Art and culture, business, philanthropy and public life

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A few weeks ago at the Metropolitan Club, the Council for Canadian American Relations (CCAR) held its 50th Anniversary Gala with a celebratory dinner for 300 guests who came from the United States and Canada.

That Awards for outstanding contributions to the arts presented in Canada and the United States Karen Cainlegendary Canadian ballet icon and Darren WalkerPresident of the Ford Foundation and longtime patron of the arts.


Darren Walker and Karen Cain.

Canadian businessman and philanthropist Pierre Lassonde received the advice Art Advancement Award. Special recognition was granted Nada Ristich, BMO Finance Group.

moderator Ambassador Bruce Heyman returned to the stage from his performance at the organization’s 40th anniversary gala when he presented the CCAR award Frank O Gehry.


L. to R.: Pierre Lassonde and Nada Ristich; Jay Smith and Laura Rapp.

This year’s awardees were Jo Carole LauderFoundation for Art and Preservation in the Embassies (FAPE) Board Chair and 2019 Gala CCAR Awardee; David BinettPresident and Chief Executive Officer of Woodbridge Company Limited and CCAR Chair; Catherine Loubierformer Delegate General of Quebec in New York and presenter of the 2019 CCAR Gala Guy Laliberte, founder of Cirque du Soleil; and Barry HughsonExecutive Director of the National Ballet of Canada.


Jo Carole Lauder and Darren Walker.

Guests at the gala included cross-border leaders from the fields of arts and culture, business, philanthropy and public life.

Among them: Stephane Aquinas, Director, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts; Dawood Bey, Chicago-based artist and MacArthur Award recipient; Melissa Chiu, Director, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; Caesar Conde, Chairman of NBC Universal News Group; Christopher Deacon, President and CEO, National Arts Center, Ottawa; Kaywin Feldman, Director, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; theater gates, American installation artist and professor of social practice; Stephen Jost, Director and CEO, Art Gallery of Ontario; ken lum, Artist and Chair of Fine Arts, University of Pennsylvania School of Design; MoMA curator Roxana Marcoci; Gary McCluskie, principal architect, Diamond Schmidtt (Toronto), who led the transformation of Geffen Hall in NYC; Cree artist Kent Monkman; Bob Rennie, President of the Tate Americas Foundation and Trustee of the Art Institute of Chicago; komal shah, Tech investor, art collector and philanthropist; rob sobey, Chairman, Sobey Art Foundation; art collector Jay Smith and Laura Rapp; Sasha Suda, George D Widener Director and CEO, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Lisa Hageman Yahgujanaas, Haida Gwaii artist.


L. to R.: Shawn and Julia Trudeau; Kevin Morris, Victoria Jackman and Vita Jackman Kuwabara.
Catherine Loubier, Patrice McNicoll, The Honorable Suzanne Côté, Gérald Tremblay

Current and RET diplomats included: The Honorable Adrienne Clarkson, former Governor General of Canada; susan crystal, United States Consul General in Toronto; andre frenette, Consul General of Canada in New York; Kirsten Hillman, Ambassador of Canada to the United States; The Honorable Bob Rae, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations.

The evening was celebrated 50 years of CCAR achievementincluding his Cross-Border Student Scholarship Programwhich supports the education of young Canadians at US cultural institutions and the education of young Americans at arts institutions in Canada, as well as future plans for cultural cooperation between the two countries.


Consul General André Frenette, Duncan Cameron, Ambassador Kirsten Hillman, Ambassador Bruce Heyman and Vicki Heyman.

A portion of the funds raised was made available to selected arts organizations by the award winners.

CCAR presented earlier in the day “Art with Conscience: A Conversation” with five cross-border cultural guides and artists at the Museum of Modern Art | MoMA. The program examined critical issues that exist for cultural organizations and artists now and in the future.

Since its inception in 1972, originally as American Friends of Canadathrough David Rockefeller and the late Prime Minister of Canada, Dear Mr. Pierre Elliott Trudeau, The Council has initiated programs and activities dedicated solely to supporting arts and cultural institutions operating in and between Canada and the United States. CCAR’s giving program beneficiaries include more than 250 cultural organizations of diverse outreach. To celebrate its 50th anniversary, CCAR will be making available “50 grants for 50 years” to cultural organizations across Canada and the United States.


L. to R.: Omar Gandhi, Angela Cassie and Rob Sobey; Wilmot and Judy Matthews.
L. to R.: Karen Kain and David Mirvish; Melissa Chiu, Shahzia Sikander, and Stephan Jost.
Jo Carole Lauder, David Binet and Judy Ney.
L. to R.: Roxana Marcoci and Carol Appel; Bernard Doucet and Michael Sewell.
Mark Colman and Bridget Colman.
L. to R.: Ambassador Bob Rae; Trinity Jackman and James Burn.

Downtown, 100 Crosby Street, Staley Wise Gallery Owner Etheleen Staley and Taki Wise together with gallery director George Kocis hosted a lively group of Harry Bensons and woman gigis along with longtime friends of the gallery on November 2nd at the opening reception of Harry’s retrospective exhibition titled MOMENTS.

