn Manning and Selenis Leyva, who came out to support their cast mate, Alec & Hilaria Baldwin, Rachael Ray and John Cusimano, Courtney Reed, Mrs. Matilda Cuomo, Joyce Brown and Chancellor of NYC Schools Carmen Farina.

This year alone, with the support of the gala fundraising, ETA has raised over $1.5M to support arts education in public high schools and they were able to extend their support to 6 new partner schools in 2015. Susan Benedetto, President of ETA noted in her speech last night, "Our programs now impact more than 16,000 teens across 23 public high schools in two cities. Approximately 70% of these teens live near or below the poverty line. A belief that all students deserve access to a high-quality education, and a belief in the profound impact of the arts, is what fuels our work."

Founded in 1999 by legendary American singer and painter, Tony Bennett, and his wife, Susan Benedetto, Exploring the Arts' mission is to strengthen the role of the arts in public high school education. ETA programs connect private funders, individual artists, and cultural institutions to Partner Schools to achieve greater equality of resources and opportunity for youth of all means and backgrounds. Tony Bennett and ETA's initial endeavor was the founding of, in association with the Department of Education of NYC, the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts -- a state of the art NYC public high school offering an extensive arts education curriculum located in Tony's hometown of Astoria, Queens. Currently ETA supports 23 public high schools: 17 Partner Schools in all five boroughs of New York City and 6 Partner Schools in East and South Los Angeles. Since its inception, ETA has raised $12M to date in support of arts education for public high schools. For more information please visit:

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