Harlem School of arts, brigerton, gala

Harlem School Of The Arts Celebrates 60th Anniversary With ‘Bridgerton’-Themed Gala

The gala also served as a fundraiser, raising over $2 million for the school’s diverse arts programming and tuition assistance for students.

On May 20, the Harlem School of the Arts’ (HSA) celebrated its 60th anniversary at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York City. The event honored the legacy of the school’s founder, concert soprano Dorothy Maynor, and guests were greeted with a Bridgerton-inspired dinner theater experience, coinciding with Netflix’s release of the show’s third season.

Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos gave a heartfelt speech to his wife, author, and former ambassador to the Bahamas, Nicole A. Avant, who was honored alongside her late parents, Jacqueline and Clarence Avant. Celebrated for their efforts in philanthropy, business, and politics, the Avants were recognized at the event. Other honorees included Deborah Roberts, Al Roker, their son Nick, Jennifer Jones Austin, and The Herb Alpert Foundation, which has supported HSA for over a decade.

Guests wore 1800s-inspired ball gowns, enjoying live jazz and music from The Roots, with performances reflecting HSA’s musical legacy, Vogue reported.

The gala not only celebrated HSA’s milestone but was also a fundraiser. Over $2 million was raised, supporting the school’s diverse arts programming and tuition assistance for students.

HSA President James C. Horton emphasized the event’s significance in continuing Dorothy Maynor’s vision of uplifting underrepresented communities through the arts.

“As we reflect on HSA’s 60 years of unwavering dedication to the transformative power of the arts, we stand in awe of the remarkable individuals who have embodied the spirit and vision of our beloved founder, Dorothy Maynor,” said Horton. “We look forward to honoring those whose tireless efforts have echoed her legacy of uplifting underrepresented and underserved communities through the arts.”

Sandra Buchanan Hurse, board member and gala committee member, highlighted the life-changing impact of arts education and the importance of ensuring access regardless of socio-economic status. “The impact of receiving arts education can be life-changing, and no child should have to be without that experience because they can’t afford it. The funds raised this evening provide access to arts programming for young people regardless of their socio-economic circumstances,” said Hurse.

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