Chicago Academy for the Arts raises $460,000 at A Taste for the Arts Gala
Bill Kurtis (from left) and Donna La Pietra, of Mettawa, and Deann and Rick Bayless, the hosts of A Taste for the Arts 30th Anniversary Gala | Photo courtesy of Robert Carl
A Taste for the Arts Gala
BENEFITING: Chicago Academy for the Arts
DATE: May 10
LOCATION: Harris Theater & Millennium Park Terrace, Chicago
Updated: October 21, 2012 1:11PM
Chicago Academy for the Arts, a Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts National School of Distinction and one of only four independent arts high schools in the United States, celebrated 30 years of educating emerging artists with A Taste for the Arts/30th Anniversary Gala on May 10, 2012 at the Harris Theater and Millennium Park Terrace.
Five hundred thirty guests attended the gala, which provides critical support for the ongoing success of the school, and raised $460,000 in support of CAA’s groundbreaking programs, international partnerships and scholarships, ensuring CAA’s place as a leader and model for excellence in arts education.
A Taste for the Arts/30th Anniversary was hosted by Deann and Rick Bayless and Donna LaPietra and Bill Kurtis, and chaired by Stephen Flach and Chris Fryson, alongside Honorary Chair Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Civic Committee Chair Barbara Levy Kipper and Arts Committee Chair James Belushi.
A Taste for the Arts/30th Anniversary Gala showcased both artistic and culinary talent. The evening began with a sold-out, free performance open to the public (1,500 seat capacity) at the Harris Theater, showcasing the diverse talents of both current and alumni students. This unique performance included alumna and dramatic soprano Jessica Oliver, the CAA Repertory Dance Company, classical pianist Sue Jin Kang, musical theater soloist Eleri Ward and Semi Precious Weapons, featuring frontman Justin Tranter. After the performance, the gala guests proceeded to the Millennium Park Terrace to enjoy cocktails, silent and live auctions and tastings prepared by Chicago’s hottest chefs.
Guests sampled the culinary creations of the evening’s featured chefs, all of whom have participated in Bravo TV’s “Top Chef,” “Top Chef Masters” or “Top Chef: Just Desserts.” The delicious dishes, spread amongst several tasting stations, included Zucchini Cake prepared by Chef Dale Levitski of Sprout and Frog n’ Snail, Duck Fat Fried Chicken by Chef Takashi Yagihashi of The Slurping Turtle and Takashi, Goat Empanadas created by Chef Stephanie Izard of The Girl & the Goat, Coconut Ceviche by Chef Jennifer
Jones of Frontera Grill, Maple and Bourbon BBQ Glazed Pork Belly from Chef Heather Terhune of Sable, Mozzarella Rollatini prepared by Chef Tony Mantuano of Spiaggia and Bar Toma and gourmet Mac & Cheese created by Chefs Richie Farina and Chris Jones of Moto. For dessert, guests sampled a variety of macaroons prepared by Chef Amanda Rockman of The Bristol and Balena and Malted Choc Tres Leches by event host extraordinaire Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill/Topolobampo/XOCO.
A live auction mid-way through the evening featured a dinner for two at the home of Rick and Deann Bayless, a beautiful pearl necklace from A. Marek Jewelers, dinner for two at the home of co-hosts, Donna LaPietra and Bill Kurtis, and two getaways including a weekend trip for two to New York City and a dinner/overnight stay for six at the Palmer House Hilton Penthouse. The live auction raised more than $100,000.
CAA’s 30th Anniversary Sponsor is Wirtz Beverage Illinois, in partnership with William Grant & Sons, Inc., Diageo and Tenzing Wine and Spirits. A Taste for the Arts/30th Anniversary Gala Lead Sponsors include Drs. Theresa and Michael Caron, Barbara Levy Kipper, Wolf Creek Investments I, LLC, and Richard H. and Susan Sanders.
Chicago Academy for the Arts transforms emerging artists through a connected curriculum and unique culture that inspires creativity, cultivates intellectual curiosity, and imparts the skills to lead and collaborate across diverse communities.
Since its founding in 1981, CAA has grown to become an internationally recognized independent high school acclaimed for its innovative academic model and intellectually savvy graduates – independent thinkers in every field, as well as award-winning artists. Designated a John F. Kennedy Center National School of Distinction, CAA remains the only independent arts high school in the state of Illinois and only 1 of 4 independent schools in the country that provides professional arts training and a comprehensive academic education. The 2011-2012 school year marks CAA’s 30th Anniversary year.
For more information about CAA, visit chicagoartsacademy.org.