The virtual gala was part of Lincoln Center’s Connecting for Culture national initiative
Friends of the Broward Center for the Performing Arts fired up their computers to celebrate the arts and support the Broward Center at a virtual gala on May 21. More than 300 guests “attended” the on-line event which featured performances by award-winning artists from New York and South Florida.
The virtual gala was presented by the Broward Performing Arts Foundation in conjunction with a nation-wide initiative introduced by Lincoln Center in New York: “Connecting for Culture: A Gala of Virtual Tables Across the USA.” Theaters around the country held similar events inspired by Lincoln Center on the same evening. Of the 19 performers who participated in the Broward event, 11 were Broadway veterans secured by Lincoln Center. The local artists who participated are frequently seen on the Broward Center stage in Slow Burn Theatre Company productions.
At the Broward Center event, Foundation President Lisa Kitei and Broward Center President and CEO Kelley Shanley greeted arriving guests from their seats in the Au-Rene Theater. Following a virtual cocktail reception, everyone was whisked away into designated Zoom rooms to enjoy private performances and lively Q&As with their assigned artists. The entire audience then came back together for a final performance of “Here Comes the Sun” by an ensemble of local artists singing from their homes and seen in their Zoom squares. To enhance the virtual experience, a real dinner was offered by Broward Center partner Artisan Foods.
“We transitioned from the stage to the internet for a live performance experience to support and help the local artists who bring magic to our stages here at the Broward Center,” said Shanley. “Events like this, along with our “Broward Center @ Home” series, keep us connected and ensure that we can continue to provide services that are relevant and accessible to our community while the theaters are dark.”
Thanking everyone who attended the event, Kitei urged continued support, saying: “The arts play a vital role, each and every day, inspiring and engaging people of all ages. Tonight, we had an audience that ranged in age from five to 87, demonstrating that in both good times and bad, people of every age will turn to the arts for comfort and joy.”
For more than 30 years, the Broward Performing Arts Foundation has been instrumental in providing support for the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. The Foundation was established in 1985 to deliver the required private funding to build the Center and create an endowment to sustain its operations. Over the years, the Foundation has successfully raised funds to support the Broward Center’s innovative and diverse programming, arts-in-education initiatives, community engagement activities and capital projects. The Foundation recently completed a $30 million capital campaign to renovate and restore the iconic Parker Playhouse. Prior to this, it raised $60 million to complete the Encore! capital campaign to renovate, renew and revitalize the Broward Center.
For more information about the Broward Performing Arts Foundation, call 954-468-3284 or email Foundation@BrowardCenter.org.