On the third Thursday evening of November, Fountain Gallery hosted 500 guests at Mad About Art, the Gallery’s Annual Art Auction and Benefit. Held at Cedar Lake in Manhattan’s Chelsea gallery district, this year’s event was “A Black and White Affair” in theme and décor. The guests were attired in the same striking palette, which set off to dramatic effect the dazzling array of 100 multi-hued artworks offered at auction by the artists of Fountain Gallery, the premier venue in New York City representing artists living with mental illness. Art sales topped those of any previous Fountain Gallery event.
Welcoming remarks by Fountain Gallery Director Jason Bowman were followed by presentation of the Esther Montanez Award, established in memory of Fountain Gallery’s founding director. This year’s recipients were: Bart McDade – Vice President, Director of Operations, NY, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank; and Faith Ringgold – artist, author and activist.
Ms. Ringgold, known for her painted story quilts and the much-honored children’s book Tar Beach, contributed one of her original pieces to the auction. Also donating works for auction were William Wegman, a past Fountain Gallery honoree perhaps best known for pieces spotlighting his soulful Weimaraner dogs; MJ Levy Dickson, who expresses in a variety of mediums the unity she finds in the natural world; and Federico Castelluccio, a renowned visual artist and actor recognized by countless television viewers for his role as Furio Giunta in the HBO series “The Sopranos.”
Seven-time Grammy Award nominee Suzanne Vega was the special musical guest. She held her audience rapt with voice and guitar, performing songs ranging from familiar to yet-to-be- released. (Ms. Vega’s eighth album, her first studio recording of new material in seven years, is scheduled for release in February.)
The electronic art auction, curated by Sasha Nicholas, hummed along throughout the evening. Guests moved about the elegant and vast space, festooned with large artworks hung high and smaller- scale pieces presented in eye-level gallery style. While quaffing cocktails and sampling delicacies (including postprandial black-and- white cookies and cupcakes),
guests were assisted in placing bids by a band of “Bidding Valets” identified by the illuminated hats they donned for the occasion. ! The dedicated Chairs whose efforts were key to the evening’s success were: John P. Casaly, Rick Froio, Carmel and Brett Fromson, Dario Gristina, Leslie Harwood, Rich Hiler, Louis J. Mantia, Bonnie and Frank Pratt, Jerry Schumm, and Gabriel Stefania. Ms. Harwood and Messrs. Froio, Gristina and Schumm are past Fountain Gallery honorees.
Attendees included: John Ambrosini, Jason Bowman and Chris Adasiewicz, Federico Castelluccio and Yvonne Maria Schaefer, Harriet and Richard Demato, Peter DiCapua, Nancy Farrell, Elizabeth Fiore, Lorna Hyde Graev, Jeremy Hu, Guinevere Johnson and Jason Rohlf, Emmanuel Lemakis, Frank Maresca, Todd Masters, Bentley Meeker, Amanda Meigher, Sasha Nicholas and Steven Caputo, Pauline Nicholls and Kenn Dudek, Mary Pontillo, Ann and John Pyne, Elizabeth Pyne, Betsy Seidman, Sue Stoffel, and Ronnie Wiener.
Founded by parent organization Fountain House in 2000 as a not-for-profit exhibition space for artists living and working with mental illness, Fountain Gallery sells original artworks and collaborates with a wide network of artists, curators and cultural institutions. Embracing artists who are emerging or established, trained or self-taught, Fountain Gallery cultivates artistic growth and makes a vital contribution to the New York arts community.
Fountain Gallery artist Bernard Stote
For more information about Fountain Gallery, please visit: www.fountaingallerynyc.com. !