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The Casita Maria Center For Arts And Education Hosts "Fiesta 2016" At The Plaza Hotel

Lee Fryd

Marcelo Claure Sr., Rodney Engard, Josh Rahmani, and Million Dollar Listing New York star Luis D. Ortiz. (Photo: Annie Watt)

Among New York's tonier affairs, The Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education's "Fiesta 2016" is co-chaired year after year by the elegant Jacqueline Weld Drake and one of New York's favorite European royalty, H.R.H. Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia, at the Plaza Hotel. This year, the Gold Medal of Honor was presented to Marcelo Claure (President and CEO of Sprint Corporation), Joanna Fisher (noted arts philanthropist), and Hutton Wilkinson (interior designer).

Jonathan Marder and Jacqueline Weld Drake. (Photo: Annie Watt)

Violaine and John Bernbach, Annabelle and Alberto Marica, and Lisa and Julian Niccolini were Honorary Chairs. Bob Hardwick Sound provided the music.

Guests included: Peter Bacanovic, Tony Bechara, Cynthia Boardman, Martha Bograd, Mercedes Bograd Levin, Hamish Bowles, Geoffrey Bradfield, Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Brodsky, Amy Fine Collins, Suzi Cordish, Alvaro and Rene Domingo, Brian Fisher, Ian Fisher, Phoebe Fisher, Nicole Fisher, Courtney Fisher, Michèle Gerber Klein, Mai Hallingby Harrison, Valesca Hermes-Guerrand, William Ivey Long, Elizabeth Jacoby, Charles Jacoby, Christopher Mason, Mary McFadden, Haydee Morales, Sergio and Malu Millerman, Pilar and Juan Pablo Molyneux, Ann Nitze, Michele Oka Doner, Luis D. Ortiz, Dr. Luiza Petre, Ann Rapp, Hunt Slonem, Ben Rodriguez-Cubenas, Cole Rumbaugh, Sana Sabbagh, Martin and Jean Shafiroff, Barbara and Donald Tober, and Kristi Witker Coons.

Casita Maria was founded in 1934 by two schoolteachers, Claire and Elizabeth Sullivan, in the living room of their apartment. Their goal was to give the children of recently arrived Latino families the support they needed to meet the challenges of a new language and a novel school system. The hope was that the young would thrive in their new homeland and lead their parents and their community to full participation in the American Dream. By developing innovative responses and programs as issues arose, relocating to the South Bronx as its community moved around the City, Casita has been able to effectively serve each new generation. By 1961, Casita was offering programs and essential services to thousands of New Yorkers. Even when the Bronx "burned" in the 1970's, Casita remained a safe haven and a gateway to opportunity. Today, Casita Maria is an institution, a driving force for scholastic enrichment through its vital after school and educational programs that focus on the arts and technology.

Casita Maria's board members include Jacqueline Weld Drake (chairman), Ben Rodriguez-Cubeñas (vice chairman), Gautam Patel (treasurer), Michèle Gerber Klein (secretary). Casita's Trustees include Nancy Barry, John L. Bernbach, Martha Bograd, Mario Buccellati II, Diane E. Finnerty, Miguel A. Fuentes Jr., Alexandre Leviant, Alberto Mariaca, Alberto Mejia, Thomas C. Quick, Violy McCausland-Seve, Michael L. Ziegler Esq. Casita Maria's Chairman's Council incudes Daniel Brodsky, Ambassador Paul L. Cejas, Anne Eisenhower Flöttl, Wolfgang K. Flöttl, Sergio Millerman, Lewis S. Ranieri, and Pilar Crespi Robert.

For more informaiton, visit www.casitamaria.org.


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