The 2017 A.R.T. Gala, which was held at the Boch Center Wang Theatre on Monday, February 27, attracted nearly 500 supporters of the arts from around the globe. The event raised almost $1.3 million for the theater's community, artistic, and educational programs.
Gala co-chairs Kate Gellert, Sid Yog, and Paul and Katie Buttenwieser greeted guests and spoke about the scope of the A.R.T.'s artistic work. In her opening remarks, Kate Gellert said, "We are on Broadway, off-Broadway, and touring around the world. But here, in this city, is where the creativity is born, artists roll up their sleeves, the magic begins, and the work takes flight."
Our co-chairs then introduced A.R.T. Trustee RoAnn Costin, the recipient of the 2017 A.R.T. Angel Award. In a tribute to RoAnn, A.R.T. Artistic Director Diane Paulus said, "My friend and champion, RoAnn Costin, you have revolutionized the A.R.T. with your unflagging support and I am so happy to recognize everything you have done for the arts in Boston."
In accepting the Angel Award, RoAnn Costin said, "The arts are essential to the fullness of humanity. They define and celebrate all aspects of our lives, our beliefs, and our values. They bring knowledge and understanding, wisdom and insight, joy and sorrow, tolerance and change in a universal language, and distribute these treasures to all people, individually and to society as a whole. Diane Paulus and the A.R.T., under her leadership, push the boundaries of the world we know and the world that exists for us. It is with courage, compassion, and purpose that Diane and the A.R.T. make us see and feel the lives and cultures that are familiar and unfathomable, funny and painful, real and raw. We live in unpredictable times. Many of our beliefs and values are under attack. The threat to the arts is apparent with potential cuts in federal funding. However, it is in times as now when people must meet the challenge."
The evening featured entertainment from Olivier Award-winning and critically acclaimed Broadway actress Laura Michelle Kelly (Finding Neverland, The King and I, Mary Poppins) and rising Broadway star Michael Luwoye (Witness Uganda, Hamilton). Guests were treated to an original rap number inspired by Hamilton and performed by Michael Luwoye and a gorgeous rendition of "All That Matters Now" from Finding Neverland performed by Laura Michelle Kelly. In addition, we were joined by Wilder Cerrate, who performed an original rap he had written for the A.R.T.'s 2016 Proclamation Project, an 8-week after-school program that brings local high school students together to make theater.