Gala Chairs Ambassador Don Bliss (Ret.) and Nancy Bliss with AFTA Board Chair Ryan Wilson (center)
Nancy Peery Marriott, with Dick Marriott, Sandra Marriott Bertha, Alice Hales, and Julie Marriott
Kim Taylor, Therapeutic Recreation Manager, Alexandria Adult Day Services, AFTA Participant Karla Kombrink (with her artwork), Brandi Rose, AFTA Program Director

AFTA’s 28th Annual Gala Reception, Giving Voice to Lifelong Creativity, was held in Washington D.C. at The American Revolution Institute of the Society of the Cincinnati, also known as Anderson House. Nancy Peery Marriott was honored with the 8th Lolo Sarnoff Founder’s Award, celebrating her humanitarianism, philanthropy and lifelong engagement in the arts. Gracious chairs of this year’s gala were Nancy Bliss and Ambassador Don Bliss (Ret.), longtime supporters and active participants in AFTA.  Dominic Cossa, professor of voice at the University of Maryland who has sung as leading baritone with some of the world’s greatest opera companies, presented the award.

A reception for Sponsors featured a tribute performance to Mrs. Marriott of Art Song to Zarzuela by the Rómez Trio. The main reception hosted the award presentation, a touching interactive performance of lyrics set to melody from the opera, La Traviata, written by AFTA program participants from Kensington Park Senior Living, and moving remarks from program participant Karla Kombrink, whose original works of art were part of an exhibition from AFTA programs on display.

Proceeds from the Gala will help AFTA provide frequent, high-quality, artist-led workshops at dozens of adult day care centers, nursing homes, assisted living, community centers and senior housing centers in the Washington metropolitan area. AFTA flips the paradigm of old age by using creativity to turn isolation, loneliness, and loss into community, access, and joy.

A link to photographs from the Gala is available here and the full program from the evening is available here.