Washingtonians celebrate this year’s Presidential Scholars in the Arts with a VIP cocktail reception and public performance at the Kennedy Center.
by Kate Morin
An elegant VIP cocktail reception kicked off the night of celebration, as guests enjoyed wine and light hors d’oeuvres including tuna tartare served in white porcelain spoons. The reception wrapped up with a few words by YoungArts President and CEO Christina DePaul and a spirited violin and storytelling performance by Sandy Cameron, a 2005 winner in music.
Washington Ballet artistic director Septime Webre and Tony-nominated dancer Desmond Richardson were among the guests, along with members of the awards’ deciding commission.
The night’s main event— the performance of course — gave the winning students the opportunity of a lifetime to play in the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater. The 20 award recipients put on a variety show-esque performance, where the musicians, dancers, writers, singers, and photographers showcased their talents and proved that talent can come at any age. Standouts were a performance choreographed by winner in dance Austin Goodwin, who performed with fellow winners Ida Saki and Robbie Moore, and a story entitled “Love and Loathing in the Waffle House,” read allowed by winner in writing Jake Ross, with accompaniment by winner in musical theatre, Erica Vlahinos. The night concluded with a few words of wisdom for the winners from Richardson — who received the honor in 1986 — and DePaul. An energetic round of applause for all of the 141 scholars, provided a fitting salute as they smiled from the Orchestra level, their medals faintly glimmering through the backdrop.