Monday, May 12, 2014, we PS122 held our annual Spring Gala at the beautiful and extravagantly-decorated Diamond Horseshoe in the Paramount Hotel. As our guests and performers arrived for the night we had the voice of Leah Siegel guide and light their way down the spiral staircase with a balloon and lighting installation that was completely manipulated according to the pitch and tone of her singing. As guests were photographed, mingled with fellow attendees, and found their seats they all knew that the true meaning of the night was to celebrate the freedom of expression.
Like many of the artists we commission who break the boundaries of live performance and bring a little heat with them every time, we decided to keep the theme going (or rather, an issue with the hotel’s air conditioning system made the decision for us). Although a little more heat was provided than expected, it was with all good intentions to really set the tone for our following season. The night included live acts from Okwui Okpokwasili, Lena Hall, Amber Martin & Nath Ann Carrera, Olaf Triebel, Monica Bill Barnes & Ann Bass, and Duncan Sheik. Our hosts for the night, Michael Stipe, Justin Vivian Bond, and our MC CK Swett took center stage and brought a sense of energy to our live auction you couldn’t help but want to bid on every item.
This year’s Spring Gala honored advocates, heroes, and champions. Our honorees included: Tim Miller, John Fleck, and Holly Hughes, three of the N.E.A. Four, performance artists who lost their National Endowment for the Arts funding during the culture wars of the early ’90s. Clara Miller our Shining Star Honoree, founded the Nonprofit Finance Fund, a national CDFI that provides direct financing and financial counsel to social sector organizations. All in all this year’s Gala was one for the books, it showed our supporters and us just what this season has in store for everyone!