Beneath the vaulted ceilings of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s great hall, designed by Richard Morris Hunt, the city’s most illustrious philanthropists, arts, culture, and fashion dignitaries congregated for the National YoungArts Foundation’s 2nd New York Gala. Presented in collaboration with Swarovski and support from Max Mara, the event was presided by honorary co-chairs Debbie Allen, Agnes Gund and Sir Salman Rushdie, gala co-chairs Sarah Arison and Thomas Wilhelm, Gillian Hearst Simonds, and Christian Simonds. Spotted were Carolina García Jayaram, Plácido Domingo, Maria Giulia Maramotti, Max Teicher, Sandy and Tony Tamer, Khirma Eliazov, Dr. Kira and Neil Flanzraich, Bettina Prentice, David Totah, Peter Kunhardt Jr., Katy Schell and Edward Chapman, Dalia Oberlander, and Olivia Marciano – mingling among the splendor of peony arrangements installed by event designer Raúl Àvila, who also suffused the Temple of Dendur dinner with flattering ivory and amber incandescence. Throughout the evening, guests enjoyed sensational performances by previous YoungArts award recipients in jazz, music and dance.

This year’s gala celebrated close to seven hundred of 2017’s most promising artists nationwide (with over a hundred from the New York area) selected by the foundation to receive invaluable professional developmental opportunities, financial grants, and mentorship from alumni and benefactors such as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Frank Gehry, Jeff Koons, and Wynton Marsalis. They are also eligible for nomination as U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts. With public funding for the arts imperiled the commendable work of YoungArts is crucial to fostering new talents.

The National YoungArts Foundation was established in 1981 by Lin and Ted Arison to nurture young artists. Through the years, the foundation has built a vast creative community and has partnered with some of the nation’s leading cultural institutions and brands including eminent crystals and gem manufacturer Swarovski and Italian fashion giant Max Mara, both of which are committed to social responsibility and the artistic education of future generations. Previous YoungArts alumni who are now recognized in their respective fields include actresses Viola Davis, and Kerry Washington; Broadway stars Raúl Esparza and Billy Porter; recording artist Josh Groban; Metropolitan Opera star Eric Owens; musicians Terence Blanchard, Gerald Clayton, and; choreographers Camille A. Brown and Desmond Richardson; visual artists Daniel Arsham and Hernan Bas; internationally acclaimed multimedia artist Doug Aitken; New York Times bestselling author Sam Lipsyte; and Academy Award-winning filmmaker Doug Blush.

Cover photo Dinner at the Temple of Dendur ©Madison/BFA

Red carpet photos by Andrew Wright

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