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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

BAM Takes it to Manhattan for the Ignite Gala

Last Tuesday we celebrated the very first Ignite Gala: Benefitting Arts Education at BAM.

Guests celebrated in Skylight’s beautiful new event space, Skylight Modern in Chelsea, alongside some of the students that they were helping to support. The evening was hosted by Alan H. Fishman, BAM board chair; Karen Brooks Hopkins, BAM president; and Joseph V. Melillo, BAM executive producer. The gala co-chairs were Brigitte Vosse and Pedro Jose Torres & Cecilia Picon.

The evening began with cocktails and a preview of our Charity Buzz online auction, where guests were welcome to place bids on items like a walk-on role in an episode of IFC’s Portlandia and a week in a luxurious Amanyara villa on the island of Providenciales. The auction, which benefits arts education at BAM, will continue online through June 18th.

BAM/Restoration DanceAfrica Ensemble performance
Cocktail hour concluded with a performance from the students of the BAM/Restoration DanceAfrica Ensemble, led by Baba Chuck Davis, artistic director and founding elder of DanceAfrica. As Baba Chuck ushered guests from the cocktail space to their dinner tables, students dressed in colorful costumes danced their way downstairs, where Skylight Modern was transformed into a lush summertime garden, courtesy of the décor designers at Fleurs Bella, and featured the artwork of students in BAM's Arts & Justice program.

As guests took their seats and enjoyed appetizers by BAM's exclusive caterer, Great Performances, the dancers took the stage for a rousing performance of traditional African dance and music. It featured some of the 2013 Scripps Scholarship winners, made possible by the evening's honoree: Richard E. Feldman.

Richard E. Feldman, president of the SHS Foundation and co-chair of the Ignite campaign,  received the first ever Ignite Award, presented to him by theater producer and former chairman of the National Endowment of the Arts, Rocco Landesman, and Ignite campaign co-chair, Lucy Liu. The three-year, $15 million dollar campaign will allow BAM to completely transform its Arts Education offerings, reaching more students, teachers, families, and schools than ever before.

In recognition of his efforts and support, the center bay window of the BAM Lepercq Space will be named in his honor.

As the Great Performances catering staff began serving a variety of fresh, seasonal side dishes and entrées, guests were treated to passionate performances by poets Ashley August and Malcolm Wicks. Both artists, who performed as a part of BAM’s Poetry 2013: Game Changers, spoke to the importance of art in their own lives, as well as the lives of the students who may not receive the opportunities for creative outlets in their schools. Their deeply personal and highly emotional work provided an excellent introduction for a video profiling Enlil Mcrae, a Brooklyn student who testified to the impact of the arts education that he has received through the free BAM Education programming. Guests were then invited to support the Ignite Campaign through a pledge drive led by charity auctioneer CK Swett where we succeeded in meeting our goal of $100,000.

Malcolm Wicks performs
The night concluded with a spectacular musical performance from Rufus Wainwright. His selection of soulful pieces included fan favorites like "Hallelujah" and new songs like "Montauk," from his most recent album, Out of the Game.

Upon their departure, guests picked up gift bags stuffed with kid-friendly items, including music note ice cube trays and fossil erasers from Kikkerland, miniature first aid kids from Kabalab LLC, children’s cookbooks from Perseus Books, and much more.

Scroll down to view more photos from the Ignite Gala! And click here for more information on the Ignite Campaign.

Actress Lucy Liu and Ignite Gala honoree: Richard E. Feldman, president of the SHS Foundation
Entertainer Justin Vivian Bond
Procession to Dinner area
Ignite Gala Co-Chair Brigitte Vosse (second on left) and guests

Ignite Gala Co-Chairs Pedro J. Torres & Cecilia Picon
Ethan Hawke Ignite Campaign video presentation
Richard E. Feldman accepts the Ignite Award as Rocco Landesman presents him with the BAM Lepercq window naming
Lucy Liu congratulates Richard E. Feldman on the Ignite Award

Ashley August performs
Auctioneer CK Swett leads the pledge call and raises over $100,000 for BAM Education

Rufus Wainwright performs

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