The Bronx gala, which raised funds for the Bronx Museum of the Arts, brought together patrons of the arts who bid on priceless pieces of artwork while mingling with like-minded art enthusiasts and notable attendees including Swizz Beatz. The event, celebrating art and social justice, was held at Capitale and raised over $1 million, making it both a fun celebration and fundraising success.
After arriving on a rolled out red carpet, guests graciously bid on artwork from artists including Sanford Biggers, Zoe Buckman, Rashid Johnson, KAWS, Marilyn Minter, Angel Otero, Dana Schutz, Katie Stout, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Betty Tompkins, and Kehinde Wiley. The event, whose attendees included those from the worlds of fashion, art, business and philanthropy, was the museum’s first gala under the leadership of Executive Director Deborah Cullen.
After the cocktail hour, guests sat down to an intimate dinner in the main room of the imposing former bank. The evening, which was emceed by MOCAD senior curator and Bronx native Larry Ossei-Mensah, honored Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman of For Freedoms, Junko Kobayashi, President of the Stan Lee Foundation, and art journalist and curator Carey Lovelace. While dining on delectable dishes, attendees were also treated to a special performance by activist and musician TK Wonder, who raised the roof while helping to raise funds.
A successful silent auction during cocktail hour was followed by an equally successful live auction, led by Christie’s auctioneer Sara Friedlander, in which all the pieces were sold. The works might be nice to look at it, but they will also remind their new owners of the very nice work done by the museum which they helped contribute to. After all, the funds raised from the auctions allow the museum to continue to offer free admission to its internationally recognized exhibitions and educational programs that reach more than 16,000 Bronx youth every year.
Attendees celebrated the evening’s honorees where Swizz Beatz presented the Art for Justice Visionaries Award to Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman for their pioneering work through For Freedoms. Karen Robinovitz presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Junko Kobayashi, President of the Stan Lee Foundation, honoring her pioneering work championing Stan Lee’s vision to provide equal education and access to literacy, education and arts in underserved communities throughout the nation, and Joseph Mizzi, Chairperson of BxMA Board of Trustees, presented the Visionaries Pathmaker Award to acclaimed art journalist, curator and playwright Carey Lovelace.
Other notable guests who packed the gala to raise funds included artists Derrick Adams, Firelei Baez, Sanford Biggers, Henry Chalfant, Eric Mack, Arcmanoro Niles, Kambui Olujimi, Angel Otero, New York City Council members Vanessa Gibson and Robbie Welch, plus curators, museum trustees and prominent supporters of the arts who wanted to make sure those of all backgrounds will be able to enjoy the art in their community for years to come.