Free Arts NYC Hosts 18th Annual Art Auction Honoring Taryn Simon

On April 26, Free Arts NYC—an organization that provides underserved children and families a unique combination of educational arts and mentoring programs—held its 18th Annual Art Auction in honor of multidisciplinary artist Taryn Simon at the Harry F. Sinclair House in Manhattan, with guests including Maggie Gyllenhaal, Emmy Rossum, Rupert Friend, Sarah Arison, Claire Distenfeld, and Cleo Wade.

The evening began with cocktails, champagne, and hors d’oeuvres from Casa Lever. As guests caught up over glasses of Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut Champagne, the music of Onyx Collective kept everyone’s toes tapping.

Meanwhile, Waris Ahluwalia, Sarah Arison, Claire Distenfeld, and Thelma Golden browsed works of art from Paddle8’s silent auction that were all generously installed by Crozier Fine Arts, while celebrated illustrator Justin Teodoro created portraits of guests like Zoe Buckman sitting in bespoke chairs as a curated playlist by Mia Moretti rolled in the background. Each picture done in Teodoro’s signature style included a statement about the importance of arts education.

For many, a highlight of the evening was getting to directly interact with teenagers from the Free Arts NYC’s programs, whom their support directly benefits. A group of aspiring teenage artists from Free Arts NYC’s Portfolio Mentorship, Creative Career Exploration, and Museum and Studio Visit Program were on hand to walk guests through their debut art exhibition. Their work on display was created over the month of April through a series of special mentorship workshops with honoree Taryn Simon.

While guests clamored to chat with this group of young artists, they were also thrilled to get the chance to speak with some of their other artistic inspirations like Josephine Meckseper, Sam McKinniss, and Cleo Wade, who, in addition to attending the event, showed their support for Free Arts’ mission by generously donating artwork to the silent auction.

After cocktail hour, guests began to make their way upstairs for a dinner presented by Marni. As they sat at tables beautifully decorated with floral arrangements from Aurora Botanica, guests raised their glasses to a Champagne toast honoring the accomplishments of the organization. After enjoying dinner, Andrea Fiuczynski of Sotheby’s got the bidding started on the coveted live auctions. Included in the auction was a unique, never-before-seen oil and etching work by Christopher Wool, which ended up selling for $39,000. The rest of the night was filled with bidding wars on other rare items, with the tune of the Avalon Jazz Band keeping the mood lively and festive.