At the intersection of art, activism, and philanthropy

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Blue skies and 907 Fifth. Photo: JH.

Wednesday, October 11, 2023. Partly cloudy, partly sunny yesterday in New York, with temps hovering around the upper 50s making for partly chilly.

New York is back to business. The traffic tells us. Lines everywhere midtown, bumper to bumper. Although after six p.m. it lightens rapidly along with the skies growing dark by six-thirty.

The calendar is getting filled in the activities department — social, philanthropic and just plain ol’ parties. For example, on Sunday, October 1st, the Annie Watt Agency hosted a Fundraising Photography Exhibition at the Consulate Midtown Restaurant at 44 West 56th Street.

The Consulate Midtown.

The restaurant’s owners Kiril and Miki Mihajlov generously sponsored the event and permitted their stunning French restaurant to be transformed into an art gallery displaying the black and white images. 120 guests were encouraged to “take their portrait off the wall” as a keepsake while enjoying wine and delicious hors d’oeuvres. 100% of the net profits were donated to benefit Spoons Across America. 

Annie is a very prominent events photographer here in New York and also in Palm Beach during the season. She got going in business as an independent party photographer a number of years ago, getting her start right here on NYSD!

Over time, she had more work than she could handle and to solve the problem, she began spreading the bookings among other photographers through her agency. She also created an art gallery in various locations to display and sell the black & white images.

Annie Watt Agency Photographers — Alex Agisilaou, Jill Nelson, Annie Watt, Steve Eichner, Mike Jachles, David DuPuy, Barry Williams, and Frank Rocco.

Spoons Across America Executive Director James Grosso described to the audience how their programs educate children about healthy foods, imparting culinary skills, kitchen science, and food origins through diverse, intelligent, and nutritious choices. Annie and her agency have been providing photography and media outreach services to the foundation for over a decade and will photograph their next Gala in April 2024.

The Annie Watt Agency’s New York City photographers who captured guests as they discovered their portraits included David DuPuy, Jill Nelson, John Sanderson, Steve Eichner, Barry Williams, and Frank Rocco. Mike Jachles, who works with Annie in Palm Beach, and Alex Agisilaou shot video during the event. Event manager Alexandra-Dana Gusita created yet another wonderful experience for the guests. Annie’s next fundraiser is planned for April 2024, and will take place at The Colony Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida. If you’re down there at the time, don’t miss it — it’ll be interesting (as portraits always are).

Heidi and Allen Roberts.
Metodija (Miki) Mihajlov, Art Benvenuto, Anne Akers, and Errol Rappaport.
L. to r.: Anthony Haden-Guest and Anna Bulkot; Sydney Bea Murphy and Suzanne Murphy.
Metodija (Miki) Mihajlov, James Grosso, and Annie Watt.
Kathy Prounis, Eleanora Kennedy, and Othon Prounis.
Barbara Tober, Jonathan Marder, and Lee Fryd.
Dr. George Liakeas and Nicole Liakeas.
Rares Beraru and Lisa Heller.
Anthony Haden-Guest.
Sylvie Beljanski.
Eileen Judell, Judy McLaren, Cece Black, and Lee Black.
L. to r.: Ann Van Ness and Marcia McCabe; Stephen Smith and Sandi Victor.
Geoff McKernan and Eric Viner.
Stephanie Stokes.
David Hochberg, Olga D’Alto, and Howard Freedman.
Rolise Rachel, Catherine Carey, and Sabrina Forsythe.
Cece Cord.
Nicole Liakeas, George Liakeas, and Lorre Erlich.
Dr. Dino Rivera, Kathleen Giordano, and Dr. Penny Grant.
Robin Verges.
Joyce Brooks, Michele Gerber Klein, and Margo Langenberg.
Sharon Hoge, Karen Klopp, and Isabella Meyer.
Geoffrey Bradfield and William Featherby.
Leo Simard, Travis Hicks II, James Grosso, and Rachel Parker.
Matt Semino, Linette Semino, and Michele Witmer.
Sylvia Hemingway, Ruth Miller, and Alexandra Nicklas.
Alexandra Dana Gusita, Hugh Zaretsky, and Carmen Garcia.
Iris Zimmerman and Rose Hartman.

Onward with the artful: The New York Women’s Foundation (NYWF) held their annual Radical Generosity Dinner in New York celebrating the work of the Foundation and honoring visionary women who are advancing justice at the intersection of art, activism, and philanthropy.

2023 honorees Lorelei Williams, Bisa Butler, and Molly Gochman.

The 2023 honorees were Bisa Butler, an award-winning African American textile artist; Molly Gochman, award-winning artist, activist and founder of Stardust; and Lorelei Williams, an award-winning writer and catalyst of justice and equity for African and Afro-descendent communities across the globe.

The Radical Generosity Dinner celebrates individuals who have made significant contributions to their fields while supporting gender equity and social justice. This year’s event highlighted those honorees who use their artistic talents to help shape our world in alignment with the vision of gender, racial, and economic justice through various mediums, including textiles, writing, and storytelling.

