An ostrich egg covered in mosaic and white gold. A pink poster with black lettering that read, “AM I A MULTIPLE. I AM A MULTIPLE.” A charcoal rendering of a nocturnal moon. These were some of the art donations up for silent auction at The New York Stem Cell Foundation’s annual gala on Thursday night.
The last of the aforementioned pieces was donated by New York-based artist John Newsom. “I was working on a series of paintings depicting the full moon and was thinking of the image of the circle and stem cells and cells and then the idea of the moon and it came to me that it was a nice correlation,” he said. “It was romantic. I knew we’d be at an evening event, so the nocturnal motif seemed to fit in perfectly with being here, the Jazz at Lincoln Center, moon over Manhattan and that was my concept.”
Newsom had been approached by NYSCF’s art committee “several years ago” to be a contributing artist for its annual gala. “I immediately said yes because it’s such an important organization,” he said. “The research and development they’re doing is so vital to growth in the sciences in general. So I donated a work, it went to a very good collection and they asked me back. Another piece went and another and another and that’s what brought me here tonight.”
This year’s NYSCF gala took place at the Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall. Guests were first welcomed to mingle with NYSCF scientists, who stood alongside demonstrations of their work, in the lobby before heading inside for the dinner, which was hosted by journalist Lynn Sherr. Martha Stewart was on the list of attendees, which also included honorees David A. Carmel, Alan M. Cohen and Victoria Gordon. Seth Meyers of “Late Night With Seth Meyers” provided laughs by way of a video he had made in support of the occasion.
Susan Solomon, who founded NYSCF in 2005, marveled at the foundation’s growth. “We started with a dream and the idea was that we could use stem cells to completely transform medical research,” she said. “Now, 11 years later, we have the largest stem cell research lab in the country. We have 12 clinical trials that are either underway or are about to be underway and we have 160 scientists around the world. We’re finally going to be able to realize better treatments and cures for the people we love.”