“YoungArts is older than I am!” says Sarah Arison, in a moment of reflection.
The gala’s co-chair and longtime supporter was preparing to welcome in a crowd to the Temple of Dendur once again, for the first New York gala YoungArts has thrown since 2019 (she remembers the last one well: it was two days before her due date).
The organization has turned 40, and with that threw its 40th anniversary celebration this week, which raised nearly $1 million in support of artists. The evening was emceed by Josh Groban, and sponsored by Givenchy; honorary co-chairs were Agnes Gund, José Parlá and Vanessa Williams, while the gala was co-chaired by Arison, Gillian Hearst and Sandra Tamer.
“To be in the museum kind of after hours is such a special unique New York experience,” Arison said. “We’re really looking to celebrate every artist from the past four decades who has been a YoungArts award winner. And welcoming all of the promising future winners who are going to join this amazing community.”
This year honored Vanessa Williams, who was a YoungArts theater winner in 1981, the year they were founded; philanthropist and art patron Agnes Gund and visual artist José Parlá.
“Young Arts, when it was founded 40 years ago, was really about that first critical juncture from high school to college,” Arison explained. “And it was about one week of program programming to identify that, which was really transformative in so many ways. But the reality is that there are so many other critical junctures in the life of an artist, and so we’ve really been dedicated over the past few years to expand the support for award winners throughout their careers.”
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