On Saturday, January 10, 2015 the National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts) will host the organization’s annual Backyard Ball on the YoungArts Campus (2100 Biscayne Boulevard).

The 2015 Arison Award Honoree is renowned visual artist Jeff Koons and this year’s Arison Alumni Honorees are Grammy Award-nominated recording artist, singer, songwriter, actor, YoungArts Master Teacher and 1999 YoungArts Winner in Theater, Josh Groban, and Grammy and Country Music Association Award-nominated singer-songwriter and 2003 YoungArts Winner and U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, Chris Young.

The celebratory evening of artistic immersion will bring together prominent artists, community leaders, philanthropists and celebrities to recognize the 2015 YoungArts Winners, 786 of the nation’s most outstanding young artists in the literary, visual, design and performing arts. The Gala is YoungArts’ largest annual fundraiser and the culmination of YoungArts’ signature program, National YoungArts Week, which provides a select group of YoungArts Winners with life-changing experiences, including master classes, workshops, interdisciplinary activities, performances and exhibitions.

The 2015 Gala Co-Chairs are Tracey and Bruce Berkowitz and Elizabeth and Facundo Bacardi. The Presenting Sponsor of the 2015 Backyard Ball is Max Mara.

The evening will be emceed by YoungArts Alumna and Master Teacher, actress Zuzanna Szadkowksi (1997 Winner in Theater and U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts) and will include a post-dinner performance directed by renowned Tony Award-winner, dancer, choreographer and YoungArts Artistic Advisor, Bill T. Jones. The performance will feature YoungArts Alumni from around the nation, including jazz musicians Pascal Le Boeuf (Piano, 2004 Winner), Martin Jaffe (Bass, 2012 Winner and U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts), Jake Goldbas (Drums, 2007 Winner), Gabe Schneider (Guitar, 2011 Winner); vocalists Julia Easterlin (Voice, 2008 Winner) and Tatiana Mayfield (Jazz Voice, 2006 Winner); classical musicians Rebecca Hargrove (Soprano, 2008 Winner), Aaron Casey (Tenor, 2011 Winner), Molly Joyce (Composer, 2010 Winner), Jeanette Fang (Piano, 2003 Winner and U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts), Mariella Haubs (Violin, 2014 Winner) and Anna Litvinenko (Cello, 2012 Winner); tap dancer Joseph Wiggan (Dance, 2004 Winner and U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts) and modern dancers Alexzandra Sarmiento (Dance, 2011 Winner), Maxwell Perkins (Dance, 2011 Winner and U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts), and Rory Freeman (Dance, 2006 Winner); as well as actors Katie Kleiger (Theater, 2011 Winner) and Ryan Brophy (Theater, 2014 Winner). In addition, YoungArts alumni Caleb Teicher (Dance, 2011 Winner) and Danny Rothschild (Writer, 2011 Winner) are serving as the assistant director and playwright, respectively. The magical evening will conclude on the YoungArts Plaza with dancing and dessert under the stars.

“The YoungArts Backyard Ball exemplifies all that YoungArts works to accomplish. It celebrates the incredibly talented 2015 YoungArts Winners; includes a world-class performance featuring YoungArts Alumni directed by the outstanding Bill T. Jones; and honors Jeff Koons, Josh Groban and Chris Young, three remarkable individuals who serve as inspirations for emerging artists everywhere,” stated Paul T. Lehr, National YoungArts Foundation President & CEO. “I look forward to welcoming guests to our home on the YoungArts Campus and acknowledging the hard work and dedication of all of these passionate artists.”

Previous Gala honorees have included YoungArts alumni Doug Aitken (Visual Arts, 1986 Winner), Kerry Washington (Theater, 1994 Winner), Adrian Grenier (Theater, 1994 Winner) and Andrew Rannells (Theater, 1997 Winner); and renowned artists Debbie Allen, Joshua Bell, Zaha Hadid, Rita Moreno and Robert Redford.

Additional support for the Backyard Ball is provided by Bacardi, Braman Motors, EventStar, James Royal Palm Hotel, the Miami Herald, MIAMI Magazine, Rolls Royce, and Seabourn.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit: www.youngarts.org/gala.

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