The 2023 Art Show’s Star-Studded Benefit

Kate Capshaw, Toddrick Brockton – All Photos by Marilyn Kirschner

The Gala Preview Benefit was held Wednesday evening at the Park Avenue Armory. All proceeds benefited the Henry Street Settlement, the peremptory social service, art, and health care organization celebrating its 130th year.

Organized by the Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA), this prestigious show, now celebrating its 35th year, has allowed collectors, art professionals, and the public to engage in a variety of carefully curated exhibitions representing a selection of works from 72 of the nation’s leading art dealers, dating from the 19th century through today.

Left: Tony Meier, Susan Sheehan,, Maureen Bray, David Garza

Anthony P (Tony) Meier is President of the ADAA, Maureen Bray is Executive Director. Susan Sheehan served as Chair of the Art Show Committee.


Over 2,000 people attended the benefit party, which had tiered ticketed entry. Guests arriving at 5 p.m. paid $50,000, while those coming at 7:30 doled out $175. Over $1 million was raised, but because general admission to the fair also goes to the Henry Street Settlement, this number will have grown by the end of the week. The show runs through Sunday, November 5th.

Kurt Kauper “Woman” presented by Ortuzar Projects Installation

Over the past three decades, The Art Show has raised over $36 million for Henry Street Settlement and remains its most significant source of unrestricted funding. Founded to bring ADAA members together while benefiting Henry Street Settlement, the fair will continue to donate all admissions proceeds to the social services organization.

Always a magnet for national and international collectors, philanthropists, business leaders, museum directors, and curators, this year was by far the most star-studded and eclectic edition I can remember.

Fran Lebowitz

The event could have easily been mistaken for the Oscars with Steven Spielberg (wearing a mask), Kate Capshaw, Julianne Moore, Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Laura Dern, Meg Ryan, and Bruce Springsteen mingling with the likes of New York fixture Fran Lebowitz, philanthropist Susan Gutfreund and Jackie Weld Drake, and celebrated arts patron and social justice advocate Agnes Gund who is a sponsor of the show.

Kate Capshaw, “Isaiah,” 2018

Undoubtedly, one reason so many A-list celebrities were in attendance was because Kate Capshaw’s artwork was on display. For this year’s edition, the ADAA strengthened its collaboration with Henry Street Settlement by jointly organizing a special exhibition with Capshaw at Henry Street Settlement’s Dale Jones Burch Neighborhood Center on the Lower East Side. In conjunction with exhibit, one of Capshaw’s new portraits is presented at the art show.

Capshaw is known for her “Unaccompanied” series. It’s a collection of portraits of homeless youth living in Los Angeles. As a painter, Ms. Capshaw is deeply committed to revealing the crises of homelessness as it affects young people.

Standing on the right isArtist Arvie Smith, with his work, “The Three Graces”

Other show highlights include Smith’s “The Three Graces,” Sheila Hicks’ “Ondine,” Milton Avery’s “The Yellow Jacket,” Ann Agee’s solo installation of new sculptures, and Arvie Smith’s “The Three Graces.” The recognized African-American painter from Oregon, who is represented by Chicago based Monique Meloche Gallery, deals with the complex history of social and racial injustices.

Joel Mesler, “The Rabbi With Crimson Kippah”

For obvious reasons, Joel Mesler’s “The Rabbi” series, which includes Rabbi With Crimson Kippah, was especially poignant.

Bruce Springsteen and wife Patti Scialfa

Because this is New York, many celebrities virtually got lost in the crowd and walked around almost unnoticed. One reason is that they were all dressed in relatively simple, unassuming black clothes. Meg Ryan, for example, was wearing a black Moncler puffer jacket.

Marilyn Kirschner and Bruce Springsteen

I did spot Bruce Springsteen, but that was only because I admired wife Patti Scialfa’s handsome jacket and gold chained bag. It was only after I started talking to her that I noticed who her companion was, lol. I asked if I could take their picture, and another guest offered to take mine with Bruce.

A black and white clad guest against a colorful painting

As an art history major, I have always gravitated to art as much as I have to fashion. Of course, fashion and art are inextricably linked, and sometimes, fashion even rises to the level of art (though not very often).

Ellen Marie Donahue wearing an artful coat

While last night was a genuine mixed bag in fashion, some of the attendee’s sartorial choices echoed or seemed inspired by the art on display. Several women opted for graphic art-inspired outerwear. One woman wore a coat that appeared to be painted by Matisse.

hors d’oeuvres and an open bar

The unifying appreciation of art and how art enhances and celebrates life was apparent last night. And boy, do we need it now! You could just see the glee on the faces of guests as they perused the artwork on display. But let’s face it: art may feed the soul, but we still need to eat.

While viewing the exhibition, guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and an open bar, including an exclusive flight of exceptional and rare single malt whiskies curated by partner The Macallan.

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Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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