NYFA Inducts Paul Beatty, Phil Gilbert, and Carolee Schneemann into its Hall of Fame

NYFA Inducts Paul Beatty, Phil Gilbert, and Carolee Schneemann into its Hall of Fame

Arts leaders celebrated at April 12 Hall of Fame Benefit

The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) inducted three arts leaders into its Hall of Fame during its annual benefit on April 12 at Capitale. The evening’s honorees were Paul Beatty, celebrated writer who received the Man Booker Prize for his novel The Sellout (Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2015); Phil Gilbert, patron of the arts and General Manager of Design, IBM; and Carolee Schneemann, pioneering visual artist who was recently celebrated with a career retrospective at MoMA PS1. The gala was Co-Chaired by Marc Jason, J. Wesley McDade, and Anne Spalter, all members of NYFA’s Board of Trustees. The silent auction was Co-Chaired by Marjorie W. Martay, a member of NYFA’s Board, and Marjorie Croes Silverman, a member of NYFA’s Leadership Council.

Guests included artists Elia Alba, Clarence Coo, Barry Holden, Abeer Hoque, Mac Premo, Lynn Saville, Laura Schecter, and Nina Yankowitz; Judith K. Brodsky, Board Chair, NYFA; Michael L. Royce, Executive Director, NYFA; Anneliis Beadnell, Director, P.P.O.W. Gallery; Michele and Marty Cohen, philanthropists; Lonti Ebers, art advisor and philanthropist; Michael Findlay, Director, Acquavella Galleries; Robert Goff, Director, David Zwirner; Nell Painter, artist, academic, and NYFA Board Member; Saïd Sayrafiezadeh, writer and NYFA Board Member; and Cristin Tierney, Founder, Cristin Tierney Gallery. Artist and NYFA Board Member Carmelita Tropicana served as the event emcee.


More than 275 guests gathered to celebrate the 2018 Hall of Fame inductees over cocktails, dinner, and a silent auction of art, experiences, and more. All tickets came with a signed, limited-edition print by Schneemann that was created exclusively for the event. The glamorous gala recognizes the sustained achievements of artists who received early career support from NYFA, and the vision and commitment of enlightened patrons of the arts. Beatty and Schneemann are past recipients of the NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship, which are individual unrestricted grants made to artists who are living and working in New York State.

NYFA Board Chair Judith K. Brodsky described the support that NYFA services and programs provide to artists of all disciplines at all career stages. “NYFA provides resources for artists so they can write the books and plays, create the art, compose the music, shoot the films,” said Brodsky. “This supports the best in our humanity,” she added.

Paul Beatty was the first honoree of the night to be inducted into NYFA’s Hall of Fame. In his acceptance remarks, he spoke of the deep satisfaction that writing gives him and how the NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship impacted his career. “It was this affirmation that I’m trying to do things that are different, and maybe not accessible for different reasons. But still, the fact that somebody is trying to encourage me, not feed me literally but kind of feed my drive, it was very important. It’s just nice to get some kind of recognition, and the support was huge.”

Fellow honoree Phil Gilbert spoke about the importance of design at IBM and how it relates to the work of NYFA. “The role of the artist in the world, the role of the designer at IBM, it’s all the same thing: it’s about how we create human connections so that we can advance the state and the condition of mankind,” said Gilbert.

Carolee Schneemann described how she paved her path in the art world and reflected on her NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship: “The year that I got a NYFA grant, that changed my life completely. I had three part-time jobs: I was a dog dryer in a pet shop, I was an extra in porno films, and I taught Sunday School on Sundays…I was pretty desperate for funding as usual in those years and the grant really changed my life.”


The evening concluded with impassioned remarks from NYFA Executive Director Michael L. Royce. He described how art can change lives, citing his own formative experience after seeing the movie version of Cabaret, “No matter what the chaos is, underneath it all is remarkable grace. That day, I got a glimpse that in fact beauty can speak. Spirituality can dance. And compassion can be spoken to.” He closed by highlighting the importance of artists in trying times and their ability to answer our biggest questions, urging attendees to show their support: “We need artists, and they need us.”

Past NYFA Awardees include Ida Applebroog, James Casebere, Christopher d’Amboise, Anna Deavere Smith, Zhou Long, Christian Marclay, Terry McMillan, Mira Nair, Lynn Nottage, Eric Overmyer, Suzan-Lori Parks, Wendy Perron, Dwight Rhoden, Faith Ringgold, and Andres Serrano.

Legends Limousine, a family-owned car service based in Park Slope, Brooklyn, is NYFA’s transportation partner for the 2018 NYFA Hall of Fame Benefit.

Sign up for NYFA’s bi-weekly newsletter, NYFA News, to receive announcements about future NYFA events and programs.

Images: Honorees Paul Beatty, Carolee Schneemann, and Phil Gilbert with NYFA Board Chair Judith K. Brodsky and Executive Director Michael L. Royce; Gala Co-Chairs Marc Jason, J. Wesley McDade, and Anne Spalter; Auction Co-Chairs Marjorie Croes Silverman and Marjorie W. Martay; All Images Credit: Jay Brady Photography

Amy Aronoff
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