YoungArts Foundation celebrated their first year at their new campus (generously donated by Bacardi) with the Backyard Ball Gala. The event, which raised over $1.5 million to support young artists, drew 800 VIPs like Gala chairpersons Elizabeth and Facundo L. Bacardi. The luxe evening began with an award presented by Frank Gehry to architect Zaha Hadid. “When you get on the top of the mountain, a lot of people try to knock you down,” said Gehry who introduced the architect and presented her with the YoungArts Arison Award. “I’m a different person here than I am in London or Beijing. You only see the best side of me,” said Hadid who accepted the award. “It’s very important there is a support system for the young, to encourage them to take the next steps. I’ve always taught because I think it’s important to teach young people to make the next move.”
Rosie Perez introduced her idol and award recipient Rita Moreno, who was on hand to pick up the crystal sculpture and astonish the crowd with her youthful appearance and energy. “Its really uplifting to receiving this award. What a splendid organization,” said the actress who was in The King and I, West Side Story and confessed she was a little bit jealous, “I wonder what my trajectory might have been if I had had the support of a group like YoungArts in my youth.”
Girls actor Andrew Rannells received the YoungArts Alumni Award and dined with YoungArts’ Sarah Arison, Haute Living’s Arts Ambassador. Following dinner, guests were treated to a full-length performance involving ballet, modern dance, spoken word poetry, opera and soul singing that blew away the audience giving them something to talk about at the exciting After Hours Party that served up dessert, live music and dancing.
Also in attendance were Armando & Margarita Codina, Adrienne Arsht, Emilio Estefan, Mayda Cisneros, Jorge & Darlene Perez, Susie & Walid Wahab, Jackie Soffer, Princess Leirjal Fyrial Iran Issa Khan, Criselda Breene, Cathy Leff, Daniel & Marcela Novella, Adam & Lisa Koffler, Martin Margulies, Marvin Ross Friedman & Adrienne bon Haes, Andres Fanjul Jr., Stephanie & Evan Reed, Sandy Muss, Mark & Arlys Raymond, Bruce & Tracey Berkowitz, Sam Robin, Tui Pranich and Diana Stoll.