Scene Last Night: Jeff Koons, Aby Rosen, Caroline Kennedy

Tap for Slideshow
Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Caroline Kennedy and Jeff Koons with the art he received as an honoree.

Close
Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Caroline Kennedy and Jeff Koons with the art he received as an honoree. Close

Caroline Kennedy and Jeff Koons with the art he received as an honoree.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Jessica Hart, a model, in red, "a perfect color for art," she said. Close

Jessica Hart, a model, in red, "a perfect color for art," she said.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Gala decor by Van Wyck & Van Wyck employed student art. On the tables were dishes of crayons and paper tablecloths for guests to make art with during dinner. Close

Gala decor by Van Wyck & Van Wyck employed student art. On the tables were dishes of crayons and paper tablecloths... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Darren Walker of the Ford Foundation, Agnes Gund, founder of Studio in a School, and Vito Schnabel, a curator and art dealer. Gund and Schnabel were co-chairman of the gala. Close

Darren Walker of the Ford Foundation, Agnes Gund, founder of Studio in a School, and Vito Schnabel, a curator and art... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Amanda Taylor, who runs the yoga studio Yoga Gives in Southampton, Tania Higgins and Mary Snow. Close

Amanda Taylor, who runs the yoga studio Yoga Gives in Southampton, Tania Higgins and Mary Snow.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Will McDonough, chairman of Word Above the Street, an arts organization; Bettina Bryant, director of curatorial affairs of Word Above the Street, which is producing a public-art project placing art on the city's water tanks; David Meitus, who owns an interior design showroom, and Angela Westwater of the gallery Sperone Westwater. Close

Will McDonough, chairman of Word Above the Street, an arts organization; Bettina Bryant, director of curatorial... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Mary-Kate Olsen, center. Close

Mary-Kate Olsen, center.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Joel Grey, the event's master of ceremonies, kicked things off with a smidgeon of "Cabaret." Close

Joel Grey, the event's master of ceremonies, kicked things off with a smidgeon of "Cabaret."

Tree Williams, an abstract painter, is a teaching artist for Studio in a School's long-term program. She teaches four classes a day, Monday through Thursday, reaching 300 children a week. "I love those kids," Williams said. "It's a little business, a little play, a little learning. We try to have a good time." Close

Tree Williams, an abstract painter, is a teaching artist for Studio in a School's long-term program. She teaches four... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Jeff Koons and Dorothy Lichtenstein. Close

Jeff Koons and Dorothy Lichtenstein.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Aby Rosen, real estate developer, and Larry Gagosian, art dealer. Close

Aby Rosen, real estate developer, and Larry Gagosian, art dealer.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Samantha Boardman Rosen, a psychiatrist and a co-chairman of the gala, with Studio in a School CEO and president Tom Cahill. Close

Samantha Boardman Rosen, a psychiatrist and a co-chairman of the gala, with Studio in a School CEO and president Tom Cahill.

“This color is the perfect color for art,” said Jessica Hart of her bright-red gown, with her date, Stavros Niarchos, nearby. “On any other night, I’d stand out like a sore thumb. Tonight it fits right in.”

Hart was standing in a tent on the Seagram Plaza last night for the 35th anniversary gala of Studio in a School, a nonprofit that brings working artists to teach in New York City public- school classrooms. It was founded by collector Agnes Gund during the fiscal crisis of the mid-1970s when funding for art education was cut.

Hanging from the transparent tent roof -- allowing views of dodged rain drops -- were ribbons of cloth painted red, green and blue. The walls were decorated with artwork by students. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn especially noted a portrait of a penguin in a party hat.

Actor Joel Grey opened the program with a rendition of “Willkommen” from “Cabaret” slightly altered for the occasion. “Here life is beautiful, the girls are beautiful. Aggie Gund is beautiful, Martha Stewart is beautiful, even the orchestra is beautiful.” It ended with a high-pitched “Bon appetit.”

Over a “TV Dinner” of chicken pot pie from one of Danny Meyer’s kitchens, designer Mary-Kate Olsen sat at one end of a long banquet table with company including designer Shoshanna Lonstein Gruss, wife of Josh Gruss of Gruss & Co., Tania Higgins, wife of Brian Higgins, of King Street Capital Management LP, and Mary Snow, wife of Ian Snow, of Snow Phipps Group LLC.

Tom Cahill

From the stage came accolades for Studio in a School’s president and chief executive officer, Tom Cahill, who has led the operation since 1979, helping it reach more than 750,000 children. In appreciation, Gund gave the honoree a work by Philip Guston.

Caroline Kennedy, an honorary director of the board of the Fund for Public Schools, also came to the stage. “The arts is what makes kids want to come to school,” Kennedy said. “It helps them chart their own path.”

Lastly Jeff Koons, the artist honoree of the event, talked about his art education. He recalled “when I was three, starting to be educated in how to put together Popsicle sticks.” For him art became a “vehicle to externalize information, information that’s a different form of abstraction than verbal language.”

The last speaker was psychiatrist Samantha Boardman Rosen, whose husband, developer Aby Rosen, had lent the Seagram Plaza for the event.

Camel Challenge

Art teaches problem solving, Boardman Rosen said. “When you draw a turtle and it starts to look like a camel, what do you do?” Art also teaches grit. “And the only way you develop grit is by getting your hands dirty, and that requires art supplies.”

As waiters brought out all the ingredients for make-your- own sundaes, guests mingled around giant coils of green and copper foil. Art dealers Larry Gagosian and Vito Schnabel huddled, while collector Jo Carole Lauder planted a kiss on sculptor Joel Shapiro.

The sundae dishes at the tables revealed circular placemats featuring drawings of girls and boys, a tiger, a turkey and an apple, made in classrooms at such schools as PS 200 in Manhattan, PS 268 in Queens, and PS 59 in Brooklyn. Many guests took theirs home; some left with proper sets of four, having negotiated with tablemates.

The event drew 400 guests and raised more than $2 million.

(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

Muse highlights include Ryan Sutton on dining, Martin Gayford on art.

To contact the reporter on this story: Amanda Gordon in New York at agordon01@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net

Bloomberg reserves the right to edit or remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.