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Vanessa Williams in Stuart to support the local arts at StarStruck Theatre

CBS12's Michele Wright spotlights Broadway Star / Actress / Recording Artist Vanessa Williams supporting StarStruck Theatre

Connect with Michele: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Periscope

STUART, Fla. (CBS12)-- Broadway Star / Actress / Recording Artist Vanessa Williams was in South Florida to show her support for the local arts. Hundreds mingled at the exclusive fundraiser for StarStruck Academy & Theatre. It is the only children's theater in Martin County. She performed with music director, Leo Colon and backup vocalist Shelley Thomas. CBS12 News Anchor Michele Wright spoke exclusively with Vanessa Williams about her passion for arts, music and children.

"Arts programs contribute, greatly, to improved academic performance. The character, academic and overall development skills learned at StarStruck Theatre - Florida's crown jewel of musical theatre education - makes future success an achievable reality for our children whether or not they pursue a formal arts education or profession." said Williams.

StarStruck Theatre has been in Stuart for 16 years. Jennifer and Peter Jones are the founders. Four years ago, they moved into an empty warehouse-style building in the heart of Stuart Florida so that their students would have a home in which to perform. In that time, not only has enrollment increased exponentially but the ways in which the theater services the community and helps other organizations has been overwhelming. Because the space has become so important to the community, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) was established in the hopes of purchasing the building. The original lease will end in two years, so this year is crucial for fundraising.

"Regardless of how we experience theatre, as an audience member or as an actor, our journey becomes unified and understood...heart, mind and soul. ." says Jennifer Jones, StarStruck Theatre Artistic Director.

Vanessa Williams, actress, singer, dancer, proud mom of 4 fabulous kids & author of You Have No Idea, heard about StarStruck's mission from Marshay Williams, StarStruck's nonprofit development consultant, and was on board right away. Vanessa supports the arts and has a special love for encouraging young people in the arts.

In 2008, at the New York State School Music Association Conference, The Harlem Quartet, a Sphinx ensemble, opened for Vanessa. At that time, Marshay was the Director of Leadership Investments for Sphinx, and Vanessa accepted Marshay's invitation to serve as the event chair for the following year's Carnegie Hall performance.

The <arch 3rd gala was an exclusive fundraiser to help StarStruck Theatre secure a permanent home for the arts and our children. They must raise $2.5 million to keep children's dreams alive. If you'd like to donate, click HERE

In a CBS12 News Exclusive: Vanessa Williams shared her secrets to timeless beauty and tips for staying healthy with News Anchor Michele Wright & much more! The multi-talented artist also gave her the scoop on her new lead role in VH1's TV drama Satan's Sisters, based on the best-selling book by Star Jones and spoke of her triumphant return to the Miss America stage.

WHO: Vanessa Williams, critically acclaimed Broadway, motion picture, and television actress and singer, headlines exclusive fundraising event with StarStruck Theatre's young artists.

WHAT: Cocktails, strolling dinner, exclusive performance and "Beyond the Stage" discussion with Vanessa Williams, facilitated by Jennifer Jones. The entire evening, all will take a closer look at StarStruck Theatre's vision for the future.

WHEN: Thursday, March 3 at 7 p.m.

WHERE: StarStruck Academy & Theatre, 2101 S. Kanner Highway, Stuart

WHY: During the past 16 years, StarStruck Academy & Theatre has provided 352,000 opportunities for children and teens to find their inner star. This creative fundraising event was designed to raise awareness about the importnace of StarStruck Theatre realizing its mission on "sustainable, artistic home that will enrich the cultural life of our children and our community." Additionally, this event will enable them to raise the much needed funds to purchase a permanent facility where they can continue to educate children in the arts and offer cultural experiences to the public.

For Gold or Silver Star donations, VIP services, or to join StarStruck's Founding Constellation Initiative, please contact Marshay Williams at marshay@starstruckfl.org or 586.703.3366

Learn more about StarStruck Academy & Theatere : http://www.starstruckfl.org/. Donate: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/starstrucktheatreinc

Connect with StarStruck Performing Arts Center on Facebook

For the latest Vanessa Williams updates visit her official website: http://vanessawilliams.com/. Connect with Williams on Facebook |Twitter | Instagram

YOU HAVE NO IDEA is the highly anticipated first book from award winning singer and actress Vanessa Williams and her mother Helen. Vanessa and Helen discuss it all: from becoming the first black Miss America in 1983 and the controversy that followed, to her debut and success on Broadway, and her resurgence in recent years on network television in Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives. Vanessa has proven she has serious staying power, and as readers will learn, that survivor mentality and resilience is inherited from her mother, Helen.

No stone is left unturned. Filled with personal family photos and mementos, YOU HAVE NO IDEA is an empowering celebration of the love between a mother and daughter and the lives, thus far, of two women who have consistently defied the odds to achieve successno matter how uncertain their paths might have been.

Click for details on Vanessa William's daughter new Lion Babe album.

If you know an extraordinary person or people making a positive difference in South Florida, email CBS12/CW34 News Anchor Michele Wright at mwright@cbs12.com, Tweet / Facebook message her. We'd love to hear about it.

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