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January 10th, 2006

Kimora Lee & Russell Simmons Host The Art For Life Party

by SoHo Journal Staff

The sixth annual Art for Life East Hampton benefit gala, held at the home of Russell and Kimora Lee Simmons on Saturday, July 30, raised more than $1.3 million to support the creative expression of underserved youth in New York City.

The tented garden party is Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation’s key annual fundraising effort, attended annually by a sold-out audience of more than 700 leaders in the entertainment, arts, business, and philanthropic communities. Each year, Rush Philanthropic provides direct funding to more than 70 youth arts organizations in New York City.

Alicia Keys was honored for her work to bring HIV and AIDs treatments to underserved people in Africa. Artistic legend Ruby Dee was celebrated with a special tribute to her and Ossie Davis’ lifelong artistic and social justice achievements. John Demsey, Global President of M.A.C. Cosmetics and Chairman of the M.A.C. AIDS Fund was honored for his creative advocacy and philanthropy in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and Thomas F. Schutte, President of Pratt Institute was feted for his exemplary dedication to the arts, education, and community development.

Stars including Usher, Sean Combs, Vivica Fox, Jon Bon Jovi, T-Boz of TLC, Cynthia Nixon, Ellen Barkin, Mos Def and auctioneer Star Jones Reynolds with husband Al Reynolds attended the gala. MTV’s “Run’s House” crew taped a segment with foundation co-founder Joey “Rev. Run” Simmons, his wife Justine and their five children for the new reality show slated as the replacement for The Osbornes.

The event featured the latest in light emitting diode technology, courtesy of Lighthouse Technologies, one of the world’s biggest makers of large LED displays. Innovative emerging artist Teddy Lo created a state-of-the-art LED light experience to capture a certain energy that helps reveal the true beauty of LED screens and their ability to embody perception and motion.

Funds raised through Art for Life East Hampton provide support for many projects throughout the year dedicated to reaching out to New York City youth through the arts. This year’s three Alliance Groups selected to benefit were Brooklyn Steppers Marching Band, The Brotherhood/Sister Sol, and The Ghetto Film School.

Funds will also provide vital support for Rush Kids’ Visual Arts Mentorship Program and the Rush Arts Gallery and Resource Center’s exhibitions and programs focused on the works of emerging artists of color and artists of the African Diaspora. Rush Kids provides youth in Chelsea, Manhattan and Clinton Hill, Brooklyn with an intensive and sustained experience in art making and exhibition preparation. It is structured to provide instruction in visual and design arts. Rush Arts Gallery is a vital resource for New York’s community of contemporary artists of color, through programs curated and organized by Rush, as well as through the Foundation’s commitment to donate its space for smaller grass roots performances groups in need of a venue for their work. www.rushphilanthropic.org

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