Two years ago actress Rosie Perez attended the first annual National YoungArts Foundation’s Backyard Ball to present an achievement award to Broadway star and actress Rita Moreno. This year, she’ll be back to accept an award herself—along with stage director and playwright Robert Wilson and singer, actor and Broadway sensation Tony Yazbeck for their contributions to the arts.
As the culmination of the organization’s signature program, National YoungArts Week, and its largest annual fundraiser, the Gala will be hosted by Billy Porter, feature performance vignettes by alumni Dave Eggar, Desmond Richardson, and India Carney. The event is presented in partnership with MaxMara, which will unveil a new award called the Young Visionary Award, and co-chaired by Tracey & Bruce Berkowitz and Armando & Margarita Codina, as well as 35th Anniversary Committee Chairperson Sarah Arison.
In addition to the star-studded evening, the Backyard Ball recognizes the 2016 YoungArts Finalists—an extraordinarily talented group of 168 emerging artists (ages 15-18 or grades 10-12) in the visual, literary and performing arts who have just been selected for this high honor out of more than 12,000 applications, and will be in Miami for an intensive week of life-changing master classes, workshops and performances.
These Winners represent the next generation of artists in this country, following in the footsteps of YoungArts alumni Matt Bomer, India Carney, Viola Davis, Adrien Grenier, Josh Groban, Nicki Minaj, Ricky Ubeda, Andrew Rannells, Kerry Washington, Vanessa Williams, Chris Young, and almost 20,000 more who represent Oscar, Grammy, Emmy and Tony award winners and nominees, dancers with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the New York City Ballet, musicians in the Chicago Symphony and New York Philharmonic Orchestras, The New York Times best-selling authors, artists who exhibit at The Museum of Modern Art, and filmmakers who present at Sundance Film Festival and the Cannes Film Festival.