Celebrating the Creator Community – New York Social Diary

Thursday, April 13, 2023. Just like the weatherman predicted, yesterday in New York was much warmer — up to 85 degrees in some places. In my part of  town by the river it was up to 80 degrees, and the trees which has been barely sprouting buds suddenly turned the buds bigger and green. It all felt very good in many ways. Meanwhile, like the season, more events have been sprouting — this page recording those that affect the youth and their parties, their care, and  amazingly and wonderfully their talent — especially of one remarkable artist.
Peter Cottontail was happily hopping down the red stairs of Doubles along with 200 children and their parents for the annual PETER COTTONTAIL EASTER EGG HUNT. It was all entertainment with bunny ears, face painting, balloon artists and non-stop disco dancing.
During Dinner the club’s director, Wendy Carduner, gave pastel baskets to each child as they anxiously awaited the Easter Egg. Among the parents watching and photographing their 2- to 7-year-old children collecting eggs were: Alison Weaver, Elizabeth Darth, Melanie McLennan, Lauren Muzinich, Catherine Boulud, Kate Earls, Betsy Corbin, Brook and Oliver Kennan, Cat Dines, Whitney Teach, Meghan Klopp, Karl and Noriko Rozak, Susan Gutfreund, Dustee Jenkins and many, many more.

Then on the evening of April 3rd, the nation’s design industry elite gathered at the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club for its annual President’s Dinner to honor The Shade Store and the late design legend Suzanne Rheinstein. Attendees at this year’s event helped raise more than $1.1 million to fund essential afterschool programs throughout the Bronx.
Held at New York’s Cipriani 42nd Street, the black-tie event was chaired by celebrated designers Jamie Drake and Corey Damen Jenkins. The evening was vice-chaired by more acclaimed designers Sasha Bikoff, Alessandra Branca, Jesse Carrier, Mara Miller, Alexa Hampton, Young Huh, and Andrew Torrey.
Nate Berkus presented Zach Gibbs, CEO of The Shade Store, with the company’s award. Mr. Gibbs spoke about the large-scale partnership with the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club which has been in place since 2018, calling it “incredibly rewarding on so many levels.”
Later in the evening, Bunny Williams made a moving tribute to the late Suzanne Rheinstein. Williams spoke about her long and cherished friendship with Rheinstein, and the tradition of philanthropy that was so important to Rheinstein, ending with a toast that brought the entire crowd of more than 700 guests to their feet.
The big favorite of the night  for everyone was the song and dance performances by members of the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club’s Performing Arts Program. 
The Dinner raises funds to provide more than 10,000 young people — between the ages of 6 and 18 at nine locations throughout the Bronx — with essential after-school and enrichment programs aimed to help them recognize their potential for growth and success.
Today, the club is one of the most prominent and responsive youth development agencies in New York City and a “flagship” of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
Since the organization was established over 100 years ago, they have grown into a recognized leader among the 4,500 Boys & Girls Clubs nationally.

