Rush Philanthropic’s 12th Annual ART FOR LIFE East Hampton Benefit, “The Zen of Giving,” took place this year on Saturday, July 30th at Russell Simmons’ East Hampton Estate and raised a record-breaking $1.7 million to date! With ‘sun-kissed saffron serving as the décor color scheme, the evening celebrated the creative energy of New York City youth and honored exemplary individuals in the community for their career achievements and philanthropic works.

The evening honored recording artist Mary J. Blige, actor/filmmaker Edward Norton, OBE Founder & Chief Creative Officer Jimmy Choo Tamara Mellon, President of JPMorgan Chase Foundation Kimberly B. Davis and world renowned nutritionist and author Oz Garcia. CNN’s Star Jones acted as Rush Kids Auctioneer, raising over $250,000. The Art for Life 2011 Event Chairs included LaLa Anthony, Marc J. Leder, Esther Silver-Parker, Uma Thurman, Patricia Velasquez and honorary chairs Kimora Lee Simmons & Djimon Hounsou and Gwyneth Paltrow.

This year’s event was hosted by Soledad O’Brien and featured a special performance by Grammy award-winning artist Jennifer Hudson.  She brought the house down with “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” from the motion pictureDream Girls.  We also featured the brilliant contemporary artist Kara Walker who created a signature piece of art for ART FOR LIFE East Hampton 2011.

Guests of the evening included; Russell Simmons, Kimora Lee Simmons & Djimon Hounsou,  Rev Run & Justine Simmons, Vanessa & Angela Simmons, Danny Simmons, Jennifer Hudson, Edward Norton, Mary J. Blige, Soledad O’Brien, Star Jones, Dr. Mehmet & Lisa Oz, Tamara Mellon, Oz. Garcia, Jennifer Esposito, Lisa Rinna, Melissa George, Michelle Rodriguez, Gayle King, Donna Karan, Taraji P. Henson, Jessica White Angela Lindvall, Katie Ford, Ingrid Sischy, Andre Harrell, Brett Ratner, Flaviana Matata, Sandy Brant, Patricia Velasquez, Julie Henderson, LA Reid, and Dhani Jones.

Proceeds from the annual ART FOR LIFE East Hampton gala benefit the Foundation’s signature arts education and gallery programs, which directly serve 2,300 students each year. Founded in 1995 by brothers Russell, Danny and Joseph “Rev. Run” Simmons, Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation is dedicated to providing inner-city youth with significant exposure and access to the arts, as well as providing exhibition opportunities to under-represented artists and artists of color.

Russell, Ming, Kimora, Kenzo, Aoki, and Djimon

Kimora and Mary J. Blige

Jessica White

Kevin Liles and Star Jones

The Target Lounge

Pamela K and Taraji Henson in front of Bombay Sapphire Bar

Host Soledad O’Brien

Mary speaking on receiving award

Edward Norton receiving award

Oz Garcia speaking on receiving award

Tamara Mellon receiving award

Kimberly Davis receiving award

Honorees join with Soledad, Tangie Murray (Executive Director), Danny Simmons and Russell

Miri Ben-Ari, Violinist

Lala Vasquez

Rev Run and Justine Simmons

Jennifer Hudson performing live

Dr. Oz, Wife, Gayle King and Russell

Jennifer Hudson and Danny Simmons

City Year helps wrap up the night with Target designed Gift Bags

Donors can give $10 to Rush Philanthropic by texting the short code “RUSH” to “50555” from their mobile phones. Charges will appear on their wireless bill, or be deducted from their prepaid balance.*

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