By: Mary Jo Almeida-Shore
We fully expected to be smitten on Saturday night at the YoungArts “An Affair of the Arts” Gala, where one of our favorite actors of all-time, Robert Redford, was honored with the Arison Award. What we didn’t expect was that we would have the honor of meeting the Sundance Kid and gushing, shamelessly, about the fact that we are lifelong, card-carrying members of the Robert Redford fan club. The still-gorgeous-as-ever, septuagenarian actor, director, activist and founder of Sundance Institute+ Film Festival humbly listened and even indulged us in a photo- a privilege reserved to very few on that stellar evening.
Prior to the gala, more than 800 A-list guests, including prominent artists, community leaders, philanthropists and celebrities, gathered for the performance and awards presentation at the historic Gusman Center for the Performing Arts where visual artist and 1986 YoungArts winner Doug Aitken was presented with the Alumni Award; and arts administrator Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts, received the YoungArts Leadership Award.
Guests enjoyed an interdisciplinary performance by YoungArts alumni from around the nation, including X Factor favorite, Marcus Canty, 2009 YoungArts Finalist in Voice in his first live performance since the show.
The J.W. Marriott Marquis Hotel was the perfect setting for the party that ensued after the performance, during which the dance floor was packed even before dinner was served and remained that way throughout the night. Notable guests included Robert Redford and his wife of two years and longtime companion, Sibylle Szaggars Redford; Entourage’s, Debi Mazar; Jacques d’Amboise; Bill T. Jones; Bruce Weber and Nan Bush; Lin Arison; Sarah Arison; J.W. “Bill” and Donna Marriott, Jr.; Rocco and Debby Landesman; Angelica Maria, Angelica Vale and Otto Padrón; Shelly Berg; Facundo and Elizabeth Bacardi, among others. Thanks to the support of sponsors, Grey Goose® vodka, the J.W. Marriott Marquis, presenting sponsor, SunTrust, and the support of MIAMI magazine and The Collection, the event raised nearly $1,000,000 to support student artists at both the regional and national levels.
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