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On Tuesday, April 4th, the New York Academy of Art honored artist Amy Sherald at its annual Tribeca Ball sponsored this year by Van Cleef & Arpels. Every spring, The Tribeca Ball showcases the latest crop of MFA artists at the Academy, with proceeds supporting scholarships and public programming at the school. The evening’s co-chairs were artist Kate Capshaw, Ford Foundation president Darren Walker, and art collectors and patrons Beth DeWoody, Laura Lee Brown and Steven Wilson, and Stephanie and Tim Ingrassia.

Amy Sherald is a leading figure in contemporary American art, most widely recognized for her portraits depicting Black America. Through figurative painting and portraiture, Sherald’s work depicts the Black experience while challenging the preconceived notions that surround it. The artist was the first African American to receive the grand prize at the 2016 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition from the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. In 2018, she was selected by former First Lady Michelle Obama to paint her portrait as an official commission for the National Portrait Gallery.

The Academy welcomed guests to the Studio Party, which featured cocktails and hors d’oeuvre, interactive installations, stilt-walkers, contortionists, one-night-only exhibitions, and surprise musical performances. Among those who made an appearance were actors Naomi Watts, Brooke Shields, and William Abadie, as well as art collectors Tom Cashin and Jay Johnson, Van Cleef & Arpels President and CEO Helen King, PPOW Gallery founders Penny Pilkington & Wendy Olsoff, Armory Show executive director Nicole Berry, and filmmaker Dawn Porter. The highlight of the evening remained the chance to stroll through over 100 artist studios with the artists themselves present. 

The Tribeca Ball is the New York Academy’s signature fundraising event, raising much-needed funds for its programs, operating costs and supporting its scholarship programs. Per the Academy, Amy Sherald’s various interactions with the school have left a deep impression on its students. The school has also announced that a scholarship has been established in the name of Sherald’s mentor, Arturo Lindsay, who tearfully accepted the honor at the event. 

Founded in 1982 by artists, scholars, and patrons of the arts, including Andy Warhol, the New York Academy of Art is an independent, nonprofit graduate school that combines intensive technical training in the fine arts with active critical discourse. The Academy believes that rigorously trained artists can best realize their artistic vision. Through major exhibitions, a lively speaker series, and an ambitious educational program, the Academy is a creative and intellectual center for all artists dedicated to highly skilled, conceptually aware figurative and representational art.

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