On the evening of Tuesday, May 21st, NYC’s philanthropic community came together to celebrate the children of Culture For One at its Annual Benefit, raising over $320,000 to provide NYC’s children in foster care access to the arts. Performances by youth in care studying dance, music and voice through the Culture For One Arts Scholarship and Creative Workshops Programs were highlights of the event.
Master of Ceremony Darla Miles, WABC-TV news reporter, led the evening honoring Dr. Arthur Pober, President and CEO of The Leo Shull Foundation for the Arts and Executive Director of The Selene Project, with the Culture For One Inspiration Award for Education and Arts Leadership and Manuella Yushuvayeva, a Culture For One program alumna, with the Culture For One Inspiration Award for Academic Achievement.
In recounting her Culture For One experience, Manuella noted the profound impact of the mentorship she received on her academic progress, how scholarships to the International Center of Photography helped her to express her emotions through art, and how the experience of varied cultural excursions taught her to keep an open mind. Having described her life as a 13-year-old thrust into the foster care system to her recent acceptance to the Masters Program in Social Work at USC, she concluded with,“…if it wasn’t for Culture For One, I might not be here to deliver this speech. You are the reason we have these amazing opportunities, and the reason future generations will be impacted.”
Auctioneer Nick Nicholson roused the audience to raise additional funds for Culture For One programs that serve 1,700 NYC children in foster care annually. Programs supported by the lively bidding included cultural excursions, creative arts workshops, arts scholarships, take-home art projects, and one-to-mentoring.
Carolyn Minick Mason served as Honorary Chair. The benefit chairs for the evening included: Patrice Bugelas-Brandt & Bill Brandt, Robin and John Abbott, Jenessa and Brent Banks, Kathleen Cooney Clarke and John Clarke, Lenore & Bob Cohen, Jenine Ferrari and Brian Jaffe, Yolanda Ferrell-Brown, Barry H. Goodman, Janet M. Kagan, Harold Koda and Alan Kornberg, Lizzy and Bryce Markus, Jonelle Procope, Eileen Schein.
Benefit Committee members included Jessica and Todd Aaron, Anstiss Agnew, Bethany C. Brichta, Nancy Candib, Jeri Cohen, Sean Davis and Eric Menkes, Julie Farmer and Scott Lazarus, Georgia and Brady H. Funn, III, Lori and Simon Furie, Linda Genereux and Timur Galen, Penny Grant, MD, Jordan and Erik Hendin, Valerie and Bill Kane, Susan and Jason Kasarsky, Nancy Klein and Michael Brodman, MD, Soo Kwon, MD and Jeffrey Freed, MD, Kate Lear and Jon LaPook, MD, Jonelle Procope, Karen and Kenneth Rosen, Pamela and Steven Sinderbrand, Linn Tanzman and Sanford Rosen, Bill Weisberg.
Culture For One transforms the lives of New York children in foster care through the power of the arts and connections to caring adults. They provide free, high-quality opportunities to inspire their creativity, stimulate their intellect, and introduce them to broader possibilities for their future. Their cultural excursions, creative workshops, arts scholarships, and one-on-one mentoring nurture big dreams and encourage higher education and career planning.
Culture For One is meeting a critical gap in NYC child welfare services. While engagement with the arts and the influence caring adults are proven to promote healthy child development, critical thinking and educational attainment during every developmental stage, due to lack of resources, they are rarely available to children in foster care. These children face daunting challenges as a result of trauma from neglect, abuse, loss of family, and family separation: isolation, developmental delays, poor connections to school, and a lack of equal opportunities.
Culture For One is the only organization in NYC focused solely on ensuring that children in foster care have access to immersive arts and cultural experiences designed to promote their social and emotional development and academic achievement.
On Monday night, June 3, the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) honored Ariane Daguin, the owner, founder, and CEO of D’Artagnan, with the sixth annual Art de Vivre Award. Florence Fabricant, a writer and columnist for The New York Times and a close friend of the honoree, presented Daguin with a Lalique Martinet Vase, depicting swallows in flight, during a cocktail reception at FIAF’s Le Skyroom. An elegant dinner for 120 guests followed at the French restaurant Le Bilboquet.
Daguin expressed her company’s mission to sharing the food of her native Gascony region and its commitment to excellence. She said: “It’s so important to be attached to your roots, to show it, and to be true to it until the end. And that’s what I’ve been trying to do with D’Artagnan. We’ve been growing without compromise, trying to do the right thing all the time and with that, little by little, we work to encourage people to ask where their food comes from and how it was raised.”
In presenting her with the award, Fabricant lauded Daguin’s contributions to American gastronomy: “Ariane understood early in her career that despite the proliferation in the United States of French restaurants and French chefs and even Julia Child and home kitchens, certain components of what the French understand as art de vivre — like a slab of fresh foie gras or a torchon, confit de canard to tuck into the cassoulet or duck rillettes with a glass of Petit Manseng — were still missing from the table of her adopted country.”
FIAF President Marie-Monique Steckel, who opened the award ceremony, commented: “Ariane’s the mother of all good modern French food in NY and the US. She has always been generous and larger than life. When you meet Ariane and she speaks – in French – you have the impression that you’ll following all the sun of south France.”
The Art de Vivre Award reception and dinner raises funds to support FIAF’s mission to teach French, promote Francophone culture, and strengthen the relationship between the French and American peoples.
It was a standing room only crowd at The Clodagh Design Studio in the Gramercy Park/Flatiron district in late May for the second Thorn Tree Project Benefit Art Sale.
45 artists, sculptors and photographers donated original works that were on sale at the reception for the benefit of The Thorn Tree Project, a 501 (C) (3) which educates 1500 children of the semi-nomadic Samburu tribe in Northern Kenya. This includes the funding of 12 pre-schools and three elementary schools and now, putting some of these worthy students through college. The Thorn Tree Project was founded in 2002 by Jane Newman, along with designer Clodagh. In the United States, The Thorn Tree Project is run almost entirely by volunteers.
The artists who generously donated original art for The Thorn Tree Project event included: Andrianna Shamaris, Anne Brown, Aranka Israni, Betsy Imershein, Billi Kid, Clodagh, Cynthia Sparrenberger, Dave A. Johnson, David Link, Dragica Carlin, Elizabeth Brown Eagle, Georganne Heller, Hans Neleman, Jeanne Livingston, Kate Rudin, Keating Sherwin, Lisa Nicoll, Louise Crandell, Lyle Owerko, Maggie Wells, Manuel Santelices, Maria Davis, Michael Curry, Michael Desrosiers, Mike Elsass, Mirjana Circic, Nana Olivas, PJ Cobbs,Peter Heywood, Peter O’Kennedy, Philip Levine, Rachel Newman, Robin Huffman, Robin Rice, Rose Generali, Russell Sharon,Stefan Aldelhof, Terri Gold, Terence Main, Tucker Robbins, Vittorio Zecchin/ Venini, Veronica Lindemann, Walter Us, Zelika Paic and the Daniel Aubry Gallery, Cusp NYC Gallery and the Cheryl Hazan Gallery.
Photographs by Victor Hugo and Regina Fleming (Culture For One); Sylvain Gaboury/PMC (FIAF)