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Metropolitan Museum’s September 26 Multicultural Benefit to Celebrate “An Evening of Many Cultures”

Honorees to Include Samuel L. Jackson & LaTanya Richardson Jackson and Robert De Niro & Grace Hightower De Niro

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s second Multicultural Benefit, “An Evening of Many Cultures,” will take place on September 26, 2011.  Among the honorees will be Samuel L. Jackson, soon to appear on Broadway as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and LaTanya Richardson Jackson; and Academy Award-winning actor Robert De Niro and Grace Hightower De Niro. This black-tie gala is the signature event in celebration of the Museum’s Multicultural Audience Development Initiative (MADI), founded in 1998.

The 2011 Multicultural Benefit will also honor the artists Olga de Amaral and Cai Guo-Qiang.  Olga de Amaral is a Colombian artist whose masterful tapestries and fiber sculptures are included in the collections of museums around the world, including the Metropolitan.  She previously served as co-chair of the Museum’s 2008 benefit.  Chinese-born artist Cai Guo-Qiang is known internationally for his elaborate sculpture installations and gunpowder projects.  He created a site-specific exhibition in 2006 for The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden at the Met entitled Cai Guo-Qiang on the Roof: Transparent Monument.

ESSENCE magazine is the print media sponsor of the Multicultural Gala.

Chair of the gala benefit is Spencer Means.  Honorary dance chairs are New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony and La La Anthony.  Co-chairs of the dance are Zoe Jackson and Keija Minor.

"We are delighted to celebrate the initiative with old and new supporters and friends, and to spread the word about our dedication to providing a meeting ground for visitors, who come together from widely different cultures to experience the Metropolitan Museum's outstanding and diverse collections,” commented Donna Williams, the Metropolitan Museum’s Chief Audience Development Officer.

Dinner guests will arrive at the Metropolitan Museum at 6:30 p.m. for cocktails in the Great Hall and dinner at The Temple of Dendur in The Sackler Wing, followed by a dance party in the Great Hall with admission beginning at 8:30 p.m.

The evening’s festivities will feature a viewing of the exhibition Heroic Africans: Legendary Leaders, Iconic Sculptures.  Bringing together more than one hundred masterpieces drawn from collections in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Portugal, France, and the United States, this major international loan exhibition will consider eight landmark sculptural traditions from West and Central Africa created between the twelfth and early twentieth centuries. The exhibition is made possible in part by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Ceil & Michael E. Pulitzer Foundation, Inc., and the National Endowment for the Arts.


Live performances throughout the evening will showcase diverse traditions of music and dance, including Tango Conspiracy; Jazzmobile; Moroccan drummers, Marlon Cherry and Sidduki Conde; Native American flutist, Tiokasin Ghosthorse; and a Chinese fan dancing troupe from the New York Chinese Cultural Center.  Music for the dance party will be provided by DJ M.O.S.

Décor and Menu

Dinner guests will enjoy cocktails by candlelight in the Great Hall.  The Temple of Dendur will be suffused with the light of a sunset cast on the wall, which will soften to twilight over the course of the meal.  Tables will be dressed with Marigold Ikat print linens and frosted glass centerpieces featuring gold dahlias.  Sleek, lounge-style seating, ottomans, and a projected night sky will transform the Great Hall for the dance.

The evening’s international menu will begin with chilled Peekytoe crab tian, tangerine pepper essence, ruby grapefruit, quinoa, and avocado followed by bourbon braised beef short ribs au jus, seasonal baby vegetables, and goat cheese dauphinoise potatoes.  Dark chocolate peanut butter crumb tarts and caramelized Bananas Foster will be served for dessert with coffee.

The dinner is catered by Restaurant Associates.


Tables for the dinner range in price from $15,000 to $35,000. Individual Patron tickets are $1,500. Dance tickets are available for $200 prior to the event or $250 at the door. Journal ads are also available for purchase.  Tables and tickets may be purchased on the Museum’s website http://www.metmuseum.org/ways_to_give/tickets/multicultural.  Journal ads may be purchased by contacting the Development Office at 212-650-2390.  Proceeds will benefit the Multicultural Audience Development Initiative’s programming at the Metropolitan Museum.   

About MADI

Inaugurated in 1998, the Multicultural Audience Development Initiative is a first-of-its-kind program that reflects the Museum’s mission to educate and inspire by forming meaningful relationships with its diverse constituencies. This year marks the 13th anniversary of MADI at the Metropolitan Museum, and the Multicultural Benefit will provide recognition of its vast achievements and contributions to the community.

The Multicultural Audience Development Advisory Committee is comprised of leaders of New York's African American, Latino, Hispanic, American Indian, South Asian, and Asian American communities and organizations. The committee works to cultivate collaborative partnerships between the Museum and its members’ constituents, and its events can be found online at www.metmuseum.org/audiencedevelopment

The Multicultural Benefit is organized by the Board of Trustees and the Multicultural Audience Development Advisory Committee of the Metropolitan Museum.

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September 20, 2011

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