(NEWARK, NJ) -- On Tuesday, May 7, the largest “cast” ever assembled on Prudential Hall stage – over 560 strong – reveled in the high-style salute to sisterhood known as the Women ‘s Association of NJPAC’s Annual Spring Luncheon & Auction.
Their strength in numbers was evidenced by the current head count of 2,500 WA members and the more than $52 million taken in since nine women founded the organization 25 years ago. The silver anniversary celebration was literally one for the record books, generating about $280,000, an amount that exceeded goal.
Raising a glass of sparkling rosé, Deborah Q. Belfatto, Co-Chair of the event with Faith Taylor, declared, “Here’s to 25 years of camaraderie, friendship, driven results, and 52 million dollars raised for NJPAC and arts education – to the WA!”
The party was just getting started. Vogue fashionista and industry scribe André Leon Talley, the guest speaker, turned heads with his Dapper Dan’s of Harlem caftan, which glowed in a bronze and gold brocade and was topped with a Glengarry hat. Tap dancer/choreographer Savion Glover, the Arts Center’s Dance Advisor and Board member, shared loving words about his mom, Yvette Glover, recipient of the Ronnie Goldberg Award.
An important figure in African-American culture, Talley candidly spoke to attendees about growing up in the segregated South and his journey to the peak of the fashion world, serving as a protégé of Diana Vreeland, Andy Warhol and Anna Wintour. He is the former director of Vogue magazine and a judge on the television show “America’s Next Top Model.” Talley’s life is featured in Kate Novack’s critically acclaimed 2017 documentary “The Gospel According to André.”
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The Women’s Association of NJPAC (WA) is celebrating 25 years and over $52 million raised to support NJPAC and programs that enrich the lives of our current and future generations of cultural citizens. When the WA was established in 1994, its organizers could be counted on two hands. Since that time, the WA has grown – to some 2,500 members strong today – to help NJPAC achieve its dreams. Many of the most influential and powerful women in the state lend their time, talent and treasure to support arts education for our young, champion Newark’s remarkable evolution, and advance NJPAC as a home for world-class artistry. For years, the WA has worked with the Arts Center to fulfill its mission to innovate, educate, collaborate and advocate.
PHOTO: L to R: Left to Right: Gabriella Morris, Founding Member and Past President; Deborah Q. Belfatto, Luncheon Co-Chair; Barbara Bell Coleman, Past President; Patti Chambers, Founding Member; Ronnie Goldberg, Founding Member and Past President; and Faith Taylor, Luncheon Co-Chair