National Youngarts Foundation’s Third Annual New York Gala Raises More Than $700,000 in Support of the Nation’s Most Promising Emerging Artists

Friday Apr 20th, 2018

Blog > National Youngarts Foundation’s Third Annual New York Gala Raises More Than $700,000 in Support of the Nation’s Most Promising Emerging Artists

On Wednesday, April 18, 2018, the National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts), along with honorary co-chairs Agnes Gund, Naeem Khan and Anna Deavere Smith, and gala co-chairs Sarah Arison, Diana DiMenna and Sandra Tamer, welcomed more than 220 of New York’s top cultural and community leaders, philanthropists, celebrities and art aficionados to the third annual YoungArts New York Gala. The sold-out evening at The Metropolitan Museum of Art raised over $700,000 and celebrated aspiring young artists across the nation, including this year’s 757 YoungArts winners. The YoungArts New York Gala was presented in collaboration with Italian luxury brand Max Mara, emceed by Broadway and TV star Daniel J. Watts (2000 Winner in Dance), and featured a series of dynamic interdisciplinary performance vignettes directed by YoungArts alumnus Jake Goldbas (2007 Winner in Jazz), paying tribute to YoungArts master teachers, including Mikhail Baryshnikov, Joshua Bell and Anna Deavere Smith. The elegant reception and seated dinner was catered by Restaurant Associates.
Guests were greeted with a four-piece jazz band of YoungArts alumni during the cocktail reception, as well as an impromptu tap performance by emcee and Hamilton actor Daniel J. Watts, accompanied by Jake Goldbas on drums, to kick off the dinner portion of the evening. During remarks, Sarah Arison, who was nominated as Chair of the Board in January, spoke passionately about how YoungArts has expanded to nurture artists throughout their careers and beyond their post-secondary education. New York-based partners Baryshnikov Arts Center (BAC), MoMA PS1, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and American Ballet Theatre were among the organizations named for their work with YoungArts artists in their high school years and beyond as they become professional working artists.
A group of outstanding YoungArts alumni paid tribute to Mikhail Baryshnikov and Joshua Bell, performing one of Bell’s favorite movements from Astor Piazzolla’s Four Seasons titled “Primavera.” The performance featured Stella Chen (2010 Winner in Classical Music) as the violin soloist, Angela Wee (2015 Winner in Classical Music), Yaegy Park (2015 Winner in Classical Music), Jay Julio (2016 Winner in Classical Music), Derek Louie (2016 Winner in Classical Music) and Marty Jaffe (2012 Winner in Jazz), as well as Mason Manning (2014 Winner in Dance) and My’Kal Stromile (2014 Winner in Dance & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts) who choreographed and performed the dance component of the collaborative tribute.
Samora Pinderhughes (2009 Winner in Jazz) designed and produced a tribute to Anna Deavere Smith, playing a mix of solo piano pieces, outtakes from “Notes in the Field”,  and an excerpt of one of Deavere Smith’s monologues, powerfully delivered by emcee Daniel J. Watts.
The closing performance was a moving tribute to YoungArts musical and theatrical master teachers, featuring Broadway alumni Ben Ross (2016 Winner in Theater & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts), currently in Dear Evan Hansen, Micaela Diamond (2017 Winner in Theater), soon to be starring in The Cher Show, and pianist Ted Arthur. The first song performed was “Move On” from Sunday in the Park, arranged by award-winning composer and YoungArts alumnus Jonathan Ragonese (2008 Winner in Jazz) and the finale was an unforgettable duet of Dear Evan Hansen’s "You Will be Found."
The event underscored YoungArts’ longstanding and growing commitment to supporting emerging artists, alongside Max Mara’s ongoing dedication to supporting the arts through education with initiatives such as the Max Mara Young Visionary Award. The 2018 recipient, Emily Damasco (2018 Winner in Voice) attended the event alongside Maria Giulia Maramotti, both dressed in Max Mara. This year’s theme of mentors, masters and those who pave the way honors the leading artists who have shared their expertise with YoungArts winners and who continue to be a foundational part of the organization’s core programs for young artists, including YoungArts’ annual regional program YoungArts New York, which will take place April 24–29 and feature performances at BAC and an exhibition at MoMA PS1.
Part of a series of regional programs also presented in Miami and Los Angeles—and modeled after the organization’s signature program, National YoungArts Week—YoungArts New York provides 2018 YoungArts winners with life-changing opportunities to participate in interdisciplinary workshops, seminars and master classes with renowned leaders. This year, participants will showcase their talents to local audiences through performances directed by Tony Award nominee Michael Arden (2001 Winner in Theater & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts) and saxophonist Adam Larson (2009 Winner in Jazz); and a classical music concert and writers’ readings directed by acclaimed cellist Jeffrey Zeigler and author and award-winning journalist Joan Morgan.