When Cadillac contacted me to ask if I would like to attend the 2012 Art for Life event this past weekend, I had no clue what it was all about. All I knew was that they wanted to take me as a guest, it was in the Hamptons, I would be riding in a 2013 high-tech Caddy, and I would have the chance to chat with Russell Simmons. Well, as most people would guess, my reply was “Si”, so I packed my suitcase with all of the pastel-colored clothing I could find in my closet and was off to East Hampton.
In the smooth ride up, I carpooled with some other interesting media folks who were also excited to attend the event. Through our conversations, I found out more about the history of Art for Life and became very intrigued with the fact that it had been around since 1995 and, in that time-frame, has served over 2,300 students by offering a platform which has helped excell their academic careers in the arts. Additionally, as a non-profit organization, its sole focus has been on helping inner city, minority children and each year 40-50 of the children’s artwork is showcased in Arts for Life galleries nationally.
We arrived in the Hamptons the night before the event and regrouped with the remainder of the #GMHampSwag (As we called ourselves) team. At dinner, we engaged in a plethora of intellectually stimulating conversations around the event, our respect for Russell as well as how much we were looking forward to the event. After a brief dinner, we called it a night.
The next day was the big event, hosted in Russell’s East Hampton residence. We arrived to see all attendees sporting their best Fuchsias, Chartreuses, Aqua Blues and “Rush” Orange outfits. The event was full of African-American and Latino taste-makers, celebrities, and Russell’s family (including Rev Run). The event space was extremely dynamic and lively, with a large area showcasing the artwork from the children involved in this year’s program. The goal of the event was to raise $2,000,000 for the non-profit to expand it throughout the nation and after a very fun raffle and auction, that goal was met.
I am truly honored to have been able to experience this event and would encourage everyone to do some research on the program. We have far too many talented Latino children who can have great careers in the arts if they only had an outlet to show them away. Kudos to you, Russell, and everyone else involved.
About Art for Life:
Founded in 1995 by brothers Russell, Danny and Joseph “Rev. Run” Simmons, Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, a 501 (C) 3 organization, is dedicated to providing inner-city youth with significant arts exposure and access to the arts, and to offering exhibition opportunities for underrepresented artists and artists of color. Over the past 16 years, Rush has developed a broad base of friends, collaborators and supporters dedicated to supporting its mission. In addition to the 2,300 students served in it’s education programs, each year Rush exhibits the work of 40 to 50 emerging and community-based artists in its galleries; welcomes over 10,000 gallery visitors; and provides unique opportunities for young people interested in careers in the arts.