The Irish Arts Center’s “Capital Project”, to build a new facility for Irish culture in New York City, was given a major boost of $1.5 million in donations from private investors and the American Ireland Fund. The star studded event, organized alongside Liam Neeson, also raised over $200,000.
Honored guests at the event included the Tony, Academy and Golden Globe Award nominee and world famous ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov.
At this important event, moving towards the construction of the new home of Irish culture in New York, Irish Arts Center board member James J. Houlihan announced his personal commitment of $250,000 and an additional $750,000 from other members of the board. Loretta Brennan Gluckman, Chairman of the Irish American Fund revealed that they would be adding $500,000 to the Irish Arts Center’s efforts.
New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Honorary Chair of the event, stressed the importance of these donations in making sure that the Center could survive for future generations at its new facility. She emphasized its importance in ensuring that the Irish stories are told not only for the Irish community but for the international communities in the five boroughs of New York.
Liam Neeson, who aided in hosting the event at Maureen White and Steve Rattner’s home, praised Gabriel Bryne, Ireland’s cultural ambassador, New York City Speaker Christine Quinn, and the Irish government for their help in raising $16 million, so far, for the project.
In his invitation to the event Neeson described the new facility as “a place for people of all backgrounds to come together in the world’s cultural capital to celebrate what we do best—tell our story—through live music, theater, dance, film, literature, visual arts, and cultural exhibitions. It will build on the wonderful and rich history of the Irish Arts Center and transform it for the 21st century.”
The event was filled with Irish American philanthropists and business people along with celebrities such as Malachy McCourt, Aidan Quinn, Holt McCalanny, Colum McCann, John Duddy, Thomas Cahill and Belinda McKeon.