Lighthouse Guild’s “Salute to the Arts”

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A cabaret performance by Billy Stritch and Seth Sikes’ at Lighthouse Guild's Palm Beach Visionary Evening.

A blind person making art? Playing baseball? Finding a favorite dish on a menu? This is happening right now. And the Lighthouse Guild is at the forefront of this kind of innovation.

Twenty years ago, Marc Rosen brought Lighthouse Guild to Palm Beach. And thanks to him, it remains a social top tier ticket. For the 17th year, he welcomed an intimate gathering of longtime friends and supporters to Club Colette at the Lighthouse Guild’s Palm Beach Visionary Evening. A highlight: Billy Stritch and Seth Sikes’ cabaret performance.

The evening was a “Salute to the Arts” honoring art collector and curator Beth DeWoody, famed photographer Firooz Zahedi, and Palm Beach Symphony Maestro Gerard Schwarz.

“Salute to the Arts” honorees Gerard Schwarz, Beth DeWoody, and Firooz Zahedi.

Event co-chairs were Jennifer and Ambassador David Fischer, Audrey and Martin Gruss, Jackie Weld Drake, James R. Borynack and Adolfo Zaralegui, Thomas C. Quick, and David and Sondra Mack. James Dubin is Lighthouse Guild Chairman of the Board. Jennifer Fisher is Lighthouse Guild Ambassador at Large.

Art created by the visually impaired?

Dr. Calvin Roberts, Lighthouse Guild’s President and CEO, explained how it’s done. A glove with sensors (developed by Bonnie Collura and “Together, Tacit”) makes the wearer feel as though they are molding clay. A sighted person sees it with a virtual reality goggle. It’s realized via 3D printer.

Grace Patterson and her guide dog, DeMarco, and Kiana Glanton.

Playing baseball? Kiana Glanton talked about how the Lighthouse introduced her to “Blind Baseball” and changed her life. She changed it by helping Team USA bring home the bronze in its Confederation International Cup.

Roberts is changing the Lighthouse for the better. Since he joined in 2020, he has created the largest and foremost Technology Center in the field, connecting innovators and users. “We receive grants to help research,” he told me, “foster collaborations, and provide a vast resource of clients, who are eager to test new devices.

“Technology is the great equalizer. If it can help people who are blind or visually impaired to be as functional as the fully sighted, there’s no limit for them occupationally. We want people to be able to read on their computers, to navigate on their own, to be able to take care of themselves. If you’ve ever seen someone who’s blind ‘read’ an excel spreadsheet, you can get a glimpse of the scope of recent breakthroughs.

“Artificial intelligence has added a whole new dimension. For example, a camera in your glasses can get you from taxi to front door, tell you what you owe on a bill. Things are advancing very quickly.”

Dr. Calvin Roberts and Andrea Roberts, and Susan and James Dubin.

Marc Rosen has been a lauded make-up, skincare and fragrance branding and packaging designer since his 20s, winning a record seven Fifi Awards. The perfume bottles he has designed are themselves little works of art. His latest, Formosa fragrance, was a gift to gala guests.

Juliana Terian and Marc Rosen.

He connected to the Lighthouse through his late wife, actress Arlene Dahl. “She was recruited to represent their Posh Sale fashions on television,” he told me. “Then, they asked Arlene and me to introduce them to Palm Beach. So, 20 years ago I did a friend maker at Club Colette, inviting 80 people for dinner, many of them New Yorkers who already knew the Lighthouse.

“That’s how it happened. I have a great group of people who encouraged me then and have been loyal all these years. This year, for the first time, we have cabaret.”

Billy Stritch and Seth Sikes for one night only!! Marc knew Billy through Liza (do we need a last name?!). Stritch had been her arranger and pianist.

“I always knew I would meet her,” Billy told me. “I was this little kid in Texas, performing since I was 15. But, I knew I would be in New York and I knew I would know her. When I was 19 years old, out of nowhere, a psychic told me I would meet Liza in 10 years. Nine years and 10 months to the day, she walked into a restaurant where I was playing piano, liked what she heard, and came over.”

Seth Sikes and Billy Stritch.

“We ended up working together for more than 25 years. She opened up the whole world for me. And we had the most fun — laughed all the time. Being on stage with her was like a dream. She’s an amazing person, with the biggest heart and very loyal. She loves talent and she’s not threatened by it. She surrounds herself with creative people.”

Yes, that psychic “saw” Billy and Liza.Marc Rosen envisioned Lighthouse in Palm Beach. Blind artists create forms beyond sighted comprehension. Cal Roberts perceives a world where A.I. “sees” for the those who cannot. And that is what this Visionary Dinner is all about.

L. to r.: Jimmy Borynack and Jody Schwarz; Adolfo Zaralegui and Fern Tailer.
L. to r.: Tom Quick and Eleanora Kennedy; David and Jennifer Fischer.
L. to r.: Linda Filardi and Gary Talarico; Anais Porthault and Mary Mahoney.
L. to r.: Susan Gutfreund and Bill Eubanks; Billy Beadleston and Jackie Weld Drake.
L. to r.: Gail Sanders and Thomas Rosin; Michel Witmer and Candy Hamm.
Tom Quick’s birthday table.
L. to r.: Maynard Monrow, Kyle DeWoody, and Samuel Camburn; Joe Pacetti and Suebelle Robbins.

Notable guests included: Jackie Weld Drake and Billie Beadleston, Frannie Scaife, Susan Gutfreund, Kathy Bleznak, Roberta Sandeman and Arthur Houghton, Kathy Sloane, Drew Butler, Vincent Ricardel, Stephen DeAngelis, William Eubanks, Ben Stein, Michael Donnell, Leslie and Eileen Quick, Lucy Musso, Grace and Dudley Moore, Linda and Gary Tallerico, Andrea Roberts, Susan Dubin, Fern Tailer, Mary Mahoney, Anais Portault, Geofffrey Thomas, Michel Witmer, Candy Hamm and Cristin Briger.

Photographs by CAPEHART

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