On Friday, April 26, The Studio Museum in Harlem welcomed 350 artists, philanthropists, cultural, civic, and business leaders to its annual spring luncheon at Mandarin Oriental, 80 Columbus Circle, NY.
The event supports the Museum’s interdisciplinary and multidimensional education programs. The event honored the life and legacy of Peggy Cooper Cafritz, and continued the celebration of the Museum’s 50th Anniversary. The luncheon was attended by notable guests including Museum Trustees Laura Day Baker, Kathryn C. Chenault, Joan S. Davidson, Carol Sutton Lewis, Dr. Amelia Ogunlesi, Holly Peterson, Ann Tenenbaum, and Lise Wilks; artists Simone Leigh, Lorna Simpson, Allison Janae Hamilton, Kambui Olujimi, and Andre D. Wagner; civic leader Roxanne John; philanthropist Laurie Tisch; cultural leaders Glenn D. Lowry and Jonelle Procope; and musician Alicia Keys.
Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of the Studio Museum, welcomed guests and spoke about the profound legacy of Peggy Cooper Cafritz. She shared her memorable first meeting with Cafritz, when she told her she wanted to be a curator and Cafritz responded with “you will.” Golden recounted the countless lives Cafritz touched as a civil rights activist, educational visionary, champion of artists, and believer in institutions, mentioning the bequest to the Studio Museum and the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, which included more than 650 works of art—the largest gift of artworks by artists of African descent ever made. Simone Leigh, also shared a few moving words on the life and legacy of mentor and friend Cafritz, noting Cafritz’s dedication to supporting emerging artists and the influence she had on Leigh’s career.
Golden described the vital impact of the Museum’s educational programs and the ongoing programming in Harlem and beyond as the Studio Museum constructs its new home, designed by Sir David Adjaye of Adjaye Associates with Cooper Robertson. Following Golden’s remarks, Ashley Teague, a student from the Museum’s signature teen program Expanding the Walls, gave a moving speech about her experience and sang an original song for the group.
The event was hosted by the Studio Museum’s 50th Anniversary Circle, with Frank and Laura Baker, Kathyrn C. Chenault, Crystal McCrary and Raymond J. McGuire, Dr. Amelia Ogunlesi, Holly Peterson, Ann Tenenbaum, and Thomas H. Lee.