The gallery is filled with Harry’s iconic photographs ranging from The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show… to artists Brice Marden, Andrew Wyeth and Frances Speck … to Jackie Kennedy in a ski mask… too Andy Warhol and Bianca Jaeger in the factory…too throat tone and Steve Rubell at Studio 54 … until Greta Garbo on the beach…too Frank and Mia In the Truman Capote black and white ball… and so on.


Harry Benson Exhibition and Book Signing at the Staley Wise Gallery, 100 Crosby Street.
The scene at Harry’s opening.

Harry’s new book PAUL was recently published by TASCHEN.

At the opening reception, Harry was busy greeting friends old and new while signing his new book PAUL celebrates the 80th birthday of Paul McCartney and recently published by TASCHEN. Harry’s exhibition runs until November.

The Tony Award-winning costume designer and bon vivant partied with Harry and Gigi William Ivey Long, Pamela Taylor Yates his husband eames fished in the magnificent Seychelles; jewelry designer Ann Dexter Jones; Artist Rachel Hovnavian just back from her show in Tuscany; interior architect Lynn Crystal and son Jonathan, an insurance and technology executive; Film Editor/Director Heather Silberman; photographer/writer Maria Hilliard; Photographer/Editor Gilles Decamps; Root archive VP Leslie Simitch; Author / play writing Stanley Zareff; Public Relations Manager Linda Buckley; Tiffany historian Pierce Macguire; Producers/Writers Robert and Lois Lilly; interior architect Rose Olsham; Publisher/Author Myrna Blyth; Duggal Photographic Managing Director Zee Morin; William Grigsby; Elder Maxwell; and longtime friend and photographer, Jonathan Delano, who photographed all the celebrations as more and more friends came and went as the night progressed.


Award-winning costume designer William Ivey Long with gallery owner Etheleen Staley.
Zee Morin, Dugall’s photographer, with Harry.
Harry with Editor/Author Myrna Blyth.
Gallery director George Kocis and gallery owner Taki Wise.
Harry and Gigi Benson.
Harry with photographer/editor Gilles Decamps.
Interior Designer Lynn Crystal, Insurance/Technology Manager Jonathan Crystal and Harry.
Interior designer Rose Olshan and Harry.
Jewelry designer Ann Dexter Jones, Harry, photographer Mary Hilliard and artist Rachel Hovnanian.
Longtime friend William Grigsby with Harry.
Linda Buckley, historian Pierce Macguire and Harry.
Head of Marketing Pamela Taylor, Writer/Playwright Stanley Zareff and Harry.
Harry with producers/writers Lois and Robert Lilly.
Staley Wise Gallery Director George Kocis, Trunk Archive VP Leslie Simitch, gallery owner Taki Wise and photographer/editor Gilles Decamps.
Staley Wise Team: intern Maria Sarafi, gallery assistant Vini Costa, art handler Brian Lau and intern Elmo Coleman (not pictured, archivist Vanessa Hock).
Internet executive Heather Silverman and photographer Jonathan Delano.

Leesa Rowland hosted her “Royal Ball” at The Lotos Club — an affair that Regal Spendor combines with a heartfelt tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the second. The carefree party was a throwback to the times of kings, queens and the royal court. Guests wore their finest court-inspired costumes while enjoying cocktails and dancing to live music. The reception was held in the exquisite library at The Lotos Club, where cutouts depicted leading members of the UK Royal Family alongside Guardsmen, the Royal Carriage and of course the Queen’s corgis.

Event decoration, cocktails and dinner were created by Indulge in blush with lots of personal details Leesa Rowland. fashion designer Marc Bouwer designed Leesa’s costume.


Pedro Oberto, Leesa Rowland, Marc Bouwer; Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin

Leesa’s new book The Charisma Factor: Unlocking the Secrets of Magnetic Charm and Personal Influence in Your Life is available in bookstores and online.

The participants included: Leesa Rowland, Larry Wohl, Marc Bouwer, Pedro Oberto, Prince Mario Max Schaumburg, Ramona Singer, Stewart F Lane, Bonnie Komley, Nicki Haskell, Bill Slight, Cherie Kaufman, Consuelo Costin Vanderbilt, Randy dear, Nicole Noonan, dr Penny Grant, Cindy Guyer, Hillary Latos, dr Nicholas Perricone, Hank Stampfl, Stefan knob, Nicole Midday, Alan Lazare, Arlene Lazare, Kenneth Fischel, Maria Fischel, Alan Helene, Marla Helena, Nancy Pearson, Wayne Diamond, Werner Hase, Nurit rabbit, David Warren, Luciana Pampalone, Dara Sowell, Nadja Sayej, Elys Slaine.


L. to R.: Ruth Miller and Jacques Acoca; Steven Knobel and Nicole Noonan.
L. to R.: Ramona Singer and Leesa Rowland; Randi Schatz, Nicole Noonan and Dr. Penny Grant.
Prince Mario-Max Schaumburg, Leesa Rowland and Larry Wohl.
L. to R.: Larry Wohl, Stewart F Lane and Bonnie Comley; Cindy Guyer.
L. to R.: Leesa Rowland and Hank Stampfl; Hillary Latos and Nicolas Perricone.

Sylvain Gaboury/PMC (CCAR); Michael Ostuni/PMC (Leesa Rowland)

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