YoungArts Annual New York Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Sarah Arison & Gillian Hearst
Photo by Marilyn Kirschner

On Monday night, nearly 300 of New York City’s top cultural and community leaders, philanthropists, celebrities, and art aficionados ascended the Metropolitan Museum of Art stairs in celebration of the YoungArts Annual New York Gala.

Mikhail Baryshnikov
Photo by Marilyn Kirschner

Nearly 1 million dollars was raised. The event was designed by Raúl Àvila, who recently designed the Oscars and will put his magic to work for the upcoming Met Ball.

Photo by Laurel Marcus

The festive evening feted artists in New York and across the nation and this year’s 702 YoungArts award winners, 68 of whom hail from the State of New York. Presented by UBS Financial Services, the event was hosted by honorary gala chair Agnes Gund and co-chairs Sarah Arison, Gillian Hearst, and Sandra Tamer.

YoungArts Past Winners and the Evenings Guest Artists & Sara Arason
Photo by Marilyn Kirschner

Ms. Arison, chairwoman of the board of the National YoungArts Foundation and president of the Arison Arts Foundation, is the granddaughter of the organization’s founders, the late Ted Arison, founder of Carnival Cruise Lines, and his wife, Lin. When I asked how long she has been involved with the foundation, she replied: “For 19 years; half my life!”

Angela Goding
Photo by Laurel Marcus

The Arisons established YoungArts in 1981 to identify and nurture high school students from across the country in the visual, literary, and performing arts (Dance, Music, Theater, Visual Arts, and Writing).

Ashley Longshore & Kelly Brown
Photo by Laurel Marcus

It began as an art competition and expanded to include a range of opportunities for funding, creative support, and professional development. The goal is to identify exceptional young artists, amplify their potential and invent in their lifelong creative freedom.

Daveed Baptiste
Photo by Marilyn Kirschner

The eclectic crowd included Gala Committee members Mikhail Baryshnikov, Sara Hoover, Casey Fremont Crowe, Arden Wohl, Dalia Oberlander, Irene Kim, Jody and John Arnhold, art world fixture Sharon Coplan Hurowitz and Daveed Baptiste, artist in residence, Silver Art Projects.

Carla Shen
Photo by Laurel Marcus

The invitation suggested “cocktail attire,” but dress dictums have become irrelevant, especially with an art crowd in New York. Anything and everything goes; Phong Bin wore a Tibetan or Nepalese knitted cap accessorized with striped pants and athletic sneakers; there was even a guy, Micael Naglhaes, wearing a flowy kimono completely open to reveal his bare chest. It’s whatever floats your boat!

Sarah Arison & Casey Freemont Crowe both wearing designs by Markarian
Photo by Marilyn Kirschner

That being said, many supported the evening theme in their art-inspired attire. One particular standout was Angela Goding, who wore a graphic black and white caftan by Louisa Parris, which she accessorized with silver metallic shoes and a bag. Kimonos and especially caftans were a definite “thing”.

Phong Bin
Photo by Laurel Marcus

While enjoying cocktails in the Met’s lobby, guests were serenaded by a performance with Jay Julio and Violetta Maria Norrie in front of the museum’s Great Hall staircase. Julio was a 2016 Classic Music Winner in 2016, and Violetta in 2014.

Daniel Watts, Tony Award Winner & YoungArts Dance Winner in 2000,
performing during dinner – Photo by BFA

Performances by past YoungArts winners continued throughout dinner, which was served in the glorious Temple of Dendur.

Photo by Marilyn Kirschner

The 3-course meal of summer asparagus, Hudson Valley Poisson Chicken, and seasonal fruit tart was accompanied by a series of interdisciplinary performance vignettes directed and emceed by multidisciplinary artist and Tony-nominated actor Daniel J. Watts, a 2000 Dance Winner.

Kate Goldbas
Photo by Marilyn Kirschner

Watts has appeared in Broadway shows, including Hamilton, In the Heights, and Memphis, among others, and he was nominated for a Tony Award for his portrayal of Ike Turner in TINA.

Center: Sarah Hoover & Right: Arden Wohl
Photo by Laurel Marcus

Other featured artists were Margaret Glaspy, Nyah Hardmon, Rebecca Hargrove, Marty Jaffe, Miranda Johnson, Lucas Kadish, Jay Julio, Anton Kot, Amanda Krische, Violetta Maria Norrie, and Sophia Salingaros.

Photo by Laurel Marcus

They join an impressive group of past YoungArts winners which includes Viola Davis, Theater, 1983; Billy Porter, Theater, 1987; Amanda Gorman, Writing, 2015; Kerry Washington, Theater, 1994; Jonathan Adler, Visual Arts, 1984; Timothee Chalamet, Theater, 2013; Josh Groban, Theater, 1999. Josh served as emcee for last year’s gala.

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Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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