YoungArts Celebrates Second Annual New York Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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On Thursday, April 20, 2017, the National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts), along with honorary co-chairs Debbie Allen, Agnes Gund and Sir Salman Rushdie, and gala co-chairs Sarah Arison and Thomas Wilhelm, and Gillian Hearst Simonds and Christian Simonds, welcomed more than 270 of New York's top cultural and community leaders, philanthropists, celebrities and art aficionados to the second annual YoungArts New York Gala. The sold-out evening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Temple of Dendur, raised more than half a million dollars and celebrated aspiring young artists across the nation, including this year's nearly 700 YoungArts Winners in ten creative disciplines. The YoungArts New York Gala was presented in collaboration with luxury brand Swarovski, with support from Max Mara, emceed by former Gossip Girl and The Knick actress Zuzanna Szadkowski (1997 Winner in Theater and U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts), and featured a series of dynamic cross-disciplinary performance vignettes directed by YoungArts alum Jake Goldbas (2007 Winner in Jazz). The elegant reception and seated dinner was catered by Restaurant Associates with décor by Raul Àvila.

During the cocktail hour, groupings of YoungArts dance and music alumni performed throughout the crowd in the Great Hall, culminating in a joyous procession led by the performers to The Temple of Dendur. During dinner, soul singer and songwriter Grace Weber (2006 Winner in Voice and U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts) performed a beautiful rendition of "Happy Thoughts," followed by a stirring performance by jazz singer, songwriter and bassistKate Davis (2009 Winner in Jazz and U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts). The evening concluded with a spectacular finale featuring R&B/pop singer-songwriter and The Voice Season 8 Top 5 contestant India Carney (2011 Winner in Theater, Voice and U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts), Weber, and Davis. Vocal performances were accompanied by YoungArts dance alumni Javon Jones (2016 Winner in Dance and inaugural Max Mara Young Visionary Award recipient), Kaylin Berg (2016), JarEd Brown (2016, U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts), Austin Goodwin (2010, U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts), Sarah Pippin (2015), and Ida Saki (2010, U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts), as well as YoungArts band featuring Patrick Bartley (2012 Winner in Jazz), Braxton Cook(2010 Winner in Jazz), Philip Dizack (2003 Winner in Jazz), and Dave Eggar (1987 Winner in Classical Music and U.S. presidential Scholar in the Arts).

The event underscored YoungArts' longstanding and still-growing commitment to supporting emerging artists, alongside Swarovski's legacy of supporting creativity, culture and rising talent, and Max Mara's ongoing commitment to supporting the arts, especially through education. The evening kicked off YoungArts' annual regional programYoungArts New York, which will take place from April 25 - 30, and feature performances at Baryshnikov Arts Center (BAC) and an exhibition at Sotheby's New York. Part of a series of regional programs also presented in Los Angeles and Miami-and modeled after the organization's signature program, National YoungArts Week-YoungArts New York provides 2017 YoungArts Winners with life-changing opportunities to participate in interdisciplinary workshops, seminars and master classes with renowned leaders in their fields, including an inaugural Swarovski fashion master class. This year, participants will showcase their talents to local audiences through performances directed by YoungArts alumnus and Grammy Award nominee Michael McElroy (1985 Winner in Musical Theater); a jazz program directed by saxophonist Adam Larson (2009 Winner in Jazz); a classical music concert directed by acclaimed pianist Elizabeth Joy Roe (2000 Winner in Classical Music); and writers' readings led by author and award-winning journalist Joan Morgan.



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