On May 12, The Chicago Academy for the Arts ( The Academy ) brought a night of food and entertainment to the Millennium Park Terrace and Harris Theater with the "Taste for the Arts" gala.
Beginning with a VIP tasting courtesy of Chef Cardel Reid of The Signature Room, guests were moved from the reception to the theater for a show. Ballet, musicals, art and Shakespeare were all mixed together in an artistic melting pot.
A rendition of Sonny Bono's "Bang Bang ( My Baby Shot Me Down )," by Elenna Sindler, hit all the right notes while a segment of the Don Quixote Suite had all the right moves. Classics were reinvented, with a scene combining Oscar Wilde, Angels in America and Shakespeare's Hamlet on the theater front. A narrative from student India Murphy covered gender essentialism ( which About.com defines as "the idea that men and women act differently and have different options in life because of intrinsic or essential differences between the genders" ) and Andres Salamanca artistically made mopping a floor relevant.
There was a student film from Quinn Bailey called Day of the Wolf and poetry from Kurstyn Thompson about suicide. The program closed with numbers combining two musicals: Violet and Ragtime.
Almost 400 guests proceeded over to the upstairs terrace space for samplings from local restaurants. Among the bites were Curtis Duffy's ocean trout from Grace and Carlos Gaytan' ceviche from Mexique. Yongho Cho supplied vegetarian rolls along with sushi, and even brought dessert. A three-piece band created atmosphere and were followed with a live auction that included large prizes such as a New York getaway and four front-row tickets to a Blackhawks game along with autographed memorabilia.The live auction raised $74,000.
This year, $426,325 was raised in total in the primary fundraising event for The Academy that supports the future and education of students in the arts locally and nationally. For more information on the organization, visit www.chicagoacademyforthearts.org .
Photos and text by Jerry Nunn