Flushing Town Hall honors André De Shields and other luminaries at annual gala

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(From l. to r.) Board Member Anne Lewent, Board Vice-President & Treasurer William McClure, Board Member Andrea Bland, Board Member Gonzalo Casals, Board Secretary TeHsing Niu, Gala Honoree Wayne Ho, Gala Honoree André De Shields, Gala Honoree Mukund Padmanabhan, Board President Veronica Y. Tsang, Executive & Artistic Director Ellen Kodadek, Board Member Patrick Hsu, Board Member Jacqueline d’Emden, Board Member Christina Tsang.
Photo by Lia Chang

Flushing Town Hall honored Broadway deity André De Shields, President and CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC) Wayne Ho and Founder of the Guru Krupa Foundation Mukund Padmanabhan at its annual gala, Around the World & Home Again, on June 15. 

The gala celebrated the Smithsonian affiliate’s mission to bring people together through arts and culture from around the world. Veronica Tsang was the presenting sponsor for this year’s gala that welcomed 150 attendees. 

Those in attendance included Elaine Fan, a representative of New York Governor Kathy Hochul, Senator John Liu, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Assembly Members Ed Braunstein and David Weprin, City Councilwoman Sandra Ung, and city Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Laurie Cumbo. 

As the nonprofit’s main benefit event of the year, the funds raised at the gala are critical for Flushing Town Hall to achieve its mission.

“We are an arts presenter as well as an Arts Council, with a crucial mission to bring people together by presenting arts and culture from all around the globe,” said Flushing Town Hall Executive & Artistic Director Ellen Kodadek. “We serve one of the most diverse communities in the world with culturally relevant programs featuring master culture and tradition bearers. We strive to uphold the legacy of inclusiveness that has defined our community since the Flushing remonstrance of 1657.”

Honoree De Shields, who received the Award for Life Achievement, said serenading the audience with songs are his expressions of immense gratitude. 

“The shifting cultural paradigm calls for every artist to advocate for Foundational Democracy — the doing of the greatest good for the greatest number of people,” De Shields said. “During the month of February in both 2021 and 2022, Flushing Town Hall provided the forum for demonstrating the intersection of art and activism by inviting me to perform my tribute to Frederick Douglass —Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory—in commemoration of Black Heritage Month.” 

Ho thanked Flushing Town hall for the recognition saying, “Flushing Town Hall has been an institution not only in the Flushing community, but also serving all of Queens and serving all of New York City.” 

Padmanabhan said, “Flushing Town Hall is the one place I can come, too, and I don’t need to come very far, where I can experience music from all over the world.”