Hylton Center Celebrates Success of Virtual 10th Anniversary Celebration

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Provided by Hylton Center for the Performing Arts

On Saturday, July 18, the Hylton Performing Arts Center hosted a virtual 10th Anniversary Celebration. The event was held in lieu of the in-person 10th Anniversary Gala, originally planned for April 17 at the Hylton Center on George Mason University’s Science and Technology campus.

More than 375 guests helped honor the Hylton Center’s mission to stimulate and transform the cultural and economic vitality of our region by presenting diverse performances and programs of high quality and artistic excellence to inspire, educate, enrich, and enhance the community.

The virtual event began at 6:30 p.m. and included a tribute to this year’s honorees. Odin, Feldman & Pittleman, P.C. was noted for their many contributions to the Hylton Center, George Mason University, and the community, through their ongoing philanthropic support and volunteer leadership. Entertainment for the evening included live performances by husband and wife duo and original members of The 5th Dimension Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr., and an appearance by jazz vocalist Darden Purcell, accompanied by Mike Noonan.


The event raised $200,250, which will support the performances and programs at the Hylton Center, including the Hylton Center’s Education Initiative. Ten percent of the proceeds will also support the Hylton Center’s Endowment, ensuring artistic excellence now and in the years to come. The virtual celebration also included a Raise Your Paddle fundraiser, which brought in $36,650 in direct support of the Hylton Center’s Education Initiative. To donate to the program: advancement.gmu.edu/20HG. For a video about the Education Initiative: youtu.be/ja92P4Y3csc.

Rick Davis is Executive Director of the Hylton Center and Dean of Mason’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. During the event, he said, “We couldn’t, and we wouldn’t, let this global pandemic stop us from marking the Hylton’s 10th anniversary. There’s too much to celebrate, too many people to thank and honor, and frankly too much work to do to let this moment go by quietly. Part of our job is to keep working on what that beautiful little phrase “the arts create community” really means. We know we can do a better job of making our community more inclusive, more diverse, more exciting, and more representative of this dynamic place we live in,on and off the Hylton Center stages and galleries, and you have our pledge and our promise that this work is front and center in our thoughts.”

The VIrtual Experience

Participants had an option for a full experience including a home-delivered catered meal catered by Susan Gage Caterers, complete with a bottle of wine for $300. View-only access of the livestreamed event was available for $50. The 10th Anniversary Celebration was supported by many regional businesses and individual donors, including Presenting Sponsor Compton & Duling, P.C. and Odin, Feldman, & Pittleman, P.C. and Amazon Web Services.

Eileen Kennedy is the Hylton Center’s Director of Development. Kennedy closed the evening with the announcement that Leslie Odom, Jr. will headline the Hylton Center’s 11th Anniversary Gala on May 2, 2021. Odom is a multifaceted Tony and Grammy® Award-winning performer, best known for his breakout role as Aaron Burr in Hamilton. Additional details for the event will be shared at a later date.

The Hylton Center, along with all Mason performing arts spaces, has been closed since March 13, 2020 in an effort to decrease the risk of exposure to and spread of COVID-19. For more information and current updates visit hyltoncenter.org/plan-your-visit/covid-19-updates.


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