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Broadway's Rosie Perez, Tony Yazbeck, and More to Be Honored at YoungArts Gala

Tony winner Billy Porter will emcee the event in Miami.

Tony winner and YoungArts alum Billy Porter will emcee the 2016 Backyard Ball in Miami.
(© David Gordon)

National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts) kicks off its 35th anniversary year this January with National YoungArts Week, offering support to 170 YoungArts Finalists grades 10-12 in the visual, literary, performing, and design arts. The Miami program fosters interdisciplinary collaboration and offers guidance to prepare for a career in the arts.

Throughout the week, beginning January 4, 2016, the young artists will work with esteemed master teachers and mentors including MacArthur Genius Tarell McCraney, hip-hop feminist writer Joan Morgan, the Royal Ballet of London's Sara Lamb, celebrated contemporary visual artist Jose Parla, and Academy Award-winning filmmaker Doug Blush, among others.

The week will conclude on January 9 with the YoungArts annual Backyard Ball fundraising gala, presented by MaxMara and emceed by Tony- and Grammy Award-winning actor and YoungArts alumnus Billy Porter (Kinky Boots). Actress Rosie Perez (Fish in the Dark) and director Robert Wilson will be presented with the Arison Award, while Tony Award nominee, YoungArts Master Teacher, and 1997 YoungArts Winner in Theater Tony Yazbeck (On the Town) will be honored with the Arison Alumni Award for his outstanding contributions and indelible impact on the arts.

Cochaired by Armando and Margarita Codina and Tracey and Bruce Berkowitz with support from the 35th Anniversary Committee chaired by Sarah Arison, the evening will also acknowledge all 2016 YoungArts Winners and include a series of performance vignettes, directed by Yazbeck, featuring YoungArts alumni including Desmond Richardson (1986 Winner in Dance and U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts), Dave Eggar (1987 Winner in Music and U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts), India Carney (2011 Winner in Theater, Voice and U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts), Andrew Nemr (1997 Winner in Dance), Jake Goldbas (2007 Winner in Jazz), Pascal Le Boeuf (2004 Winner in Jazz and Music), and Riley O'Flynn (2014 Winner in Dance).

"For 35 years, YoungArts has been offering emerging artists the support and encouragement they need to follow their dreams of becoming professional artists," says Lisa Leone, Vice President of Artistic Programs for YoungArts. "During this time, we have developed a strong alumni network of more than 20,000 artists, many of whom value the encouragement they received at a young age so much so that they are now paying it forward as YoungArts master teachers. I am thrilled to celebrate the creativity, ingenuity and accomplishments of our remarkable YoungArts Winners and Alumni, and to honor Rosie Perez, Robert Wilson, and Tony Yazbeck for providing such shining examples of how to inspire young talent."

For tickets to the Backyard Ball, click here.

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