Wednesday night was looking rough. Snow had been falling all day. The streets were filled with slush and the wind was howling bitterly. The Mayor warned people to stay indoors. But we’re New Yorkers. And it was ARTWALK NY!
Event cohost Coco Rocha, benefit committee members, contributing artists and other supporters were lighting up Twitter to encourage people to come out. But, honestly, we were worried.
That worry soon turned to relief, then elation. The space at 82 Mercer began quickly to fill with hundreds of dedicated Coalition supporters bidding on the more than 100 beautiful pieces in the silent auction by artists like Pat Steir, Yoko Ono and Miya Ando. They were enjoying specialty cocktails courtesy of Belvedere and Mercy; wine from Brancott Estate Café; and tastings from Café Luxemburg, Indochine, Macao, The National, Michael’s and The Odeon. They were celebrating New York’s resiliency, the Coalition’s compassion and effectiveness, and their own part in making this a city where we all look after each other in both the best and worst of times.
As people settled into their seats for the live auction, Coalition Board Chair Barry Berke spoke eloquently about the relief efforts the Coalition undertook in the immediate wake of Hurricane Sandy. Everyone in the room was moved by a compelling new video graciously made by Coalition supporter Ken Kochey featuring the Grand Central Food Program – which never stopped delivering warm meals to men, women and children on the streets of New York even during the devastating floods, blackouts and closures in huge swaths of the city.
The highlight of the night was when Mary Brosnahan and Art Advisory Board Chair Vincent Fremont introduced this year’s ARTWALK honorees Patrick McMullan and Jack Pierson, whose dedication to the Coalition has been so important to our continued work on behalf of New York’s most vulnerable.
Auctioneer Aileen Agopian then took to the stage to get the bidding started on the stunning works by Louise Fishman, Barnaby Furnas, Adam Fuss, Jenny Holzer, Kim McCarty, Roxy Paine, Ed Ruscha, Cindy Sherman, Wade Guyton and Andy Warhol. The bidding was lively and competitive, reaching a crescendo when Wade Guyton’s Untitled sold for $95,000, helping make this the most successful ARTWALK ever.
The lovely Coco Rocha and ever-charming Patrick McMullan walked through the aisles encouraging guests to purchase Coalition Lots: donations to support the Grand Central Food Program, Camp Homeward Bound and Crisis Intervention. The crowd responded enthusiastically, pledging more than $70,000 to keep these vital programs going.
Following the live auction, the celebratory mood of the night just kept escalating as guests danced to beats thrown down by DJ Donna D’Cruz, while waiting to see if they were lucky enough to have the winning bids on works in the silent auction. Even after the silent auction ended, the party kept going. Because we’re New Yorkers.
We would like to thank our title sponsor FENDI, as well as all of our sponsors and attendees who helped us raise nearly $900,000.
As the city faces its worst homelessness crisis since the Great Depression with more than 47,000 people – including 20,000 children – sleeping in emergency shelter, the effects of Sandy are pushing many thousands more into homelessness and desperation. But the Coalition for the Homeless remains there every step of the way to provide essential services to those who need them most and to ensure that the rights of all New Yorkers are protected.