10th annual Taste the Arts Fundraising Gala To Benefit Young Audiences Friday, May 6, from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Hippodrome Theatre at the France-Merrick

Performing Arts Center 12 N Eutaw Street,

Baltimore, MD 21201 Tickets to the event are $100 and can be purchased at www.yamd.org/support/taste-the-arts/ For more information, visit www.yamd.org

Bring your appetite and your appreciation for the arts to the 10th annual Taste the Arts Fundraising Gala on Friday, May 6, from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. at the Hippodrome Theatre at the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center. Taste the Arts supports Young Audiences/Arts for Learning, an organization that brings high quality, low-cost art experiences to Maryland school children.

The event will feature performances by award-winning artists, an awards ceremony honoring arts-in-education leaders, and tapas-style tastings from 25 Baltimore restaurants such as La Cuchara, Gertrude’s, Heavy Seas Alehouse, The Oceanaire, and Tio Pepe. The gala will also include roaming performers and a live and silent auction. Highlights include:

Collaborative performance by artists from the Peabody Institute and Young Audiences musicians, including 2015 Baker Artist Award Winner Wendel Patrick, and 2016 Artist of the Year Jamaal Collier

Acoustic roots and blues music by Curtis Blues

Interactive design-and-build demonstration by FutureMakers

Indian classical dance performance by NRITYA

Pantomime theater from DC’s award-winning Synetic Theater.

Young Audiences, started in Baltimore in 1950, is the nation’s largest arts-in-education provider. Each year, Young Audiences/Arts for Learning (YA) reaches more than 180,000 students through more than 5,000 arts learning experiences. They offer workshops, performances and assemblies for students in all grade levels. Programs include dance, poetry, creative writing, digital arts, storytelling and even beat boxing.

“The guests at the gala will get an opportunity to see the kind of work we do in classrooms through our performances scattered throughout the evening, while enjoying good food and also getting an opportunity to speak with artists present at the gala,” said Lakshmi Swaminathan, who has been a performing artist with Young Audiences since 2003.

“The proceeds from Taste the Arts will directly benefit Maryland classrooms and will enable the students to imagine, to create, and realize their full potential through the arts and also have fun in the process,” said Swaminathan. “Our programs in schools have a tremendous impact on the students. Learning through arts helps them open up their minds to new and creative ideas and gives them an opportunity to let their imaginations soar. It is a fun and creative way for them to explore education and their world.”

Swaminathan, a dancer/teacher/choreographer, practices and teaches a South Indian classical dance form, bharatanatyam at her dance school, Natananjali School of Dance in Bethesda. She is also the team leader of a two-member group called NRITYA. She and her students will be performing at the event.

“I have had the opportunity to be a performer at several Taste the Arts over the years, and I am excited to be a part of the 10th Taste the Arts gala,” she said. “When my students perform with me at the gala, it is a wonderful experience for them as they get to showcase their talent and culture through their performance to the guests. It is almost as if they are cultural ambassadors.”

“Young Audiences is an amazing organization that works tirelessly and enthusiastically to bring arts into education and into the lives of students. They connect artists, students, and the community at large through arts,” said Swaminathan. “Without Young Audiences, as an artist I would not have been able to take my art form to so many different schools and communities and expose the children to a different culture as well as help them learn about a new country.”

2016 Award Winners

2016 Nina Collier Arts Champion Award: Paul Wolman

Paul Wolman, founder, Chairman, and Chief Impact Officer of Feats Inc., is a true champion of the arts and education throughout Baltimore with a strong focus on the development of leadership talent.

2016 Artist of the Year Award: Jamaal Collier

Jamaal “Mr. Root” Collier, a dedicated and versatile hip hop artist, has more than a decade of experience facilitating workshops and live performances.

2016 Visionary School Award: Thomas Jefferson Elementary/Middle School

A shining example of a school that keeps the arts central to teaching and learning, Baltimore’s Thomas Jefferson Elementary/Middle School is dedicated to providing an arts-integrated and arts-enriched education for all its students.

2016 Josephine L. Kohn Leadership Award: Lois & Michael Mark

Lois and Michael Mark’s involvement in Young Audiences spans more than 25 years, with each serving as Board President through critical periods of the organization’s development. They have generously given their time, talent, and resources to help hundreds of thousands of students benefit from the arts.

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