Arts and culture, business, philanthropy and public life

A few weeks ago, at the Metropolitan Club, the Council for Canadian American Relations (CCAR) hosted its 50th Anniversary Gala at a black-tie dinner for 300 guests, who came from across the United States and Canada.

The Awards for Outstanding Contributions to the Arts in Canada and the United States were presented to Karen Kainlegendary icon of Canadian ballet and Darren Walkerpresident of the Ford Foundation and longtime contributor to the arts.


Darren Walker and Karen Kain.

Canadian businessman and philanthropist Pierre Lasonde received the Council Art Patronage Award. Special recognition was given to Nada Ristich, BMO Financial Group.

master of ceremonies Ambassador Bruce Heyman returned to the stage after appearing at the organization’s 40th anniversary gala when he presented the CCAR award to Frank O. Gehry.


L. to r. : Pierre Lassonde and Nada Ristich; Jay Smith and Laura Rapp.

This year’s award presenters were Jo Carole LauderChairman of the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies (FAPE) and winner of the 2019 CCAR Gala; David BinetChairman and Chief Executive Officer of Woodbridge Company Limited and Chairman of CCAR; Catherine Loubierformer Delegate General of Quebec in New York and presenter of the 2019 CCAR Gala Award in Guy Laliberte, founder of Cirque du Soleil; and Barry Hughsongeneral manager of the National Ballet of Canada.


Jo Carole Lauder and Darren Walker.

Gala guests included cross-border leaders in arts and culture, business, philanthropy and public life.

Among them: Stephane Aquin, director, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts; Daoud Bey, Chicago-based artist and MacArthur Prize winner; Melissa Chiu, Director, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; Cesar Conde, Chairman of NBC Universal News Group; Christopher Deacon, President and CEO, National Arts Centre, Ottawa; Kaywin Feldman, director, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Theater doors, American social practice installation artist and teacher; Stephane Jost, Director and CEO, Art Gallery of Ontario; Ken Lum, artist and chair of fine arts at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design; MoMA Curator Roxana Marcoci; Gary McLuskie, lead architect, Diamond Schmidtt (Toronto), who led the transformation of New York’s Geffen Hall; Cree artist Kent Monkman; Bob Rennie, president of the Tate Americas Foundation and trustee of the Art Institute of Chicago; Komal Shah, technology investor, art collector and philanthropist; Rob Sobey, President, Sobey Art Foundation; art collectors Jay Smith and Laura Rapp; Sasha Suda, George D. Widener director and CEO, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Lisa Hageman Yahgujanas, Haida Gwaii artist.


L. to r. : Shawn and Julia Trudeau; Kevin Morris, Victoria Jackman and Vita Jackman Kuwabara.
Catherine Loubier, Patrice McNicoll, The Honorable Suzanne Côté, Gérald Tremblay

Current and RET diplomats included: The Right Honorable Adrienne Clarkson, former Governor General of Canada; Susan Crystal, United States Consul General in Toronto; Andre Frenette, Consul General of Canada in New York; Kirsten Hillman, Canadian Ambassador to the United States; The Honorable Bob Rae, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations.

The evening celebrated 50 years of CCAR achievementsincluding his Cross Border Scholarship Programwhich offers support for young Canadians training in American cultural institutions and young Americans training in arts institutions in Canada, as well as future plans for cultural collaboration between the two countries.


Consul General André Frenette, Duncan Cameron, Ambassador Kirsten Hillman, Ambassador Bruce Heyman and Vicki Heyman.

A portion of the funds raised was donated to arts organizations selected by the winners.

Earlier today, the CCAR presented “Art with a Conscience: A Conversation” with five cultural leaders and cross-border artists at the Museum of Modern Art | MOMA. The program explored the critical issues that exist for cultural organizations and for artists today and in the future.

Since its inception in 1972, originally as American Friends of Canadaby David Rockefeller and the late Prime Minister of Canada, The Right Honorable Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the Council has initiated programs and activities devoted exclusively to supporting arts and cultural institutions operating in and between Canada and the United States. Beneficiaries of CCAR’s donations program include more than 250 cultural organizations of various sizes. To celebrate its 50th anniversary, the CCAR will offer “50 scholarships for 50 years” to cultural organizations across Canada and the United States.


L. to r. : Omar Gandhi, Angela Cassie and Rob Sobey; Wilmot and Judy Matthews.
L. to r. : Karen Kain and David Mirvish; Melissa Chiu, Shahzia Sikander and Stephan Jost.
Jo Carole Lauder, David Binet and Judy Ney.
L. to r. : Roxana Marcoci and Carol Appel; Bernard Doucet and Michael Sewell.
Mark Colman and Bridget Colman.
L. to r. : Ambassador Bob Rae; Trinity Jackman and James Burn.

Downtown at 100 Crosby Street, Staley Wise Gallery owners Etheleen Staley and Taki Sage with the gallery director George Kocis hosted a lively group of by Harry Benson and wife Gigi’s with longtime friends of the gallery on November 2 at the opening reception of Harry’s retrospective exhibition titled MOMENTS.

