It’s always exciting to see the industry’s finest loosen up at chashama’s annual gala, commingling and interacting with some of New York’s most outrageous artists and performers — where else can you see Douglas Durst don a technicolor dream jacket? – to raise money to provide work and living space for the city’s artistic community.
Last night, chashama, which partners with commercial landlords to convert underutilized space to provide to artists, celebrated its 20th anniversary by transforming the former Conde Nast office space and Frank Gehry-designed dining hall into a series of studio spaces curating performances, visual art and installations which highlighted 30 of the group’s supported artists. Some of the most flamboyant attractions included: Delirious Hair Designs which sculpted guests’ hair into elaborate works of art; a spontaneous wedding ceremony performed by “Jester of the Peace”; a portable kissing booth; a room in which attendees can tell corny jokes to an audience of creepy dolls and an area where guests can disguise themselves as cats and crawl around. Trippy!
Fun and games aside, the event co-chaired by CBRE’s Darcy Stacom honoring patrons of the arts, Barbara and Donald Tober — Chairman Emerita of the Museum and Art and Design and Chairman of Sugar Foods Corporation, respectively — had the far more serious goal of raising $350,000. Anita Durst, chashama’s founder, happily reported the gala pulled in over $375,000.
Because there are currently more than 300 artists on the waiting list, Durst says her group is now actively targeting space, having evolved from “a passive to an active space recipient by initiating real estate partnerships and securing more space to meet artist demand.” Actively going out to look for space, Durst added, “will allow us to have as long of a waiting list for artists as there is for landowners.”