The Ed Asner Family Center, dedicated to promoting mental health and enrichment programs to special needs children and their families, presents its first annual A NIGHT OF DREAMS Gala, honoring Emmy-winning actor Ed Asner, world renowned chef Art Smith and Emmy-winner Elaine Frontain Bryant, Executive Vice President and Head of Programming for A&E Network, for their dedication to the special needs communities.
A NIGHT OF DREAMS Gala will take place on November 15, 2018 at Exchange LA Downtown.
The headline attraction of the evening will be a special set by Grammy Award-winning music legend Peter Frampton. In addition, Naia Izumi, NPR’s 2018 Tiny Desk Contest Winner, will perform. Hosting the event will be Emmy-winning comedian Wanda Sykes.
“Autism and special needs touches all of us personally. Our honorees, Ed Asner, Art Smith and Elaine Frontain Bryant, each in their own unique way, personify our organization’s mission and we are so proud that they have given us the opportunity to honor and celebrate them,” said Matthew Asner, President of The Ed Asner Family Center. “We are excited to help raise awareness and funds for this wonderful new center that will bring life changing support to special needs children and their families, providing a major local impact in our LA community. It will be an unforgettable night!”
The Ed Asner Family Center is dedicated to promoting self-confidence in differently “abled” individuals, bringing balance and wellness to them and their families. The Center not only caters to the needs of the child but aims to engage the whole family in order to help them face their unique challenges.
Legendary Emmy-winning actor ED ASNER will receive a special honor spotlighting his tireless efforts to create the new The Ed Asner Family Center founded by his son Matt and daughter-in-law Navah Paskowitz-Asner. A longtime advocate for the developmentally disabled and those on the autistic spectrum, Asner personally understands the challenges that special needs families face, and the healing power of a creative, loving environment.
Said Asner: “This is a dream of mine – to establish an oasis of creativity in every special needs community. A place where our most beautiful dreamers of all can have their opportunity to thrive and in doing so learn valuable lessons about themselves and the world and in the same building give families an opportunity to be healthy. This center of enrichment is where we can develop a most important part of our being and our character.”
Also receiving an honor is ELAINE FRONTAIN BRYANT, Executive Vice President and Head of Programming at A&E Network. She is a champion of an inclusive Hollywood. Her work on Born This Way and other A&E series that feature differently “abled” individuals deserves to be recognized.
Under Frontain Bryant, A&E has developed a critically acclaimed nonfiction programming slate, garnering back-to-back Emmy Awards. Frontain Bryant launched the 2017 Emmy Award winner Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, and the 2016 Emmy Award winner and recipient of a Television Academy Honors, Born This Way. She also developed the #1 unscripted justice series on cable, Live PD. Frontain Bryant led the relaunch of the Emmy award winning series Biography and Intervention. She also serves as executive producer on several documentary features from the A&E IndieFilms theatrical slate including City of Ghosts from Emmy Award winner Matthew Heineman and Erik Nelson’s A Gray State. Frontain Bryant was previously Senior Vice President of Programming and Development at HISTORY. Prior to joining HISTORY, Frontain Bryant served as Senior Vice President of Non-Fiction & Alternative Programming for A&E, responsible for such hits as Wahlburgers, Duck Dynasty and Storage Wars. Earlier in her career, Frontain Bryant served as Vice President, Creative Development and Production at Magna Global Entertainment and served as director of creative affairs for Fred Berner Films.
World-renowned celebrity chef ART SMITH, best known as Oprah’s chef for over 20 years and now his restaurants including Artbird and Whiskey Bar, Homecomin’ Florida Kitchen & Shine Bar, and Southern Art will accept an award for his charitable contributions and commitment to children. He is the founder of Common Thread, a non-profit organization teaching low-income families to cook wholesome and affordable meals for over 12 years. It has morphed into a free healthy cooking program that has reached over 125,000 children. In addition, Smith and his talented team will be showcasing their signature recipes as the chef of A Night of Dreams Gala preparing the menu and delicacies for the evening.
Smith loves the idea of bringing people together through food. It’s partly what made him the success he is today. He is the executive chef and co-owner of Bluedoor Kitchen, Art and Soul, and Southern Art & Bourbon Bar. Smith has received the culinary profession’s highest awards and has cooked for some of the world’s most famous celebrities. In 1997, Smith became the personal day-to-day chef to Oprah Winfrey, a position that lasted ten years. Smith has made several television appearances including ABC’s Lady Gaga Thanksgiving Special, Top Chef, Top Chef Masters, Iron Chef America, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Nightline, Extra, Entertainment Tonight, The Dr. Oz Show and the Oprah Winfrey Show, among many others. Smith is the author of three award-winning cookbooks: Back to the Table; Kitchen Life; Real Food for Real Families; and Back to the Family and the recipient of numerous awards and honors.
The evening will kick off with Chef Art Smith preparing his famous fried chicken and hummingbird cake dinner family style for the main floor guests. Joan’s on Third Restaurant will be providing platters for the mezzanine seating. The program will also offer a “Fund-A-Mission” and an auction where guests will have the opportunity to support special The Ed Asner Family Center initiatives including summer camp for kids with autism and other programs for the community.
For more information about The Ed Asner Family Center and sponsorship opportunities, please contact Kayleigh Millet at Kayleigh@edasnerfamilycenter.org.