Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation (RPAF) raised over $1.1 million at its annual ART FOR LIFE Benefit on July 15th at Fairview Farms in Bridgehampton, NY.

Chuck D and Russell Simmons

Proceeds from ART FOR LIFE benefit the Foundation’s signature arts education and gallery programs, which have directly served tens of thousands of inner-city youth over the past 20 years.

The private gala, themed “Midnight at the Oasis,” was hosted by Soledad O'Brien. The evening honored Former President Consumer Beauty Division, Coty Inc., Esi Eggleston Bracey; rapper, author and producer, Chuck D; Chief Brand Officer, Uber, Bozoma Saint John; former President of Programming, BET Stephen G. Hill, and 2017 Featured Artist, Sanford Biggers for their support of the arts, career achievements, and overall commitment to our communities.

Russell Simmons hosted a unique live auction, which consisted of selling gold and blue balloons for $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 each, to support RUSH programs. The experience raised over $150,000 in just 7 minutes.

Guests dined on an all-vegan menu created by Great Performances Chef De Cuisine Mark Russell, which featured “chicken” bites and waffles; torta panzanella with roasted, smoked and marinated vegetables; herbed polenta diamond and pasta “Bolognese”.

After dinner, guests enjoyed a special performance by multiple-award winning artist and actress Cynthia Erivo, who sang “Let it Be”, “Natural Woman”, “I Won’t Complain” and “I Wanna Dance with Somebody.”

Chuck D and DJ Lord took the stage in a surprise performance closing with an inspirational performance of “Fight The Power”. The Originals closed out the evening as guests, including Ming Lee & Aoki Lee Simmons, Lyor Cohen & Xin Li, Sherry Bronfman, Andre Harrell, Kevin Liles, Jason Binn, Stretch Armstrong, D-Nice, DJ M.O.S., DJ Cassidy, Fab Five Freddy, Chloe Flower, Star Jones, Clark Kent, Rich Medina, Elle Varner, Darrelle Revis, Joseph “Jojo” Simmons, Bevy Smith, Tony Touch, Simone & Dorian Missick, Clarissa & Edgar Bronfman, Harvey Spevak and more danced under the stars.

This year’s benefit was supported by silver sponsors Merrill Lynch, UBER and bronze sponsor Coty Inc.; online auction partner CharityBuzz; Art For Life Art Auction partner Artsy, and many more. This year’s media partners include Hamptons magazine and

This year’s Art For Life features a coinciding Art For Life online auction via Charitybuzz and includes amazing experiences to bid on inlcluding a meet and greet with Katy Perry at an upcoming show, a tour of his creative studio, tickets to Dave Chappelle's upcoming Radio City Music Hall residency and more, the auction will close on July 27, 2017. To support and bid, visit

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