This year's grand event was headed by chairs Marian E. Davis and David R. Parker, and Sandra and Stephen Muss. Once again, SunTrust was the gala's presenting sponsor and The Historic Alfred I. Dupont Building was the gala venue sponsor.
The evening celebration commenced with a red carpet entrance and an interdisciplinary performance showcasing this year's 21 dance finalists. Several notable artists arrived to support YoungArts, including the dancer, choreographer and actor Mikhail Baryshnikov, American ballet dancer and choreographer Jacques d'Amboise, Golden Globe-winning actress Liv Ullmann, and co-founder and co-artistic director of Complexions Contemporary Ballet Desmond Richardson, a 1986 YoungArts alumnus and Presidential Scholar in the Arts. Community leaders in attendance included philanthropist Lin Arison, founder of Carnival Cruise Lines and the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, and visual artist Naomi Fisher, a YoungArts alumnus.
The guests gathered at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts to view an innovative inter-disciplinary performance by YoungArts' Alumni entitled "Evolution." At the conclusion of the performance, YoungArts presented Bill T. Jones with the Arison Award, Kerry Washington with the Alumni Award and Michael M. Kaiser and Adrienne Arsht with the YoungArts Leadership Award. Then, all of the 2011 YoungArts finalists joined the alumni performers for a celebratory singing of "Happy Birthday" to celebrate 30 years of YoungArts' discovering excellence in the arts.
After the performance, all guests walked to The Historic Alfred I. Dupont Building for a lavish five-course meal catered by Chef David Schwadron. A silent auction featured fine wines, exclusive experiences and luxurious vacations, all to benefit YoungArts. For dessert, mini-birthday cakes were received by each guest in honor of YoungArts' 30th anniversary. The event ended with a high-energy dance party for all finalists, guests and alumni, which lasted until the wee hours of the morning.
The newest group of young artists can apply to the program at www.youngarts.org/apply.