On November 20, 2021, YoungArts hosted the organization’s 40th Birthday Party. The event—made possible with the support of PRADA, Truist Wealth, Truman Vodka, and ONE Sotheby’s International Realty—took place at the YoungArts Campus and welcomed artists, community leaders, cultural partners, donors and press for an evening of celebrating the uplifting, regenerative community of artists that the organization has supported since 1981. Themed “40 Years for Artists,” the birthday party highlighted past YoungArts winners across disciplines and generations, and the organization’s history of and continued commitment to supporting artists throughout their careers. Starting with a festive cocktail hour on the YoungArts Plaza, the evening seamlessly transitioned to an intimate seated dinner inside the iconic Jewel Box. To open the dinner, several notable past YoungArts award winners and guest artists, including Debbie Allen, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Chris Young (2003 Voice & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts), appeared in a video directed and edited by Doug Blush (1984 Film) giving testimonials and wishing the organization a happy 40th birthday. The menu was designed by Miami chef Michael Beltran and guests enjoyed a performance by the evening’s Master of Ceremonies and YoungArts award winner Queen Esther (1983 Theater). The celebration culminated with dessert and a birthday toast that recognized the monumental occasion dedicated to celebrating artists and their impact on society.
Notable Guests included Louis Aguirre and Matt MacDonald, Arthur Baker, Adriana Cisneros and Nick Griffin, Darlene and Jorge M. Pérez, Aaron and Dorothy Podhurst, Toni Randall, Oti and Remi Roberts, and Craig Robins and Jackie Soffer; local arts leaders Alex Gartenfeld, Rosie Gordon-Wallace, Sam Hyken, Jaie Laplante, Cathy Leff, Franklin Sirmans and Mikhaile Solomon; and artists Germane Barnes, Robert Chambers, Naomi Fisher, Simon Haas, Rosie Herrera, Loni Johnson, José Parlá and Chire Regans.
The festive event took place on the YoungArts Plaza and inside the Jewel Box, both spaces transformed with fresh boxwood, and floral arrangements and painted hedges reflective of YoungArts’ new branding colors. Large-scale projections on the Tower and inside the Jewel Box gave guests a tour of YoungArts’ extensive 40-year photo archives while they greeted and mingled. The mood inside the Jewel Box was energetic and celebratory as guests took in skillful renditions of three Billie Holiday standards by Queen Esther, listened with rapt attention to remarks and enjoyed dinner. To culminate the evening, several cakes by New York City’s famed Milk Bar topped with shimmering sparklers were ushered to the stage while Queen Esther gave a smooth, joyful bossa nova rendition of “Happy Birthday.”
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Guests enjoyed a performance by Queen Esther with band members Hilliard Greene (Bassist), Sean Mason (Pianist), Jeff McLaughlin (Guitarist), and Warren Smith (Drummer). Remarks were made by Board Chair Sarah Arison and Executive Director Jewel Malone. The dinner menu included Wahoo Avocado Mosaic (local avocado, starfruit aguachile, cucumber, trout roe) and Ariete Shortrib with gem lettuce salad, pickled fennel and aerated Caesar dressing.
YoungArts Campus 2100 Biscayne Boulevard Miami, FL 33137
Saturday, November 20, 2021
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