Blog The Yard

Yin Mei — Photo by Peter Critchell

TapTheYard3 has come to an end after two weeks of tapping, rhythm dancing, and sharing our Chilmark haven with some of the best dancers in the world. The closing of this festival comes at the midpoint of our 2014 YardArts season, and brings us to one of our most important events of the summer – Art à la Carte, The Yard’s annual benefit.

Planning for this year’s benefit began long before arriving on the Island for the summer, starting with choosing a location and deciding on which type of event. Last year’s benefit, held at the Martha’s Vineyard Performing Arts Center, was a night of performances by The Bang Group, Camille A. Brown & Dancers, and many others. This year, The Yardhosts our annual benefit at the Grange Hall in West Tisbury, for a night of art and a sit-down dinner, on Wednesday, July 23. This year’s event includes performances by The Bang Group (David Parker, Jeff Kazin, and Alison Manning), Yin Mei (who is currently in residency at The Yard), and the Island’s own Vineyard Sound.

While I have worked on event planning before, organizing this event has been one of the greatest challenges (and highlights) of my internship thus far. My involvement and planning began with ordering china and tables, linens and chairs. Invitations were sent out, performances were booked, and caterers were hired. Using only local vendors, the logistical aspects of the event came together, and the fun part of event planning began.

With the beautiful Grange Hall to work with as a blank canvas, ideas for the layout and design of the event began flowing and the options seemed limitless. Going for a rustic chic vibe, countless afternoonswere spent at local thrift shops and antique stores, finding an assortment of glass vases and candlesticks for the tables. Pebbles and small rocks were collected from some of the Island’s finest beaches, including Great Rock, Menemsha Beach, and Lucy Vincent; twinkle lights were acquired, and the décor was finally set.

The most enjoyable part of planning an event like this is seeing things begin to come together. From meeting with Vineyard Sound, to seeing the tech plan for Yin Mei’s solo performance (which will involve making a one-of-a-kind piece of art, available for auction at the event), the event has come together quickly in the final days of planning. Being a part of thisprocess has been such a joy, and seeing the final product will be a thrill.

Art à la Carte will be one of The Yard’s most important events of the summer, raising awareness and funds that will allow us to grow and further our dedication to the performing arts. We will continue our performance season following the benefit with performances by Yin Mei Dance on July 25 and 26, at The Yard’s Patricia N. Nanon Theater.

Sierra Adams grew up in Philadelphia and is a recent graduate from Connecticut College with a BA in Dance and Government/Human Rights. She is a Development Intern and a dancer at The Yard, a residency and performance venue in Chilmark.

For more information about The Yard, visit or call 508-645-9662.