The invitation’s dress code read “wild,” but the looks were no one’s focus in the group of artists, patrons, and aficionados that gathered on the evening of September 20 at the Art Deco-inspired space in midtown Manhattan that hosts Chinese restaurant Hutong. Rather, it was the community spirit of the inaugural Creative Capital Artist Benefit and Banquet that kept guests inspired. Since its founding in 1999, the nonprofit organization has awarded grants to 835 artists to support the creation of new work and continued careers. This year, the New York benefit extended its fundraising efforts to its community over dim sum and platters of spiced soft-shell crab while honoring four cultural pioneers: artists Lorraine O’Grady and Guadalupe Maravilla, playwright Larissa FastHorse, and digital art agent JiaJia Fei.
“Artists lead the way in thinking outside our systems, markets, institutions, and conventions,” said Creative Capital president and executive director Christine Kuan at the event as guests were seated for dinner after a round of cocktails and catching up. “Our commitment to artists is our commitment to equity." After personal toasts given by Marcela Guerrero, Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, James Schamus, Elena Soboleva, and Job Piston, each honoree took to the stage to be celebrated with a short speech about the mantras and motivations behind their respective practices. O’Grady, Maravilla, and FastHorse are previous recipients of a Creative Capital grant. All 2022 honorees have helped to expand inclusivity in the art world through their work.
After dish upon steaming dish of Northern Chinese-inspired fish, fried rice, broccoli, and more was served to tables filled with peers and supporters including Everette Taylor, Bernard Lumpkin, Philip Aarons, Will Whitney, and Sarah Meyohas, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and 2022 Creative Capital grantee Du Yun took to the stage for an experimental musical performance with her band, OK Miss, followed by a deejay set by Brazilian-born Brooklyn favorite Oscar Nñ of Papi Juice. Friends hugged and swayed to the beats, promising studio visits and more nights together for drinks and collaborations before they disappeared into the early fall night, with an even greater sense of art world community.