2020 Backyard Ball
National YoungArts Foundation’s Honors Artists
National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts) hosted its annual fundraiser in Miami, the Backyard Ball performance and gala, to help support the artistic development of the nation’s most accomplished young artists. In addition to recognizing the talent of this year’s YoungArts Winners, the event honored YoungArts alumnus jazz trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard and contemporary artist Teresita Fernández with the Arison Alumni Award and Arison Award, respectively, for their vital contributions and commitment to the arts.
A highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Jorge M. Pérez Award to New York-based sculptor and installation artist Ilana Harris-Babou and Miami-based sculptor and painter Mateo Nava. The Jorge M. Pérez Award, funded by The Jorge M. Pérez Family Foundation, provides a $25,000 unrestricted award to YoungArts Visual Arts alumni who have demonstrated artistic excellence and shown promise of future achievement.
The Backyard Ball, presented by Harry Winston, Inc. and supported by VIP Host Partner UBS Financial Services, Inc., raised more than $1.7M in support of YoungArts’ programs. Hosted by honorary chairs Sandra and Tony Tamer, and co-chairs Sarah Arison and Thomas Wilhelm, Jay Franke and David Herro, and Oxana and Steven Marks, the celebratory evening welcomed more than 800 guests, including renowned artists, alumni, community leaders and philanthropists.
In attendance were newly-appointed YoungArts board members Derrick Adams, Doug Blush, Natalie Diggins, Glenda Pedroso and Jim Shreve, as well as Norman and Irma Braman, Zoë Buckman, Adriana Cisneros and Nick Griffin, Khirma Eliazov, Stacey and Jared Galbut, Alex Gartenfeld, Michi and Charlie Jigarjian, Dr. Ron McCurdy, Dr. Joan Morgan, José Parlá, Vernon Scott, Franklin Sirmans, Michael Spring, Michael Trusnovec and Betty Wright.
The House of Harry Winston, the event’s presenting partner, brought a bit of Hollywood sparkle to the Backyard Ball red carpet. Co-chair Sarah Arison was dressed in spectacular Harry Winston jewels, lighting up the red carpet and adding to the undeniable glamour of the night.
The Backyard Ball program was hosted by emcees Natalie Gold and Eric Liberman, who shared their YoungArts experiences with the captive audience.
A highlight of the evening was the multidisciplinary performance directed by acclaimed choreographer John Heginbotham, in collaboration with musical director Jake Goldbas. The electrifying performance opened with a percussive and tap battle between Goldbas and Julius Rodriguez on the drums, and dancers Alaman Diadhiou and Michelle May. Following the battle, the vignette continued with Diadhiou performing “Wait For It” from the Broadway hit musical Hamilton, and a celebratory entrance of the 2020 YoungArts Finalists.
Guests enjoyed a second vignette featuring an original song by Charlie Kogen and a soulful arrangement of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Gabrielle Stravelli, accompanied by a classical Indian dance solo by Isha Parupudi. Mercedes Ferreira-Dias closed out the night with a stunning rendition of Jill Scott’s “Golden” accompanied by the full cast.
Additional support for the Backyard Ball was provided by EventStar Structures, Bacardi U.S.A., Inc., Braman Miami, Miami Herald, Miami Magazine, Power Collective and Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits.
Photos by Jason Koerner, Getty and World Red Eye.