YoungArts Backyard Ball

Benefiting National YoungArts Foundation

Jeff Koons

The National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts) kicked off the Miami social season with its annual Backyard Ball and Alumni Performance hosted at their national headquarters and campus in the city’s burgeoning downtown neighborhood. The sold out event, which is YoungArts’ largest annual fundraiser, raised more than $1.7 million – $200,000 more than 2014 – to directly support the organization’s contributions to the artistic development of talented young artists from around the nation. The Backyard Ball was the culmination of the 2015 National YoungArts Week, during which 170 YoungArts Finalists in the visual, literary, design, and performing arts spent the week in Miami working with distinguished master teachers such as James Caan, Phylicia Rashad, Jeff Koons, Sylvia Plachy, Livingston Taylor, Tierney Sutton, Rebecca Walker, Desmond Child and Carrie Mae Weems, and sharing their talents with the public.

The 2015 Backyard Ball was hosted by National YoungArts Foundation President & CEO, Paul T. Lehr, co-chaired by Tracey & Bruce Berkowitz and Elizabeth & Facundo Bacardi, and emceed by YoungArts alumna, Master Teacher, 1997 YoungArts Winner in Theater and U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, and former Gossip Girl and current Girls actress, Zuzanna Szadkowski. The 2015 Arison Award was presented to renowned visual artist Jeff Koons, and the 2015 Arison Alumni Awards were presented to GRAMMY Award-nominated recording artist, singer, songwriter, actor, YoungArts Master Teacher, and 1999 YoungArts Winner in Theater, Josh Groban; and GRAMMY Award and Country Music Association (CMA) Award-nominated singer, songwriter, and 2003 YoungArts Winner in Voice and U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, Chris Young.

The Backyard Ball was highlighted by a multidisciplinary performance directed by Tony Award winner, dancer, choreographer, and YoungArts Artistic Advisor, Bill T. Jones. The performance featured YoungArts alumni from around the nation, was assistant-directed by 2011 Winner in Dance, Caleb Teicher and written by 2011 Winner in Writing, Danny Rothschild.

James Caan

The festive evening welcomed more than 800 guests, including Tony Award winner, Phylicia Rashad; Academy Award-nominated actor, James Caan; renowned photographer, Bruce Weber; famed musician, songwriter, and producer, Desmond Child; celebrated classical dancer and choreographer, Jacques D’Amboise; 2014 YoungArts Finalist in Dance and winner of FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance season 11, Ricky Ubeda; Sarah Arison; Jorge & Darlene Perez; Alex & Olga Blavatnik; Don Soffer; Armando Codina; Dennis & Debra Scholl; Adriana Cisneros; Martin Margulies; Lourdes Lopez & George Skouras; Dr. Luigi Maramotti, Chairman of Max Mara Fashion Group; Lisa Heiden-Koffler; Russell Galbut; Andres Fanjul Jr.; Paul & Marie-France Bloch; Daniel & Marcella Novela; Marvin Ross Friedman & Adrienne Bon Haes; Eugene & Frances Sevilla-Secasa; Andreea Baclea; John Lin; Sarah & Austin Harrelson; Paul & Swanee DiMare; Nancy Batchelor; Eilah Campbell-Beavers; Alan & Diane Lieberman; and Paloma Kiki Soyka.

The exquisite evening concluded with dancing and dessert under the stars on the YoungArts Plaza and music by famed deejay, DJ Cassidy.

The annual Backyard Ball was presented by fashion label Max Mara and catered by Stephen STARR Events. Additional sponsors include Bacardi, Rolls Royce, Braman Motors, EventStar, James Royal Palm Hotel, the Miami Herald, MIAMI Magazine, and Seabourn.

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