Sunday, June 1, 2014

CANY 2014 Gala at the Edison Ballroom

Creative Alternatives of New York (CANY) held their annual gala at the beautiful Edison Ballroom this year. I was thrilled to be invited to cover such a special and tremendously important gala fundraiser. Through the use of drama therapy and creative expression in a group setting, CANY helps children and adults expand their self-concept, imagine new life possibilities and build the social and emotional tools they need in order to live meaningful lives.

In honor of the occasion I wore a vintage hot pink petal THEIA gown. Actress Katrina Bowden wore the same dress a few months earlier to an event. I loved the theatrics of the look with its ever so delicate flower petals that transitioned into a show-stopping hot pink ombre. 

My makeup/hair was done by Valerie Starr from Caravan Stylist Studios. Valerie created the most brilliant movie star-esque updo/ makeup using Sexy Hair, Kryolan makeup, MD Complete Skincare and iKonic Styling tools

Valerie made me over into a modern day version of Audrey Hepburn with an immaculately sculpted side-swept updo and feature enhancing make-up. It was the most perfect look for the THEIA dress and of course the theatre themed evening.  

For over thirty years, Creative Alternatives of New York (CANY) has been offering drama therapy programs to traumatized children and adults in the New York Metropolitan area, helping them to build new life skills and realize their potential through the art of drama. Working in partnership with 20 leading social service agencies and health care institutions, CANY serves almost 1,500 children and adults annually in residential centers for children and youth, special schools, veterans mental health centers, and domestic violence safe shelters.

Check out to learn more and donate! 

I walked up the stairs to the cocktail portion of the evening at the Edison Ballroom. The dressed up crowd was enthusiastically mingling and enjoying the start of the gala. I took a moment to look down at the candle-lit tables downstairs which were awaiting guests for the dinner and entertainment later that night. 

Next, I perused the silent auction tables which included exciting bidding items like an L'Occitane gift set, Vince Camuto luxury handbag and jewels as well as exciting theatre related experiences. 

At 7pm sharp, an invitation to dinner was announced and guests gradually made their way downstairs to take their seats. 

I sat down at my assigned table number 20 which had the most perfect, unobscured view of the stage. 

Joining me at the table were CANY representatives who work directly with the kids. It was lovely to meet such amazing people that do so much to help others. When talking to them I could sense how passionate and dedicated they were to their work at CANY. 

Opening performance started with Bobby Steggert, a Tony nominated performer, currently in Mothers and Sons & CANY Junior Board Member. The program was followed by Tony Award winner Cady Huffman who emceed and performed at the gala.  

While taking in the performance I tried the heavenly asparagus and mushroom appetizer. 

 Looking down at the table I noticed a touching message from CANY: “Blossomed from a bud that was once thought to be hopeless”.  

It was a message that definitely hit home as the arts helped to shape me as a child and young adult. I was always very creative growing up and now, looking back I'm very thankful to have been given so many different creative outlets to express myself. 

Acclaimed BMI recording artist Toby Lightman took the stage for a stellar mid-event performance. 

The evening continued with a video tribute for Jonathan Hilton, a retiring CANY executive director. CANY board members took turns speaking about Jonathan's many contributions to CANY and how he personally inspired their own lives.

The foodie in me was thrilled to see my steak dinner arrive. Between the incredible performances and tributes this was definitely as memorable. 

The perfect end to the evening was the dessert concoction with chocolate and fruits. 

I had such a great time at the CANY gala and learning more about their great cause. It was inspiring to personally meet so many great CANY representatives that have dedicated their lives to helping others through drama therapy. 

Thank you so much CANY for having me. Check out more photos from the evening below!

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