National YoungArts Foundation Celebrates 35 Years with Backyard Ball and Rosie Perez

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Sarah Arison
Sarah Arison

The Miami social calendar is punctuated by lots of fun events, but the National YoungArts Foundation’s Backyard Ball is definitely one of the most fun (and, as the name implies, young) events of the season. The event takes place on the YoungArts Biscayne Boulevard campus, which was famously donated by Bacardi.

YoungArts Winners
YoungArts Alumni

It kicks off in a tent with plenty of performances by hopeful young performers as a cap to National YoungArts Week. There are 170 kids who are YoungArts winners who are selected from over 12,000 applicants and they come from all over the country of the week, which caps with the gala.

Rosie Perez & Desmond Richardson
Rosie Perez & Desmond Richardson

This year, the event was sponsored by Max Mara and hosted by co-chairs Tracey and Bruce Berkowitz and Margarita and Armando Codina. Actress Rosie Perez and director Robert Wilson were presented with Arison Awards for their achievements in the arts. The Arison Alumni Award, which is presented to a YoungArts alum who is successful in the arts went to Tony Yazbeck, a Tony Award-nominee, YoungArts Master Teacher and 1997 YoungArts winner.

Jerome Begin, Tony Yazbeck, & Katie Yasbeck
Jerome Begin, Tony Yazbeck, & Katie Yasbeck

Haute Living’s Arts Ambassador, Sarah Arison presented the award on stage. The organization was started by Arison’s grandmother, Lin Arison and her involvement is part of her family legacy.

Tony Yazbeck & Billy Porter
Tony Yazbeck & Billy Porter

The event raised over $1.6 million for the organization, which will contribute to the artistic development of the country’s most promising young artists. There were an array of gripping performances, including India Carney singing a “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” medley and power ballad “Roar,” a unique duet representing the battle between technology and personal interaction (put down your iPhones everyone!) and a tap and cello duet celebrating mentors.

India Carney
India Carney

While they show went on, dinner was served before guests that included Max Mara US Director of Retail, Maria Giulia Maramotti, architect Zaha Hadid, Marvin Ross Friedman and Adrienne bon Haes, Tony Cho, George Lindemann and Diane Lieberman, headed out the the plaza. There dessert was served and all the performing art-loving philanthropists danced under the stars to DJ Cassidy.

DJ Cassidy
DJ Cassidy



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