The Harlem School of the Arts (HSA) Masquerade Ball and After Party is one of the most coveted events of the Fall season in New York City. So much so, in fact, that all 400 available tickets were sold, filling each seat in the iconic Plaza Hotel’s Ballroom on Monday, October 21. Each ticket sold directly supports the 55-year-old arts organization’s mission to provide world-class training in and exposure to the arts across multiple disciplines. Unlike other arts institutions in New York City, the Harlem School of the Arts offers out of school programming, enabling young people to incorporate arts education into their traditional schooling.
For the fifth year in a row, the Mask Ball (#HSAMaskBall) exceeded expectations again by raising over $1 million dollars. The event was hosted by Fox 5 anchor, Lori Stokes, who shared the podium with HSA student, Jabari King.
As in past years, this was an evening to honor and celebrate individuals who embody excellence in the arts and education communities. The night’s honorees included:
- Visionary Lineage Award: Academy Award Winning Actress Lupita Nyong’o and her mother Dorothy Nyong’o, First Lady of Kisumu County and Managing Trustee of the Africa Cancer Foundation.
- Dorothy Maynor Award: Michelle Ebanks, CEO, Essence Communications.
- The Betty Allen Corporate Award: Racquel Oden, Managing Director, Northeast Division, JPMorgan Chase.
This marqueé fundraising event helps maintain the level and quality of programs the organization can develop and offer. Specifically, the funds raised go towards essential resources that allow HSA to continue providing high-quality arts education and world-class training in an environment that empowers, stimulates creativity, and builds self-confidence. Since 1964, HSA has transformed the lives of over 10,000 young people, and the statistics prove just how important an arts education is on a person’s life:
- Students in HSA’s pre-professional program have a 100% college or artist professional program acceptance rate.
- Approximately 95% of the students in HSA’s pre-professional program that have applied to specialized arts high schools in New York have been accepted to their first choice.
Students who are highly engaged in the arts are twice as likely to graduate college than their peers without an arts education
- Seventy-eight percent of young adults who had arts-rich experiences were more likely to vote or participate in a political campaign.
Guests who attended the Mask Ball were treated to special performances by some of the school’s most talented and gifted young music, voice and dance students throughout the night.The evening opened with The Masquerade by George Benson performed by the HSA Alumni All-Stars featuring Desmond Scaife Jr. on vocals and Majid Khaliq on the violin.
“I believe our founder, Dorothy Maynor, would have been proud to pay tribute to our gala honorees: Michelle Ebanks, Lupita Nyong’o & Dorothy Nyong’o, and Racquel Oden. Each recipient was selected based on their leadership and exemplary accomplishments in their field as well as their commitment to service in the community,” explained Eric G. Pryor, President of HSA. “They exemplify what is possible when you aim for excellence. They have all carved new pathways, and shown their mastery through perseverance and determination.”
The festivities continued over to the After Party, held in The Plaza’s Terrace Room, where guests wearing colorful masks listening to the beats of celebrity DJ Vince Adams late into the evening.