Notable attendees included: Ana L. OliveiraBisa ButlerMolly GochmanLorelei Williams, Richard Brown, Donna Wilson, Susan Taylor, Yvonne Moore, Susan Sawyers, Anne E. Delaney, Jean Shafiroff, Anastasia Somoza, Tia Hodges, Adrienne Becker, Michelle Coffey,  Rebecca Seawright, Jay Hershenson, Lilliam Barrios Paoli, Karen Ford, Benita Miller, Jeanne Mullgrav, Nadja Sayej, Daniel Finch.

L. to r.: Nadja Sayej and Daniel Finch; Richard Brown and Donna Wilson.
Susan Taylor and Yvonne Moore.

The Event chairs for the 2023 Dinner included; Helene Banks and Michael Cioffi, Karen Choi, Anne E. Delaney, Fiona and Stanley Druckenmiller, Lawanna Kimbro, Yvonne Moore, Martin and Jean Shafiroff, Lola C. West and Donna Wilson, and Richard Brown.

Ana Oliveira and Jean Shafiroff.

“We are privileged to recognize the important work of these honorees who are activating the power of art to create social change,” said Ana L. Oliveira, President of The New York Women’s Foundation. “Through their artistic mediums, they are able to shift our consciousness toward justice and equity, which is essential to bring about the progress that our city so desperately needs.”

The New York Women’s Foundation is a voice for women and gender-expansive people, and a force for change. The Foundation’s mission is to create an equitable and just future for women and families.

It achieves this goal by uniting cross-cultural and community alliances that ignite action. The Foundation invests in women-led, innovative, and bold community-based solutions that promote the economic security, safety, and health of the most underserved women.

The Foundation has distributed more than $114 million in its 36-year existence to over 500 organizations, impacting millions of women and girls across New York City and beyond.

To learn more about The New York Women’s Foundation’s work to transform lives, families, and communities, please visit

Gusts at The New York Women’s Foundation’s annual Radical Generosity Dinner.

Meanwhile, Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine of Serbia hosted the annual Lifeline New York Benefit Dinner with a crowd dedicated to championing philanthropic efforts around the world.

Crown Princess Katherine of Serbia, Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia.

Hundreds attended the dinner at the Explorers Club in New York for cocktails and dinner in addition to supporting this unique benefit that aids children’s hospitals in Serbia.

Notable attendees included: Crown Princess Katherine of Serbia, Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia, David Hryck (President, Lifeline New York), Susan Gutfreund (Vice President, Lifeline New York), Cheri Kaufman (Vice President, Lifeline New York), David W. Boral (Board Member, Lifeline New York), Peter Pizzino (Board Member, Lifeline New York), Joseph T. RaIlo (Board Member, Lifeline New York), Kyle Wool (Board Member, Lifeline New York) and Bojana Jankovic Weatherly (Board Member, Lifeline New York), Soo Wool, Jasmina Boulanger, Melissa Tomlin, Tijana Ibrahimovic, Jean Shafiroff, Jack Hartnett, Rade Savija, Ravishankar Bhooplapur, Jaya Bhooplapur, Richard Jankov, Margret Jankov, Ann Dexter-Jones, Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright, Nadia Martincic, Marc Rosen, Vanessa Gordon, Olga Ferrara, Nadja Sayej, Daniel Finch, Joan Jedell, Gwyneth Giangrande.

L. to r.: Nadia Martincic and Marc Rosen; Vanessa Gordon and Olga Ferrara.
Jaya and Ravishankar Bhooplapur.
L. to r.: Tijana Ibrahimovic and Susan Gutfreund; Jack Hartnett and Rade Savija.
Kyle Wool, Soo Wool, and David Hryck.

The event featured a performance by Gwyneth Giangrande. Auctioneer Jack Hartnett auctioned special items including a painting donated by Fer da Silva in addition to a basketball signed by Denver Nuggets NBA star Nikola Jokic. Guests celebrated the work of the charity with a special cocktail, the “Royal Blossom” served from Casa De Sol Tequila and red wines from BZ Consortium.

Gwyneth Giangrande performs.

Lifeline Humanitarian Organization is an international effort founded 30 years ago in 1993 as an urgent response to the tragic humanitarian situation in the former Yugoslavia, which was afflicted by conflict and sanctions. The goal of Lifeline is to reduce and relieve the suffering of physically and mentally disabled children, orphans, the elderly as well as to improve medical facilities in the country.

HRH Crown Princess Katherine is dedicated to charity and has a driving passion to help those in need in Serbia. None of her work would be possible without help from caring people in the community. Generous donations and fundraising efforts such as the annual dinner provide lifesaving medical equipment and improve the lives of disadvantaged children.

Jasmina Boulanger, Cheri Kaufman, Crown Princess Katherine of Serbia, Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia, and Melissa Tomlin.

Lifeline New York is a 501c(3) registered not-for-profit whose patron is HRH Crown Princess Katherine Foundation and was established in Belgrade in 2001, to improve the health and welfare of all those in need in Serbia regardless of religion or ethnic origin.

For further information concerning Lifeline, please visit

Photographs by (Spoons Across America); Patrick McMullan/PMC (NYWF); Sylvain Gaboury/PMC (Lifeline)

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