Design Trust for Public Space Raises Over $300,000 at Auction
As the clock ticked down to 8:30 p.m. on Monday evening, the Ralph Pucci International showroom in New York was in a frenzy. People hovered around 88 lots including furniture, photographs, sculptures, and paintings as a not-so-silent auction came to a close. This was the Design Trust for Public Space’s annual Art + Design Benefit Auction, which raised over $300,000 in support of the non-profit organization’s activities.
Boasting an attendance of over 500, the event is about more than just raising money. We caught Susan Chin, executive director of the organization, as she worked the crowd and called for bids: “This night is more about bringing the design community together. It’s almost like an extended family. We also get to highlight the artists and what they do.”
The event also honored Danny Meyer, CEO of the Union Square Hospitality Group, and David Rockwell, founder and CEO of Rockwell Group. Municipal Art Society board member and Design Trust trustee Kitty Hawks said of the honorees, “You’ve eaten better food and eaten in better places because of these two.” Hawks co-chaired the event with board member Cindy Allen, editor in chief of Interior Design, which has partnered with the event since 2007 by rallying participating artists and designers.
The night’s excitement was tenable even to artists new on the scene. Travis James of May Furniture Company, who was recently featured in Interior Design’s Fall Market Tabloid, said, “This is the first time I’ve contributed to this auction. It’s a perfect place to debut my venture into hemispheres.” Paola Di Tolla, a young artist whose oil on canvas painting Upon Arrival was one of the hottest tickets of the night, showed an emotional tie to her work, saying, “I first painted this piece when I moved to New York City in 2009. I was very overwhelmed with the new surroundings, and I tried to capture how I felt in that moment.”
A portion of the proceeds will support Hurricane Sandy relief through the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. The item with 18 competing bids, the most of the night, was Deborah Ehrlich’s set of stemless hand-blown and hand-cut Swedish crystal champagne flutes, while the highest selling lot was Tania Johnson’s wool and silk Ripples rug which sold for $5,000.