“Did you see this group? All these people? Every single one?” Amy Fine Collins and William Ivey Long were saying as we left the Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education’s Fiesta gala, at the Plaza. “Year after year Jackie manages to pull it all together.” Indeed, Casita Maria’s Chairman Jacqueline Weld Drake presides over one of Manhattan’s most elegant evenings. Where else could our designer, sequined, fishtail gown be lauded for “understatement”?
Weld Drake chaired with HRH Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia and Carlos Mota. Elizabeth Peabody, Christine Schwarzman, and Lynn Wyatt, still Across the Pond after attending the royal wedding, were Honorary Chairs. Nicky Hilton Rothschild, James Rothschild, Valesca Guerrand-Hermes, Francisco Costa and Olivia Palermo were in the room.
Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos, Mary Snow and Carlos Souza were honored. Cuban Actress Sissi Fleitas was the evening’s host. American-Brazilian singer Bebel Gilberto, with guitarist Guilherme Monteiro, performed. And The Bob Hardwick Sound brought guests to the dance floor.
“This is the last great society party,” Jonathan Marder marveled. “And it does what benefits should. Park Avenue sends the money raised tonight to the poorest zip code in America, the South Bronx. Over a thousand students every day go to the Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education. The statistics (from the National Endowment for the Arts) prove that children who get arts education are six times more likely to graduate high school and go to college. That’s what Casita Maria does.”
A cultural and community anchor, Casita has earned a reputation as the first and oldest Latino charity in New York City for the high quality social, cultural and educational opportunities it brings to the South Bronx. It was founded in 1934 by two school teachers, Claire and Elizabeth Sullivan, in the living room of their apartment, to help the children of recently arrived Latino families enjoy the American Dream.
Guests included: Muffie Potter Aston, Joachim Bader, Edgar Batista, Tony Bechara, Tina and Simon Beriro, Gaby Bonetti, Halim Bulos and Hasan Green, Geoffrey Bradfield, Andrea Casanova, Pippa Cohen, Amy Fine Collins, Suzi Cordish, Francisco Costa, Sofia Sanchez de Betak, Ann Dexter-Jones, Bella Eastham, Madeline Eastham, Moataz El Refaie, Joanna Fisher, Brian Fisher, Sissi Fleitas, Stephen Gainless, Bebel Gilberto (performer), Ellery and Marjorie Reed Gordon, Zani Gugelmann, Giorgio Guidotti, Susan Gutfreund, Ashlee Harrison, Rachel Hovnanian, Johannes Huebl, Elizabeth Jacoby, Michèle Gerber Klein, Margo Langenberg, Princess Astrid Von Liechtenstein, Ambassador John Loeb and Sharon Handler Loeb, Annabella and Alberto Mariaca, Mary McFadden, Dimity Giles and Horacio Milberg, Lara Meiland-Shaw, Malu and Sergio Millerman, Emily Mohr, Haydee Morales (Executive Director, Casita Maria), Carlos Mota, Fred Negem, Ann Nitze, Ann Rapp, Nell Rebowe, Marc Rosen, Cole Rumbough, Allison Sarofim, Sana Sabbagh, Elizabeth Peabody, Natalya Poniatowski, Yolanda Santos, Christine Schwarzman, Martin and Jean Shafiroff, Adrienne and Gianluigi Vittadini, Christine Witker, and Sabrina Wirth.
For more information about Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education, visit www.casitamaria.org.