Photo Credit: Wire Images
ART FOR LIFE MIAMI BEACH is looking to be a yearly staple in Miami’s string of cultural events. Thanks to Russell Simmons and Danny Simmons (aka Rev Run), their Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation put together a great event for 2009 that lived up to the bar set by the 2008 showing of the annual gala. Kim Kardashian hosted, while many familiar faces passed by to show their support for the foundation’s efforts. Below you’ll find the official post-event press release, along with a couple images courtesy of Wire Images.
Miami Beach – Last week, Kim Kardashian hosted Russell Simmons’, Danny Simmons’ and Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundationâ€˜s second Annual ART FOR LIFE MIAMI BEACH gala on Saturday, March 14th at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. The evening of glamour and giving was held in celebration of the creative energy of New York and South Florida youth and honored Anheuser-Busch, Inc., the Rubell Family Collection and Chairman of Fontainebleau Resorts, Jeffrey Soffer, for their efforts improving the lives of others and their support of youth arts education. A surprised Alonzo Mourning was also given a congratulatory tribute on the retirement of his Miami Heat Jersey and was recognized for his positive impact on the lives of children and his community through his philanthropic endeavors of Alonzo Mourning Charities. A visibly moved Mourning said he was â€œhumbled, honored and (has) always been inspired by Russell Simmons who has never relented in his efforts to give back to the community. â€œ
Bringing back the classic elegance of old Hollywood, Bruce Sutka of Sutka Productions International transformed the Fontaine Ballroom into a supper club in chic shades of silver, black and white, reminiscent of the historic Fontainebleau’s 1960’s heyday. Tables were adorned with elaborate centerpieces including chandeliers, oversized lamps, and mini grand pianos. A bevy of celebrities were in attendance for the gala including New Orleans Saint Reggie Bush, Miami Dolphin Brandon Landon, actress Vivica Fox, George Hamilton, former Mexican President Vicente Fox and his wife Marta, socialite Sonia â€œTitaâ€ Puopolo, Miss Africa USA 2008-2009 Nyasha Zimucha and legendary soul singer Betty Wright. Also in attendance were event chairs Allison and Chip Brady, Tybie Etoy Dotson, Fred Kleisner, Shareef Malnik, Tracy Mourning, Jennifer Rubell and Michelle Rubell. Other notable guests include Don and Mera Rubell who accepted on behalf of the Rubell Family Collection, and co-founder of Miami City Ballet Toby Lerner-Ansin.
Patrick Tully of TSports & Entertainment served as the night’s auctioneer helping to raise $60K during the live auction. Legendary DJ Irie manned the turntables, and brought the crowd to its feet for a few end-of-night two steps across the dance floor.
“This year was a very difficult one and we know that many of our foundation’s supporters have been impacted by the economic crisis we are all facing. We are especially grateful that there are those who still make it a priority to help programs like ours,” says Russell Simmons, “I hope that others will continue to support our cause by bidding on items in our Charity Buzz auction. The more we raise the more we have to give back to the worthy programs we support.” The auction on Charity Buzz http://www.charitybuzz.com will be open until March 24th and includes fabulous items like VIP passes to Beyonce’s upcoming tour; a meet and greet with Kanye West; portraits of Will Smith and Morgan Freeman by celebrated movie industry photographer Robert G. Zuckerman. The online auction also features several luxury packages including a trip to Four Seasons Great Exuma, a roundtrip seaplane excursion for eight courtesy of V1 Jets, and Kim Kardashian’s dress she wore when she met Prince Albert of Monaco.
A percentage of net proceeds for ART FOR LIFE MIAMI BEACH will go back into the Miami Dade County community via arts program grants which serve disadvantaged youth. This year’s Featured Youth beneficiaries include: Arts for Learning, Miami Light Project and EnFAMILIA. Other local organizations who will receive grants this year include, Florida Film Institute, Thomas Armour Youth Ballet, Honey Shine Mentoring Program, Nat King Cole Generation Hope, PlayGround Theatre, Project Witness, Roxy Theatre Group and Theatre Institute of South Florida. The ART FOR LIFE weekend kicked off its festivities on Friday March, 13th with an afternoon Youth Arts Day Celebration Group Exhibit at Design and Architecture Senior High School (DASH) in Miami Design District. Young artists from all our youth beneficiaries were on hand to showcase their own art work, enjoy a pizza party and hear inspirational messages from Russell Simmons and Miss Africa USA, Nyasha Zimucha. Following the Youth Arts Day Celebration was a VIP cocktail reception held at Mondrian Hotel. The cocktail reception was underwritten by Art For Life Event Chair Fred Kleisner, CEO of Morgan’s Hotel Group. The weekend ended Sunday night March 15th at The Forge where Simmons hosted Soul Kitchen Sundays. Guests included former NFL player Warren Sapp and actress Queen Latifah. ART FOR LIFE EVENT CHAIR and Forge Owner Shareef Malnik encouraged guests to give to Rush Philanthropic. The organization also benefited from a portion of the evening’s door proceeds.