Blog: Doing Art Together 29th Annual Benefit
Overlooking Central Park on an unusually cold March night, the 29th Annual “Doing Art Together” benefit was truly a night to behold. More 300 guests made their way to the decked out 36th floor of the Upper West Side’s Mandarin Oriental hotel, creating the nonprofit organization’s biggest turnout yet.
“Doing Art Together” is a program that is dedicated to providing art education to underprivileged communities throughout New York City. Their programs, which use real artists as teachers, can be experienced in schools across the five boroughs, in 85 different zip codes and by approximately 2,500 students. DAT’s philosophy is “that the greatest value to be gained from doing art is often the experience itself, internalized for future reference.” And the results of that experience were fully on display on Monday night.
The somewhat steep ticket prices and silent auction for the benefit bring in a great deal of revenue for DAT as the benefit accounts for roughly one-third of their annual budget. Some of the auction highlights included tickets to Broadway’s “The Book of Mormon,” a “Vegas Vacation Getaway,” and a variety of autographed sports memorabilia, all of which were up for bid using tablets located on each table. The food, donated from local restaurants, was prepared right in front of the guests and included delicious appetizers such as “Pork Belly Sliders” from Barcade New York and “Montauk Oysters” courtesy of Bo’s Kitchen.
The event was elegant and tasteful, but within the first few minutes of arriving, it became clear that it was about much more than what was in plain sight. A lucky group of students from the Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School, who were beyond excited to be there, spread their contagious enthusiasm by proudly standing by their displayed artwork. But the two major speakers, New York’s First Lady Chirlane McCray and New York City legend Darryl “DMC” McDaniels stole the show.
Darryl “DMC” McDaniels is known the world over as one of the original founders of hip-hop, but after hearing him speak, he should also be known as a great motivational speaker. He reflected upon his ability to be able to express his passions creatively in school growing up, whether it was through doodling in his textbooks or writing down lyrics in his notebooks. This creative license early on enabled him to not only become a rapper with Run DMC, but also to grow into a true artist and one who inspires others to reach for their dreams. McDaniels inspired every single person in attendance and made them remember that everyone is capable of making change in the world through creativity. To further prove his dedication, he donated 15 signed copies of his comics from his comic book company “Darryl Makes Comics” to the first 15 people who donated to DAT.
After the speeches and auction ended, the night turned from classic jazz to a DJ dance party as everyone who gave back was able to let loose and have a good time. The 29th annual “Doing Art Together” benefit is proof that giving back doesn’t just feel good, but it’s also a whole lot of fun.
The students from Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School have been given the opportunity to pursue art because of the possibilities offered by “Doing Art Together”. Watching them throughout the night, it was easy to imagine them one day inspiring a room full of people just like “DMC” did at the 29th Annual DAT benefit. If not, because of all the contributions of the people at the event, at least they were given a chance.