National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts) welcomed approximately 800 guests and raised $1.5 million at the organization’s largest annual fundraiser, the Backyard Ball performance and gala, presented by Harry Winston, Inc. A high point of the evening was the announcement of the inaugural Jorge M. Pérez Award, a new unrestricted grant for emerging and mid-career artists to receive mentorship and $25,000 to advance their practice.
In its maiden year, the Jorge M. Pérez Award, generously funded by The Jorge M. Pérez Family Foundation, recognizes the contributions of Latin artists who have succeeded in strengthening their community through artistic endeavors, with future editions set to honor artists across a diverse range of mediums and areas of focus. Inaugural award recipients Chat Travieso (2003 YoungArts Winner in Visual Arts & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts) and Kathia St. Hilaire (2013 YoungArts Winner in Visual Arts) have both demonstrated artistic excellence and shown promise of future achievement.
The celebratory evening honored prolific choreographer and bold visionary Camille A. Brown (1997 YoungArts Winner in Dance & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts), and singular interdisciplinary designers and YoungArts mater teachers Simon and Nikolai Haas of The Haas Brothers, with the 2019 Arison Alumni Award and Arison Award, respectively, for their contributions and commitment to the arts.
The evening concluded with the Backyard Bash on the YoungArts Plaza, featuring cocktails, desserts and dancing under the stars to music by DJ Pirate Stereo.