Among the guests: Dinner Chair James Druckman, Board of Trustees President Jamie Drake, Dinner Chair Corey Damen Jenkins, Dinner Chair; Sasha Bikoff, Vice-Chair Jesse Carrier, Dinner Vice-Chairs, Zach Gibbs, Nate Berkus, Hannah Bronfman, Brendan Fallis, Sherry Bronfman, Stacey Bronfman, Chad Stark, Courtney Novogratz, Ellen Kravet, Jeremiah Brent, Margaret Russell, Mark Sikes, Martyn Lawrence Bullard, Mary McDonald, Miles Redd, Sarah Wetenhall, Sheila Bridges, Thomas Kliegerman, Thomas O’Brien, Vicente Wolf, and Victoria Hagan.
Then the following day, the NYU Tisch School of the Arts hosted its 2023 Gala honoring conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas and artist, author and Department Chair Deborah Willis.
More than 500 alumni, donors and supporters gathered at Ziegfeld Ballroom for the event which featured several performances by current Tisch students in tribute to the two honorees. In attendance were NYU Tisch Dean Allyson Green, NYU President Andrew Hamilton and Academy Award winning director Martin Scorsese. 
“It is surreal knowing all of the distinguished artists that have been celebrated by the Tisch gala,” said Hank Willis Thomas. “My life has definitely been a conspiracy of good people. I’ve had this great fortune of being stewarded, being cared for and being nurtured. To be acknowledged for the work we’ve done has been humbling.”
“I grew up understanding what it meant to represent. This is a moment of representing,” said Deborah Willis. “It’s such an honor to be honored by my peers, and I want to say thank you to Dean Green and President Hamilton for this recognition.”
Among those present to honor actor Delroy Lindo, former Commissioner of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Tom Finkelpearl, and Professor at Tisch’s Department of Imaging and Photography Lorie Novak.
The evening’s entertainment included performances by alumni from the Department of Drama’s New Studio on Broadway written by students from the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing program; the Department of Dance; the c-Live Band from the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music; and the N’Harmonics, Tisch’s premier a cappella group.
The evening showcased the depth and breadth of NYU Tisch’s offerings, including programs in acting, dance, cinema studies, design for stage and film, dramatic writing, film and television, game design, interactive telecommunications, moving image archiving and preservation, musical theatre writing, performance studies, photography, public policy and recorded music.
Founded in 1965, the Tisch School of the Arts is one of the leading arts schools in the country. It draws on the vast artistic and cultural resources of New York City and New York University to create an extraordinary training ground for artists, scholars and innovators.
Today, students learn their craft in a spirited, risk-taking environment that combines the professional training of a conservatory with the liberal arts education of a premier global university with campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, Shanghai and 11 academic centers around the world.
Thousands of Tisch alumni have gone on to enjoy fulfilling careers in the arts, including renowned artists such as Pulitzer Prize winners Annie Baker (also a MacArthur Fellow), Tony Kushner (also a Tony Award winner and Academy Award nominee), Doug Wright, Michael R. Jackson (also a Tony Award winner) and Chang Lee; Academy Award winners Chloe Zhao, Mahershala Ali, Martin Scorsese, Oliver Stone, Spike Lee, Marcia Gay Harden and Mark Bridges; Tony Award winners Ali Stroker, Nina Arianda, Beowulf Boritt, Steve Kazee, George C. Wolfe, Michael Mayer, Idina Menzel, Stephen Spinella, Frank Wood and Paul Tazewell; Emmy Award winners Sterling K. Brown, Billy Crystal, Vince Gilligan, Donald Glover (also a Grammy Award winner as Childish Gambino), Camryn Manheim and Debra Messing; Golden Globe winners Rachel Brosnahan, Rachel Bloom and Gina Rodriguez; acclaimed filmmakers Amy Heckerling and Colin Trevorrow; Grammy Award winners Lady Gaga (also an Academy Award winner), Amber Gray, Denzel Baptiste and David Biral; Grammy Award nominees Maggie Rogers and Elle Varner; entrepreneur Dennis Crowley; MacArthur Fellowship recipients Kyle Abraham, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (also a Pulitzer Prize finalist), Camille Utterback and Mimi Lien; Screen Actors Guild Award winner and Academy Award nominee Stephanie Hsu; visual artist Leo Villareal; actors Susan Kelechi Watson, Daniel Dae Kim, Danai Gurira and Corey Stoll; and photographer Tyler Mitchell.
For more than 50 years, the NYU Tisch School of the Arts has drawn on the vast artistic and cultural resources of New York City and New York University to create an extraordinary training ground for the individual artist and scholar of the arts. Today, students learn their craft in a spirited, risk-taking environment that combines the professional training of a conservatory with the liberal arts education of a premier global university with campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, Shanghai and 11 academic centers around the world. Learn more at  www.tisch.nyu.edu.
Wunderkind and art prodigy Mikail Akar is making waves in the art world at the tender age of just 10 years old. The talented creator already is a bona fide painter with works found worldwide and showcasing in numerous exhibitions around the globe. His colorful work appeals to lovers of contemporary art as the prodigy draws his inspiration from famed contemporary artists including Jackson Pollock, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Gerhard Richter.
His second New York exhibition “UNBELIEVABLE” is on public display now at the Modus10 – Rolf Benz Flagship Store in SoHo until May 31st. The exhibit comprises 23 works on canvas and paper of various sizes and in the price range of $8,000 – $16,000.
Mikail’s art was included as part of the ArtExpo New York Fine Art Fair 2023 at Pier 36 and in recent days Mikail held a live painting session held at dawn at the Empire State Building with graffiti artist Luca.
Mikail currently also has an exhibition at the Grand Hotel Schloss Bensberg, Germany running until May 2023 and in another project Mikail recently custom painted the hood of a $450,000 Rolls-Royce motorcar.
A reception to celebrate the opening was held at Modus10  and it attracted luminaries from the arts and New York social scene. Among those in attendance were the artist with his parents Kerem and Elvan Akar, and sister Mina Akar, Francis Tan, Vincent Tam, Carmen D’Alessio, Tina Radziwell, George Wayne, Montgomery Frazier, Minnie Osmena, 0H10 M1KE, Cagri Kanver, Marsin Mogielski, Jose Castelo Branco, Sharif Sinclair, Neil Saltzman, Brigitte Segura, and Nadja Sayej.
Mikhail was born in 2012 in Cologne. His career began by chance — for his fourth birthday his parents gave him a small canvas and finger paints simply to give him an alternative gift to usual toys he already had. Mikail began his prolific artistic journey at that exact moment, and to this day he paints at his Studio in Cologne, Germany.
His talents were seen in a first painting and his parents fully encouraged him to continue his work. Watching online video tutorials, Mikail learned certain painting techniques and soon the little artist began to paint nonstop. His introduction into the art world launched shortly after, with adult artists wanting to preview his work more and more.
He has already held several exhibitions in cities across Germany including Cologne, Dusseldorf, Berlin, Hamburg and Munich, where international art collectors soon became aware of the young artist. This led to other shows in Vienna, Zurich, Istanbul, and New York City.
As a visual artist, Mikail does not want to limit himself to canvases. He recently painted a wreckage part of the Airbus 310, which was exhibited in Cologne/Bonn Airport, and will be exhibited at other international airports in the future.
The young artist also has a philanthropic side and has gained notable attention with his work being auctioned for good causes such as the “Art Helps to Give” campaign.
Other projects which Mikail is currently working on include painting a series of three classic cars which will be going on a roadshow in the near future. In addition, he is working to create a 165 ft. (50 meter) long canvas painting for a secret project.
Despite his adventures as a creative artist, Mikail has remained a normal child, going to school in Cologne. And most importantly, he’s got the full support of his parents and two siblings.
For more information on Mikail, click here.
Photographs by Jill Nelson/AnnieWatt.com (Peter Cottontail); Madison Voelkel/BFA.com (Kips Bay); Sean Zanni for PMC/Getty Images (Mikail Akar); Sam Hollenshead (NYU)


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