ArtsConnection hosts 2024 Benefit to support arts in public schools

2024 ArtsConnection Benefit
Linda Janklow and Tiffany Barret at the 2024 ArtsConnection benefit.
Photo Credit: Brian Hatton

On June 5th, the heart of Chelsea, New York City, pulsed with creativity and celebration as ArtsConnection hosted their 2024 Benefit – Art is the Heart of Life Festival at the iconic IAC Building. This vibrant event, which drew nearly 200 passionate advocates of the arts, was masterfully emceed by WABC Anchor and Host of “Here & Now” Sandra Bookman. Through the collective generosity of its attendees, the Benefit raised an astonishing $1 million to support ArtsConnection’s mission of enriching the lives of NYC public school students through comprehensive arts education programs.

For 45 years, ArtsConnection has been a beacon of inspiration, providing vital in-school, afterschool, and community programs to nurture the artistic talents of young New Yorkers. This esteemed nonprofit has reached over 3 million students, partnering with more than 100 cultural institutions, community venues, and schools across the five boroughs. The festival itself was a microcosm of this mission, transformed into an exuberant homage to New York City’s diverse cultural tapestry.

The IAC Building was adorned with a medley of artistic expressions, from a live Statue of Liberty model to a dynamic graffiti wall that captured the city’s gritty elegance. The NY Chinese Cultural Dancers mesmerized the audience with their graceful performance, while live portraits and eclectic food stations offered a sensory feast. Guests savored culinary delights from renowned local favorites, from Waffle and Dinges to Van Leeuwen Ice Cream, each representing the unique flavor of their respective boroughs. The event’s aesthetic magic was brought to life by the visionary event designer and ArtsConnection Board Member, David Monn.

Photo Credit: Brian Hatton

The evening’s honors and presentations underscored the profound impact of arts education and the power of representation. The ArtsConnection 2024 Janklow Award recognized Tiffany Barrett, a dedicated Teaching Artist, and Pascale Pradel, the forward-thinking Principal of P.S. 38K. This accolade was presented by Linda LeRoy Janklow, a Founding Board Member whose vision has been instrumental to the organization’s legacy.

Jazz Pianist and Singer-Songwriter Peter Cincotti was celebrated as an Arts Innovator, his award presented by Board President Debra Harounian Peltz. Puppeteer and MacArthur Fellow Basil Twist, another Arts Innovator, was honored by Rachel Watts, ArtsConnection’s Executive Director. The evening also paid tribute to the Sony Corporation of America, whose longstanding support has been pivotal. Braxton Midyette graciously accepted the honor on behalf of Sony, presented by Debra Harounian Peltz.

In a heartfelt gesture, each honoree and host Sandra Bookman received an original artwork created by an ArtsConnection student, symbolizing the vibrant potential that flourishes when young minds are given the tools to express themselves.

The 2024 Benefit was more than a fundraising event; it was a powerful testament to the transformative power of the arts. By championing diversity, representation, and creativity, ArtsConnection continues to weave a rich cultural fabric that not only enhances the educational landscape but also fortifies the soul of New York City. The festival celebrated not just the organization’s remarkable achievements but also the boundless possibilities that arise when art is at the heart of life.

Photo Credit: Brian Hatton