Russell Simmons hosted an annual gala last week for the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, which was founded by brothers Russell, Danny and Joseph “Rev Run” Simmons to provide inner-city youth with access to the arts while giving under-represented artists opportunities to exhibit their work. Executives and artists attended the 2011 Gold Rush Awards at the Bombay Sapphire East House of Imagination in New York to support the program’s 15th anniversary and honor arts advocate and philanthropist Sherry B. Bronfman.
“Art education really changes people’s lives,” Russell Simmons told AllHipHop.com. “It really allows people to think their way out of whatever struggle they claim. The first thing to be cut from educational budgets is the arts, so we must find ways to fill the void. The couple million dollars we raised is really just a drop in the bucket compared to what’s needed. We need serious financing and funding for the arts in school.”
So far over 2,000 students have benefited from the foundation’s four galleries located in four different schools in New York. And with plans to expand their work overseas, the foundation will haven an even greater reach.
“We’ve been doing this a long time,” Danny Simmons told AllHipHop.com. “It’s important work for our culture. These people are our voice. I started my first gallery 25 years ago, and we are ready to step out on to the international stage.”
Exhibits are currently being planned in Dubai, South Africa and Ethiopia. For more info on the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, visit rushphilanthropic.org.