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NEW YORK — Russell and Kimora Lee Simmons opened their East Hampton home Saturday and raised a record $1.1 million for the coffers of Art For Life.
The event, which topped last year’s $850,000, was sponsored by the Simmons’ charity, The Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation. Among the evening’s festivities was an auction for such packages as tickets to the Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera concert to a weekend in St. Barth’s, complete with a supply of Louis Vuitton luggage. The limited edition Baby Phat pink cell phone and a year’s worth of service from Nextel sold for $8,000.
“I made this phone, so start bidding,” Kimora Lee Simmons addressed the crowd of 750 guests, including Betsey Johnson and Tommy Hilfiger.
This year, the organization honored Ben Cohen, the Ben of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream; Linda Johnson Rice, president and chief operating officer of Johnson Publishing, and Michael Lee-Chin, chairman and chief executive officer of A/C Limited, for their contributions to the arts. It was hosted by “Sex and the City” star Cynthia Nixon and Cedric the Entertainer.
The Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation was created in 1995 by Russell Simmons and his two brothers, Danny and Joey. The brothers’ vision was to help young people have the opportunity to pursue their dreams through the arts and creative expression, with the belief that visual and performing arts education is vital to spark the imagination and creativity of urban youth.
Art For Life reflects the vital importance of lifelong exposure to the arts, nurtured in early childhood and anchored in sustained, positive experiences throughout one’s life.