The gallery is filled with iconic photographs of Harry ranging from The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show… to artists Brice Marden, Andrew Wyeth and Francoise Bacon … at jackie kennedy in a ski mask… for Andy Warhol and Bianca Jagger at La Fabrique… for Halston and Steve Rubell at Studio 54 … for Greta Garbo on the beach … for Frank and Mia to Truman Capote Black and white ball…and so on.


Harry Benson exhibition and book signing at Staley Wise Gallery, 100 Crosby Street.
The scene at the opening of Harry.

Harry’s New Book PAUL recently published by TASCHEN.

At the opening reception, Harry was busy greeting old friends and new as he signed his new book PAUL celebrating the 80th anniversary of Paul McCartney and recently published by TASCHEN. Harry’s exhibition will last until November.

Celebrating with Harry and Gigi, the Tony Award-winning costume designer and bon vivant William Ivey Long, Pamela Taylor Yates whose husband Eames fished in the glorious Seychelles; jewelry designer Ann Dexter Jones; artist Rachel Hovnavian back from his exhibition in Tuscany; Interior decorator Lynn Crystal and son Jonathan, an assurance and technology framework; Film editor/director Heather Silverman; photographer/author Mary Hilliard; photographer/editor Gilles Decamps; Vice President of Trunk Archives Leslie Simitch; author/play Stanley Zareff; Public relations officer Linda Buckley; Tiffany Historian Pierce Macguire; Producers/writers Robert and Lois Lilly; interior decorator Rose Olsham; editor/author Myrna Blyth; Duggal Director of Photography Zee Morin; William Grigsby; Elder Maxwell; and long-time friend and photographer, Jonathan Delano, who photographed all the festivities as many other friends walked in and out as the night went on.


Award-winning costume designer William Ivey Long with gallery owner Etheleen Staley.
Zee Morin, Dugall photographic frame, with Harry.
Harry with editor/author Myrna Blyth.
Gallery director George Kocis and gallerist Taki Wise.
Harry and Gigi Benson.
Harry with photographer/editor Gilles Decamps.
Interior designer Lynn Crystal, Director of Insurance and Technology Jonathan Crystal and Harry.
Interior designer Rose Olshan and Harry.
Jewelry designer Ann Dexter Jones, Harry, photographer Mary Hilliard and artist Rachel Hovnanian.
Longtime friend William Grigsby with Harry.
Linda Buckley, historian Pierce Macguire and Harry.
Marketing manager Pamela Taylor, author/playwright Stanley Zareff and Harry.
Harry with producers/writers Lois and Robert Lilly.
Staley Wise Gallery Director George Kocis, Vice President of Trunk Archives Leslie Simitch, gallerist Taki Wise and photographer/editor Gilles Decamps.
Staley Wise team: intern Maria Sarafi, gallery assistant Vini Costa, art manager Brian Lau and intern Elmo Coleman (not pictured, archivist Vanessa Hock).
Internet manager Heather Silverman and photographer Jonathan Delano.

Leesa Rowland hosted her “Royal Ball” at the Lotos Club – a case mixing Regal Spendor with a heartfelt tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The light party was a throwback to the days of kings, queens and the royal court. Guests wore their best Court-inspired costumes while enjoying cocktails and dancing to live music. The reception took place in the exquisite Lotos Club library where cutouts depicted prominent members of the UK royal family as well as guards, the Royal Carriage and, of course, the Queen’s Corgis.

The event decor, cocktails and dinner were created by Revel Red with many personal touches from Leesa Rowland. Fashion designer Marc Bouwer designed Leesa’s costume.


Pedro Oberto, Leesa Rowland, Marc Bouwer; Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin

Leesa’s new book, The Charisma Factor: Unlock the secrets of magnetic charm and personal influence in your life, is available in bookstores and online.

Participants included: Leesa Rowland, Larry Wohl, Marc Bower, pedro Oberto, Prince Mario-Max Schaumburg, Singer Ramona, Stewart F. Lane, Bonnie Comley, Nikki Haskel, Bill Slight, Cheri Kaufman, Consuelo Costin Vanderbilt, Randi Schatz, Nicole Nounan, Dr Penny Grant, Cindy Guyer, Hillary Latos, Dr Nicolas Perricone, Hank Stampfl, Steve Button, Nicholas nounan, Alain Lazare, Arlene Lazare, Kenneth Fishel, Maria Fishel, Alain Helene, Marla Helen, Nancy Pearson, Wayne Diamond, Werner Haase, Nurit Haase, David Warren, Luciana Pamalone, Dara Sowell, Nadja Sayej, Elysee Slaine.


L. to r. : Ruth Miller and Jacques Acoca; Steven Knobel and Nicole Noonan.
L. to r. : Ramona Singer and Leesa Rowland; Randi Schatz, Nicole Noonan and Dr. Penny Grant.
Prince Mario-Max Schaumburg, Leesa Rowland and Larry Wohl.
L. to r. : Larry Wohl, Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley; Cindy Guyer.
L. to r. : Leesa Rowland and Hank Stampfl; Hillary Latos and Nicolas Perricone.

Sylvain Gaboury/PMC (CCAR); Michel Ostuni/PMC (Leesa Rowland)

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