NEW YORK — Madison Avenue will be transformed into a 29-block-long art exhibit next month for the fifth annual “Madison Avenue: Where Fashion Meets Art” promotion, which is intended to strengthen ties between the retailers and their customers.

Organized by the Madison Avenue Business Improvement District, the event runs May 3-15 and will include 45 stores, as well as more than 50 art galleries. Art from the personal collections of the designers — works that reflect their creative philosophies — or pieces specially created for the event will be displayed in store windows and on selling floors.

Highlights will be a video installation by artist Anthony Goicolea at Calvin Klein; Rudolph Stingel from Milan will illustrate the windows of Yves Saint Laurent; David Yurman has commissioned Toland Grinnell to create a sculptureof fresh pearls and the Versace shop will feature two J.M. Basquiat paintings owned by Donatella Versace.

The celebration, known as Madison Avenue’s ultimate block party, is May 6, with private parties at each participating shop and a VIP bash and silent auction at the Whitney Museum of American Art to benefit the Whitney’s Family Program, which provides free admission and art programs for schoolchildren in New York City. Included in the auction will be a set of carved jade earrings with diamonds, onyx and rubies from Fred Leighton that retail for $8,500. American Express, a sponsor of the event, will donate $15,000.

— David Moin

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