Last week, during Scope Miami Beach, BOMBAY SAPPHIRE gin, along with Russell and Danny Simmons' Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation announced San Francisco’s Kristine Mays as the Grand Finale Winner of the 5th Annual BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Artisan Series competition.

An annual collaboration between BOMBAY SAPPHIRE and Russell and Danny Simmons’ Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, this year’s nationwide search for the next big name in visual arts involved thousands of online submissions and a series of regional gallery events. After careful consideration by a jury panel including Rush Philanthropic co-founder Danny Simmons, the program’s national curator Andre Guichard, and past Artisan Series Finalist Hebru Brantley, Mays was selected as this year’s Grand Finale winner. For the very first time this year, the winner will receive solo exhibits at SCOPE NYC and the Rush Arts Gallery in March 2015.

Now in its fifth year, the BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Artisan Series has cast its net nationwide in search of the most talented emerging visual artists. As in previous years, thousands of artists were invited to enter the 2014 Artisan Series by creating a piece of inspired, original art. The work of ten artists was then selected from local gallery events across the United States including New York City, Chicago, New Orleans, Detroit, Washington D.C., Atlanta, San Francisco, Miami, Houston and Los Angeles; plus two additional finalists were determined online by popular votes.

Along with Grand Finale Winner Kristine Mays, two other victors were selected among the 12 finalists who had made their way to Miami for the finale: Michael Savoie from Houston and Ti-rock Moore from New Orleans. In celebration of the program’s fifth anniversary, all three of the top artists will now have the unique opportunity to participate in the BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Mural Project where the artists will take over a mural in each of their hometowns next spring showcasing their art. All 12 finalists will have the exclusive opportunity to showcase and sell their work worldwide through, an online art gallery and storefront. UGallery features a curated selection of artwork from a global roster of top mid-career and emerging artists, with sales in more than 45 countries.

An illustrious mix of celebrities, musicians, socialites, fashion designers and art influencers attended the ultra-exclusive finale event, held on Thursday, December 4, at the Soho Beach House. Guests, including: Rosario Dawson (Actress), Emily Ratajkowski (Supermodel/Actress), Nina Agdal (Supermodel), Garrett Neff (Model), Lance Bass (Recording Artist), Chanel Iman (Supermodel), Angela Simmons (Designer), Nick Loeb (Sofia Vergara’s Ex-Fiance) and Rick Yune (Actor) sipped artfully crafted BOMBAY SAPPHIRE cocktails while dancing to music spun by DJ M.O.S. and live performances by American recording artist, singer, songwriter and producer, Miguel. Prior to announcing the top three winning artists, Artisan Series program curator Andre Guichard and Russell Simmons toasted the program’s incredible five year achievement.

Rush Philanthropic co-founder Russell Simmons addressed the finalists, “We have come across remarkable talent over the past 5 years of the Artisan Series program. As we gear up to celebrate Rush’s 20th Anniversary milestone next year, we are excited to continue working with BOMBAY SAPPHIRE on discovering the next generation of visual artists. It’s crucial that we continue to harness the creativity, imagination and careers of all our artists.”

Of her Grand Finale win, Mays said, "Given the intense level of competition in the arts community, it’s hard to believe that my work was chosen among thousands of other worthy entries. Having my work absorbed by thousands of artists and art industry influencers at an international festival as influential as SCOPE Miami is a dream that every artist has. I’m honored to share my vision with the world, and I am looking forward to bringing my work home to San Francisco through the mural project.

BOMBAY SAPPHIRE VP, Brand Managing Director Ned Duggan added, “BOMBAY SAPPHIRE has a longtime commitment to the arts and the creative community. When the brand was launched in the U.S., it quickly gained popularity among the creative class in the Lower East side of New York. Over the years, BOMBAY SAPPHIRE has worked closely with this community and supported emerging artists with competitions like the Artisan Series. Art is an outlet for self-expression, creativity and imagination values which embody the spirit of BOMBAY SAPPHIRE.”

Since its 2010 inception, the Series has received more than 10,000 submissions from inspired artists across the country and has precipitated the sale of artwork totaling more than $200,000 from the finalists’ pool. In 2012, Hebru Brantley sold his finale piece to Jay Z during Scope Miami Beach and was commissioned to create a custom piece for Swizz Beatz in 2013 – a testament to the exceptional caliber of talent being supported by this annual arts competition.

The partnership between BOMBAY SAPPHIRE and Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation has evolved from the BOMBAY SAPPHIRE brand’s longstanding commitment to fostering creativity and supporting artists in a variety of different mediums, including design, film and visual arts. With ongoing presence of BOMBAY SAPPHIRE at Scope and Rush’s mission of providing exhibition opportunities for underrepresented artists, the annual collaboration continues to introduce the world to innovative and rising talent.

Source: PR Newswire

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