Save the Date: January 12, 2019

In January 2018, the National YoungArts Foundation honored Tarell Alvin McCraney – Academy Award-winning playwright, 1999 YoungArts Winner in Theater and YoungArts master teacher – with the 2018 Arison Alumni Award at our annual Backyard Ball on the YoungArts Campus. Known for co-writing the film Moonlight, McCraney was acknowledged for his vital contributions and commitment to the arts. The evening brought together artists, influential community leaders, philanthropists and celebrities to support and acknowledge the achievements of the YoungArts winners, 757 of the nation’s most outstanding young artists in the literary, visual, design and performing arts. For the fourth consecutive year, the Backyard Ball was presented by Italian luxury brand Max Mara.

The 2018 Backyard Ball was co-chaired by Dr. Kira and Mr. Neil Flanzraich and is YoungArts’ largest annual fundraiser. Each year the occasion marks the conclusion of our signature program, National YoungArts Week. One of the most comprehensive programs for aspiring artists, National YoungArts Week provides approximately 170 Finalists with transformative experiences, including master classes, workshops, interdisciplinary activities, and the opportunity to perform and exhibit to public audiences.

Special Honorees

Academy Award-winning playwright and YoungArts master teacher Tarell Alvin McCraney (1999 YoungArts Winner in Theater) was recognized with the 2018 Arison Alumni Award for his vital contributions and commitment to the arts. Torrance Hall (2017 YoungArts Winner in Photography) accepted the Max Mara Young Visionary Award for his photography.

Outstanding Gala Performances

The 2018 Backyard Ball featured performances directed by Grammy Award-winning recording artist Grace Weber (2006 YoungArts Winner in Voice & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts) with YoungArts alumni from a range of disciplines. 


Following the gala, guests danced under the stars and celebrated the 2018 YoungArts Finalists on the beautiful YoungArts plaza.
For more information on the 2019 Backyard Ball, please email Lauren Nesslein at