Susan and Tony Bennett's Exploring the Arts Gala Raises Over $1.2M for Art Education in Public Schools


The Evening Honored Reed Hastings, Sumner Redstone, and Steve Wynn


Over 500 guests attended Susan and Tony Bennett's Exploring the Arts (ETA) gala tonight which was held at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City. The evening raised over $1.2M for the Bennett's non-profit Exploring the Arts organization that supports arts education in public schools. Honored at the event were Reed Hastings, Chairman, President and CEO of Netflix Sumner Redstone, Executive Chairman of Viacom and CBS Corporation, and Steve Wynn, Chairman of Wynn Resorts. Terrence Howard, Katie Couric and Quincy Jones presented the award to each recipient, respectively. Whoopi Goldberg hosted the evening and the gala featured performances by Jerry Seinfeld, John Mayer and Terrence Howard. Tony Bennett performed to close the evening. In attendance were Joy and Regis Philbin, Rachael Ray, Gayle King, Donna Karan, Mitch Albom, and actors Michael Imperioli ("Sopranos") and Eduardo Verastegui ("Bella").

The evening also featured a musical performance and art exhibition by students from the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts (FSSA), the NYC public arts high school founded by Susan and Tony Bennett and supported by ETA, in partnership with NYC's Department of Education. It was announced that the permanent building for FSSA, designed by renowned architectural firm Polshek Partnership Architects, would be opened to students in spring of 2009. The school, which has been housed in temporary space since it opened in 2001, will have its permanent location adjacent to the Kaufman Astoria Studios complex in Astoria Queens, Tony Bennett's hometown.

Seinfeld, a long-time supporter of ETA and the keynote speaker at the first FSSA graduation, performed a well-received standup routine. Actor Terrence Howard, sang "Shine Through It," from his recent SonyBMG CD release and John Mayer performed, "Waiting on the World to Change, "Daughters," and "Find Another You." Tony Bennett was received with a standing ovation from the assembled guests and closed the evening with "Watch What Happens," "For Once In My Life," "I Got Rhythm," "Who Cares," "Fly Me To The Moon" and ended with "I Left My Heart In San Francisco."

Susan Bennett/Benedetto, president of ETA in her remarks thanked all for their support for her and Tony's mission to strengthen the arts in public education. Among the major donors to the evening were CBS, Viacom, Netflix, Wynn Resorts, The Lincy Foundation, Hearst Corporation, Sony Corporation/SonyBMG, Mr. and Mrs. Sumner Redstone, Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Siegel, Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Riggio, Joseph Laurita, and The Wolfington Family. Additional thanks were made to Mrs. Iris Cantor, Mr. John Desiderio and Mr. George Kaufman, all of who are on the Board of Directors of ETA.

Inez Weinstein Special Events coordinated the evening and Charity Buzz organized both an on-line and live auction that featured items donated by Elton John, Christina Aguilera, Bruce Springsteen, Katie Holmes, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, and many others, which can be viewed on

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SOURCE: RPM Productions

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