Flashback: Harlem School of the Arts 50th Anniversary Gala Raised Over $1 Million

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( ENSPIRE COMMUNITY ) Harlem School of the Arts 50th Anniversary Gala Raised Over $1 Million

On October 5, 2015, Harlem School of the Arts (HSA) hosted its 50th Year Anniversary Gala at the Grand Ballroom at the Plaza in New York City. It was a star-studded evening giving recognition to artists, community leaders and activists that represent outstanding achievement in arts advocacy, philanthropy and community leadership while raising funds to help the HSA and its mission of empowering young people from under-served communities in Harlem and throughout the city.

Honorees for HSA’s 50th Anniversary Gala included: renowned soprano Jessye Norman (Dorothy Maynor Award) and actress and activist Cicely Tyson (Betty Allen Lifetime Achievement Award).  Artist Kehinde Wiley, Grammy-winning singer/entertainer Alicia Keys and Keys’ mother Terria Joseph were each be presented with Visionary Artist Awards.  The Corporate Award was presented to Steinway & Sons (Michael Sweeney, CEO; the award was accepted by John Paulson, Chairman) and the Civic Award was presented to the Honorable Keith L.T. Wright. David Ushery, Anchor for NBC 4 New York, served as Master of Ceremony alongside HSA student hosts for the evening, and auctioneer CK Swett hosted a live auction with lots that include a four-day, three-night vacation in the British Virgin Islands, a dinner for 16 guests prepared by Alexander Smalls, Executive Chef of The Cecil & Minton’s restaurants in Harlem, and a Cuban vacation with Grammy-winning pianist and bandleader, Arturo O’Farrill.

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 05: Actress Tamara Tunie (L) and President at Harlem School of the Arts, Eric Pryor attend the Harlem School of the Arts 50th anniversary kickoff at The Plaza on October 5, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Harlem School of the Arts)

NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 05: Actress Tamara Tunie (L) and President at Harlem School of the Arts, Eric Pryor attend the Harlem School of the Arts 50th anniversary kickoff at The Plaza on October 5, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Harlem School of the Arts)

The evening featured live performances by HSA students and alumni, including music by the HSA All Stars. Others in attendance included Nick Cannon, Actor, Michael Michele, Actress, Gloria Reuben, Actress/Singer, Tamara Tunie, Actress, Melvin Van Peebles, Actor/Director, HSA staff and supporters. There were over 300 attendees and over $1 million was raised.

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 05: Rapper Nick Cannon attends the Harlem School of the Arts 50th anniversary kickoff at The Plaza on October 5, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Harlem School of the Arts)

NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 05: Rapper Nick Cannon attends the Harlem School of the Arts 50th anniversary kickoff at The Plaza on October 5, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Harlem School of the Arts)

HSA stands among New York City’s premier arts institutions as a provider of quality arts education in music, dance, theatre and visual arts.  HSA boasts an impressive alumni base of Tony-award winning actors, celebrated operatic voices and jazz musicians, visual artists, dancers, and inspired citizens who cite HSA as the platform from which they launched careers in law, business and other professional fields.  HSA believes that all children deserve access to a quality arts education, empowering them to become the creative thinkers and innovative leaders of tomorrow.  For more information about Harlem School for the Arts, visit www.HSAnyc.org.

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 05: (L-R) Egypt Daoud Dean, Terria Joseph and Alicia Keys attend the Harlem School of the Arts 50th anniversary kickoff at The Plaza on October 5, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Harlem School of the Arts)

NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 05: (L-R) Egypt Daoud Dean, Terria Joseph and Alicia Keys attend the Harlem School of the Arts 50th anniversary kickoff at The Plaza on October 5, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Harlem School of the Arts)

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 05: Actress Michael Michele attends the Harlem School of the Arts 50th anniversary kickoff at The Plaza on October 5, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Harlem School of the Arts)

NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 05: Actress Michael Michele attends the Harlem School of the Arts 50th anniversary kickoff at The Plaza on October 5, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Harlem School of the Arts)

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 05: Painter Kehinde Wiley speaks onstage during the Harlem School of the Arts 50th anniversary kickoff at The Plaza on October 5, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Harlem School of the Arts)

NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 05: Painter Kehinde Wiley speaks onstage during the Harlem School of the Arts 50th anniversary kickoff at The Plaza on October 5, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Harlem School of the Arts)

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 05: (L-R) Terria Joseph, Alicia Keys and Elain Graham attend the Harlem School of the Arts 50th anniversary kickoff at The Plaza on October 5, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Harlem School of the Arts)

NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 05: (L-R) Terria Joseph, Alicia Keys and Elain Graham attend the Harlem School of the Arts 50th anniversary kickoff at The Plaza on October 5, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Harlem School of the Arts)

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 05: Theater Program Director at the Harlem School of the Arts, Alfred Preisser (L) and Melvin Van Peebles attend the Harlem School of the Arts 50th anniversary kickoff at The Plaza on October 5, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Harlem School of the Arts)

NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 05: Theater Program Director at the Harlem School of the Arts, Alfred Preisser (L) and Melvin Van Peebles attend the Harlem School of the Arts 50th anniversary kickoff at The Plaza on October 5, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Harlem School of the Arts)

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Ese Ofurhie

Editor and Co-Owner/Founder of ENSPIRE Magazine.