On Saturday, July 16th, Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation (RPAF) hosted its 17th annual Art for Life. The Back to the Future themed Hamptons Gala at Fairview Farms toasted to Frank Cooper III, CMO/CCO, BuzzFeed; James Cruz, President Bad Boy Management and Strategic Alliances; Suzanne de Passe, Co-Chair, de Passe Jones Entertainment; Star Jones, Attorney, Advocate, Television Personality and Producer; Debra L. Lee, Chairman and CEO, BET Networks; Soledad O’Brien, Journalist and CEO, Starfish Media Group; Alex Waislitz, Founder and Chairman, Thorney Investment Group Australia and Waislitz Family Foundation; and Nari Ward, 2016 Featured Artist.
Upon arriving, guests were welcomed into cocktail hour, where they could whet their whistle with a variety of Bombay Sapphire signature sips, capture the moment with POPsocial, view art made by Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation students or explore a virtual world with Google Cardboard.
Once guests sat down for dinner, Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation Executive Director Tangie Murray greeted attendees and read a special letter from President Barack Obama, in which he said, “Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation has provided young people in New York and New Jersey with unique opportunities to work with art and embrace the power of their imaginations. These efforts have not only opened eyes to the magic of creative expression, but have also helped cultivate a generation of dreamers and thinkers that will guide our country.” President Obama also sent his best wishes for a memorable evening.
Partygoers also heard from Chairman and Co-founder, Russell Simmons and Vice Chairman and Co-founder, Danny Simmons.
Russell stressed the importance of youth having a creative outlet. “We recognize that without art, societies get stagnant, they go backwards,” he told the crowd. “Without creativity our souls are like prisoners.”
Danny spoke about the organization’s progress. “I’ve always had the dream that we would move beyond the confines of New York City because this is something that kids all over need. We are officially opening another gallery in Philadelphia,” shared Danny. “We want to do this all around the country. We want to be in every city, eventually.”
The evening capped off with tributes to the honorees led by emcee Gayle King and special performances from Tyrese Gibson, Doug E. Fresh, and Whodini.
Overall, this year’s Art for Life was an overwhelming success, as over $1 million was raised for Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, which should come as no surprise to attendees who had the opportunity to watch auctioneer Star Jones raise $150,000 for the organization in just seven minutes.
Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation is committed to providing inner city youth across New York City with substantial exposure to the arts, and providing up-and-coming artists with chances to showcase their works.
A variety of experiences, like tickets to a Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, a meet and greet with Julianne Moore, lunch with Russell Simmons, the chance to meet Amy Schumer at an upcoming show and more, are currently available on Charitybuzz in support of Art for Life. The auctions end on Thursday, 28th. For more information, visit www.charitybuzz.com.
For more information, visit rushphilanthropic.org.