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Hylton Center Raises Record-Breaking Amount During Two-Night 12th Anniversary Gala

The festivities began at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 29.

The Hylton Performing Arts Center hosted a special two-day celebration for the Hylton Center's 12th Anniversary Gala on April 29 and April 30. The first Anniversary Gala held in-person since 2019, the event welcomed more than 1,000 guests and supported the Hylton Center's mission of presenting diverse performances and programs of high quality and artistic excellence to inspire, educate, and enrich the community.

The festivities began at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 29 and included a tribute to this year's honorees Lovey Hammel and Denise McPhail for their leadership and many contributions to the Hylton Center and George Mason University. The evening began with an elegant cocktail reception in the Didlake Grand Foyer and a special dinner on the Merchant Hall stage catered by Susan Gage Caterers, with speciality cocktails provided MurLarkey Distilled Spirits. The evening also included a live auction featuring travel packages, and a "Raise Your Paddle" fundraiser in support of the Hylton Center's Veterans and the Arts Initiative.

On Saturday, April 30 at 8 p.m., guests were treated to a Hylton Center EXTRA!a?? performance by Tony Award-winning star of stage and screen Leslie Odom, Jr. Holding a multifaceted career including theater, television, film, and GRAMMY Award-winning music, Odom, Jr. has earned several nominations for an Academy Award, BAFTA Award, Critics' Choice Award, Golden Globe Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, and more. Rounding out the evening was an exclusive dessert reception for Gold+ levela??Galaa??Sponsors.

The event raised more than $225,000 which will support performances and programs at the Hylton Center, including the Education Initiative and Veterans and the Arts Initiative. 10% of the net proceeds will also fund the Hylton Center's Endowment, ensuring excellence now and in the years to come. The total amount raised is the highest amount collected from an Anniversary Gala to date.

During the event, Dean and Executive Director Rick Davis shared, "Tonight we celebrate our unofficial motto 'the arts create community' and we're here to recognize and thank those artists and community builders who deliver on that promise. The work that Lovey Hammel and her family has done has paved the way for so many artists and arts students who express their creative voice and stretch their artistic wings here at the Hylton Center."

He continued, "We also recognize the outstanding work of one such artist and educator - Denise McPhail, the co-founder and Executive Director of the Creative and Performing Arts Center. Through performing arts and sciences, CAPAC educates, entertains, and encourages diverse youth, teens, and adults in Northern Virginia to ignite STEAM curiosity, creativity, and problem-solving skills as a formula to diversify and sustain STEAM workforces for lifelong success."

The Hylton Center's 12th Anniversary Gala was supported by many regional businesses and individual donors, including Presenting Sponsor Compton & Duling. The Hylton Center EXTRA! performance was sponsored by Carol Merchant Kirby and Peter Kirby, NOVEC, and Buck and Julie Walters.

Hylton Center Raises Record-Breaking Amount During Two-Night 12th Anniversary Gala

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