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Brightest Party Ever: Community leaders let loose and get funky for Leadership Austin

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Austin Photo Set: News_the brightest party ever_may 2012_11
Photo by Jon Shapley
Austin Photo Set: News_the brightest party ever_may 2012_1
Mike Clark Madison, John-Michael Cortez, Priscilla Guajardo and Bill Mulane. Photo by Jon Shapley
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Tiffany and Matt Stillwell and JR Ruiz. Photo by Jon Shapley
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Terri Broussard Williams, Leadership Austin Board Member and Bobby Garcia, Former Leadership Austin Board Member. Photo by Jon Shapley
Austin Photo Set: News_the brightest party ever_may 2012_4
Honoree Sam Planta and Pete Gasper. Photo by Jon Shapley
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Michael and Natalie Kennedy. Natalie put together the design and decor for the event. Photo by Jon Shapley
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Party-goers peruse the silent auction. Photo by Jon Shapley
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Jamie Leasure and Honoree Courtney Clark. Photo by Jon Shapley
Austin Photo Set: News_the brightest party ever_may 2012_15
Tom Coopwood and Amy Holloway. Photo by Jon Shapley
Austin Photo Set: News_the brightest party ever_may 2012_8
Ken Gladish, President and CEO of Seton Foundations, accepts the award on behalf of Charles Barnett, who was ill. Photo by Jon Shapley
Austin Photo Set: News_the brightest party ever_may 2012_9
Heather McKissick, CEO of Leadership Texas, listens to Ken
Gladish accept the award on behalf of Charles Barnett.
Photo by Jon Shapley
Austin Photo Set: News_the brightest party ever_may 2012_10
Honoree Sam Planta speaks during the ceremony. Photo by Jon Shapley
Austin Photo Set: News_the brightest party ever_may 2012_12
Blue Lapis Light performance. Photo by Jon Shapley
Austin Photo Set: News_the brightest party ever_may 2012_13
Blue Lapis Light performance. Photo by Jon Shapley
Austin Photo Set: News_the brightest party ever_may 2012_14
Luis Medine and Leigh Ann Lindsey watch the performance by Blue Lapis Light. Photo by Jon Shapley
Austin Photo Set: News_the brightest party ever_may 2012_11
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Austin Photo Set: News_the brightest party ever_may 2012_15
Austin Photo Set: News_the brightest party ever_may 2012_8
Austin Photo Set: News_the brightest party ever_may 2012_9
Austin Photo Set: News_the brightest party ever_may 2012_10
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Austin Photo Set: News_the brightest party ever_may 2012_14

Hot pink, electric blue, and splashes of neon green brightened up the Long Center for the Performing Arts City Terrace Tuesday night during Leadership Austin's Brightest Party Ever. The theme of the evening, "Pop Art," lent itself to vibrant colors, cool funky lighting and live art. 

This was the 11th annual edition of the "Best Party Ever" fundraising gala. Even though organizers changed the name to the "Brightest Party Ever," those in attendance said it was truly one of their best events.

The highlight of the night was no doubt the amazing performance by Blue Lapis Light, who awed the crowd with their aerial dance performance of Phantom of the Opera atop the rings of the Long Center Terrace with the Austin city skyline as their backdrop. 

Leadership Austin, Tuesday night's host and beneficiary, is a non-profit that aims to ignite passion for community leadership through programming that explores critical community issues, develops the leadership skills to address those issues, and fosters relationships that help facilitate positive, collaborative change in our community.

The organization has been around since 1979 and boasts a notable group of participants including City Council member Mike Martinez, Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM) executive director Carolyn Schwarz and current Leadership Austin chief executive director Heather McKissick.

Community leaders Charles BarnettSam Planta, and Courtney Clark are among Leadership Austin's graduates and were each honored for their ongoing commitment and dedication to Central Texas.  

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