BOMBAY SAPPHIRE(R) and Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation Announce Winners of the 2nd Annual BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Artisan Series

Posted on December 9, 2011

Six Pieces of Artwork Sell through Finalist Exhibit at Miami’s Scope Art Fair

This summer, BOMBAY SAPPHIRE and Russell & Danny Simmons’ Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation teamed up for the 2nd year in a row to present the BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Artisan Series – a nationwide search with the aim of discovering the next big names in the field of visual arts. During a series of regional gallery events, twenty artists were shortlisted and invited to Miami for a grand finale event during Art Basel. After much deliberation, a jury panel which included Rush Philanthropic co-founder Danny Simmons, Scope Art Fair Director of Operations Mollie White and the program’s national curator Andre Guichard selected New York artists Miguel Ovalle and Lerone Wilson as the winners of the 2nd Annual BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Artisan Series. Both artists will have their work installed at the Rush Arts Gallery in Manhattan from February 9 — March 16, 2012.

Prior to the finale, the work of the finalists was displayed at this year’s Miami edition of the Scope Art Fair from November 29 – December 4. As a result of this new partnership between Scope and the BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Artisan Series, six pieces of Artisan Series work were sold to international art dealers. Michael Coakes of Chicago sold three of his fine art prints, DC’s Alvin Burts sold his piece Reciprocity, San Francisco’s Bryan Keith Thomas sold his oil on wood piece entitled Down South and Miami’s Jose Romentaria sold his acrylic on canvas, The Will. These finalists join the ranks of a growing list of artists who have sold their work as a result of their participation in the BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Artisan Series, including Rachel Stevens, who sold her piece Super Theory of Super Everything during the semi-finals event in Houston.

The finale event, held on December 2nd at Miami’s historic Alfred Dupont Building, featured a wide range of work from all of the talented artists and photographers who participated in the Artisan Series. As they sipped signature Bombay Sapphire cocktails, guests danced to music spun by DJ Timbuk2 and Ms. Nix and enjoyed a high energy performance from Miami’s New Century Dance Company. Just prior to the announcement of the winners, Artisan Series program curator Andre Guichard called the top twenty onto the stage, all of whom were met with thunderous applause from the crowd.

Rush Philanthropic co-founder Russell Simmons addressed the finalists saying, “There is nothing more important than imagination. Please continue to be a source of inspiration for each and every one of your local communities, and, for the rest of the world.”

Finally, Danny Simmons and Andre Guichard took the stage and, after commending each of the artists on their “deeply personal” work, announced Ovalle and Wilson as the winners. Ovalle’s dramatic installation is titled Dizmology and Wilson’s encaustic on wood is titled A Path through the Sky.

Of his win, Ovalle said, “Having my work recognized, in this capacity, at one of the largest art fairs in the world, is truly an incredible honor.”

Wilson added, “I am looking forward to bringing my work home to New York after my experience here at Art Basel. This level of exposure is indispensable when you are based in one of the world’s most stimulating, yet competitive art communities.”

Emerging artists were invited to enter the Artisan Series by creating a piece of inspired, original art. In its second year, the Artisan Series received nearly 3,000 submissions from artists across the US. Submissions were judged by an esteemed panel, and those selected artists were invited to have their work displayed at gallery events in Washington DC, Detroit, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, San Francisco and New York City.

BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Senior Brand Manager Richard McLeod adds, “BOMBAY SAPPHIRE has an extensive history of commitment to the arts and creative community. It gives us such pleasure to be able to help provide a platform for new talent to gain the recognition that they deserve. We have been deeply touched by the response to our first two years of partnership with Rush Philanthropic and we are committed to building a lasting relationship.”

The relationship between BOMBAY SAPPHIRE and Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation evolved from the BOMBAY SAPPHIRE brand’s longstanding support of the arts, especially in the Miami locale. BOMBAY SAPPHIRE has had an ongoing presence at Art Basel Miami over its ten year lifespan, matched more recently by its involvement with the new Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, of which BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Gin is a key sponsor.

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Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation is dedicated to providing underserved urban youth with significant exposure and access to the arts, and to offering exhibition opportunities for underrepresented artists and artists of color. Rush was founded in 1995 by three brothers: Danny Simmons, visual artist and community builder; media mogul Russell Simmons; and Joseph “Rev. Run” Simmons of the legendary hip-hop group Run-DMC. Their goal was to fill the gap that poor and minorities face in both accessing the arts and exhibition opportunities. Over the past 16 years, Rush has served over 700,000 urban youth and has developed a broad base of friends, collaborators and supporters dedicated to addressing these issues. In addition to the 2,300 students served each year in its education programs, Rush exhibits the work of 40 to 50 emerging and community-based artists in its galleries; welcomes over 10,000 gallery visitors; and provides unique opportunities for young people interested in careers in the arts. Rush currently operates two galleries, Rush Arts Gallery and Resource Center in Chelsea (Manhattan) and Corridor Gallery in Clinton Hill (Brooklyn).

Rush Philanthropic believes that if you give young people the opportunity to practice and appreciate art–whether poetry, music, dance or the visual arts–you will see lives transformed. Nurtured in early childhood, and anchored in sustained, creative experiences throughout one’s life, it is through art that we see young people learn to value their own unique voices and visions; and it is through art that we see artists transform the minds and eyes of society.

For more information on the Artisan Series, please visit .

For more information on Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation visit .


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