A couple of weeks ago at the Metropolitan Club, the Council for Canadian American Relations (CCAR) hosted its 50th Anniversary Gala at a black-tie dinner for 300 guests, who attended from across the United States and Canada.
The Awards for Distinguished Contributions to the Arts in Canada and the United States were presented to Karen Kain, legendary Canadian ballet icon and Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation and longstanding contributor to the arts.
Canadian businessman and philanthropist Pierre Lassonde received the Council’s Arts Patronage Award. Special Recognition was provided to Nada Ristich, BMO Financial Group.
Emcee Ambassador Bruce Heyman returned to the stage from his appearance at the organization’s 40th Anniversary Gala when he presented CCAR’s Award to Frank O. Gehry.
This year’s Award Presenters were Jo Carole Lauder, Chairman of the Board of the Foundation for Art and Preservation in the Embassies (FAPE) and CCAR’s 2019 Gala Honoree; David Binet, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Woodbridge Company Limited and CCAR Chair; Catherine Loubier, former Quebec Delegate General in New York and CCAR’s 2019 Gala Award Presenter to Guy Laliberté, founder of Cirque du Soleil; and Barry Hughson, Executive Director of The National Ballet of Canada.
Gala guests included cross-border leaders in the fields of arts and culture, business, philanthropy and public life.
Amongst them: Stéphane Aquin, Director, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts; Dawoud Bey, Chicago-based artist and MacArthur Award recipient; Melissa Chiu, Director, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; Cesar Conde, Chairman of NBC Universal News Group; Christopher Deacon, President & CEO, National Arts Centre, Ottawa; Kaywin Feldman, Director, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Theaster Gates, American social practice installation artist and professor; Stephan Jost, Director and CEO, Art Gallery of Ontario; Ken Lum, artist and Chair of Fine Arts, University of Pennsylvania School of Design; MoMA Curator Roxana Marcoci; Gary McCluskie, Principal Architect, Diamond Schmidtt (Toronto), who led the transformation of NYC’s Geffen Hall; Cree artist Kent Monkman; Bob Rennie, President, Tate Americas Foundation and Trustee of The Art Institute of Chicago; Komal Shah, tech investor, art collector and philanthropist; Rob Sobey, Chair, Sobey Art Foundation; art collectors Jay Smith and Laura Rapp; Sasha Suda, George D. Widener Director & CEO, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Lisa Hageman Yahgujanaas, Haida Gwaii artist.
Current and RET diplomats included: The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, former Governor General of Canada; Susan Crystal, Consul General of the United States in Toronto; André Frenette, Consul General of Canada in New York; Kirsten Hillman, Ambassador of Canada to the United States; The Honourable Bob Rae, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations.
The evening celebrated CCAR’s 50 Years of Achievement, including its Cross-Border Student Scholarship Program, which provides support to young Canadians training at US cultural institutions and to young Americans training at arts institutions in Canada, as well as future plans for cultural collaboration between the two countries.
A portion of the funds raised were provided to arts organizations selected by the honorees.
Earlier in the day, CCAR presented “Art With A Conscience: A Conversation” with five cross-border cultural leaders and artists at The Museum of Modern Art | MoMA. The program explored critical issues that exist for cultural organizations and for artists now and in the future.
Since its creation in 1972, originally as American Friends of Canada, by David Rockefeller and the late Prime Minister of Canada, The Right Honourable Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the Council has initiated programs and activities devoted exclusively in support of arts and cultural institutions functioning in and between Canada and the United States. CCAR’s donations program beneficiaries include more than 250 cultural organizations ranging in scope. In celebration of its 50th anniversary, CCAR will be providing “50 Grants for 50 Years” to cultural organizations throughout Canada and the United States.
Downtown at 100 Crosby Street, Staley Wise Gallery owners Etheleen Staley and Taki Wise along with Gallery Director George Kocis hosted a lively group of Harry Benson’s and wife Gigi’s along with the gallery’s long time friends on November 2nd at the opening reception of Harry’s retrospective exhibition titled MOMENTS.
The gallery is filled with Harry’s iconic photographs ranging from The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show … to artists Brice Marden, Andrew Wyeth and Frances Bacon … to Jackie Kennedy in a ski mask … to Andy Warhol and Bianca Jagger at The Factory … to Halston and Steve Rubell at Studio 54 … to Greta Garbo on the beach … to Frank and Mia at the Truman Capote Black and White Ball … and on and on.
At the opening reception, Harry was busy greeting old friends and new as he signed his new book PAUL celebrating the 80th birthday of Paul McCartney and recently published by TASCHEN. Harry’s exhibition will be up through November.
Celebrating with Harry and Gigi were Tony award-winning costume designer and bon vivant William Ivey Long, Pamela Taylor Yates whose husband Eames was fishing in the glorious Seychelles; jewelry designer Ann Dexter Jones; artist Rachel Hovnavian just back from her exhibition in Tuscany; Interior Designer Lynn Crystal and son Jonathan, an insurance and technology executive; Film editor/director Heather Silverman; photographer/author Mary Hilliard; photographer/editor Gilles Decamps; Trunk Archive VP Leslie Simitch; author/play-write Stanley Zareff; Public Relations executive Linda Buckley; Tiffany historian Pierce Macguire; Producers/authors Robert and Lois Lilly; interior designer Rose Olsham; editor/author Myrna Blyth; Duggal Photographic executive Zee Morin; William Grigsby; Elder Maxwell; and long time friend and photographer, Jonathan Delano, who photographed all the festivities as many more friends popped in and out as the night went on.
Leesa Rowland hosted her “Royal Ball” at The Lotos Club – an affair combining Regal Spendor with a heartfelt tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The light-hearted party was a throwback to the times of Kings, Queens and the Royal Court. Guests wore their best Court inspired costumes while enjoying cocktails, and dancing to live music. The reception was held in the exquisite Library at The Lotos Club where cut-outs represented leading members of the Royal Family of the United Kingdom along with Guardsmen, the Royal Carriage and, of course, the Queen’s Corgis.
Event décor, cocktails and dinner were created by Revel Rouge with many personal touches from Leesa Rowland. Fashion Designer Marc Bouwer designed Leesa’s Costume.
Leesa’s new book, The Charisma Factor: Unlock the Secrets of Magnetic Charm and Personal Influence in Your Life, is available in bookstores and online.
Attendees included: Leesa Rowland, Larry Wohl, Marc Bouwer, Pedro Oberto, Prince Mario-Max Schaumburg, Ramona Singer, Stewart F. Lane, Bonnie Comley, Nikki Haskell, Bill Sclight, Cheri Kaufman, Consuelo Costin Vanderbilt, Randi Schatz, Nicole Noonan, Dr. Penny Grant, Cindy Guyer, Hillary Latos, Dr. Nicolas Perricone, Hank Stampfl, Steven Knobel, Nicole Noonan, Allan Lazare, Arlene Lazare, Kenneth Fishel, Maria Fishel, Alan Helene, Marla Helene, Nancy Pearson, Wayne Diamond, Werner Haase, Nurit Haase, Dave Warren, Luciana Pampalone, Dara Sowell, Nadja Sayej, Elyse Slaine.
Sylvain Gaboury/PMC (CCAR); Michael Ostuni/PMC (Leesa Rowland)