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Art lovers united for the second annual “Just Say YA/YA” event, held for Young Aspirations/Young Artists, on July 22 from 7:30-9:30 p.m. YA/YA artists contributed hand-painted chairs for auction, as well as other student works.
The event was held at The 12 Bar on Fulton Street and featured music from Grammy winner Allen Toussaint, who donated his performance, and Craig Kline’s New Orleans All-Stars. Chairs Cathy Bienvenu and our very
own Bev Church, along with a committee and patron chair Kay Kerrigan, helped raise funds for YA/YA, a 22-year-old organization that offers students ages 13 to 25 arts and entrepreneurial training and opportunities.
One very special guest made a surprise appearance – CNN’s Anderson Cooper, whose likeness graced a special portrait done by artist Gerard Caliste, attended the event.

Other noted guests included special patrons and Board Presidents Shelby Russ and Leslie Jacobs; guest artist Zawadi Kirksey-Lamb, who unveiled a “Coming Home” mural honoring Plaquemines Parish; and celebrity auctioneer Eric Paulsen.

Guests enjoyed food from New Orleans favorites including Arnaud’s, Andrea’s and Galatoire’s, as well as libations courtesy of the Goldring Family Foundation.

Generosity ran high that evening, as guest Jana Napoli agreed to match the $50,000 that YA/YA had raised, not to mention another donation that evening for $10,000. Gallerie Bienvenu on Julia St. also held a special YA/YA exhibition during the week following the fundraiser, and all proceeds were donated to YA/YA.
To view and purchase artwork, visit the YA/YA studio at 338 Baronne St.