On Wednesday, June 15th @ Arena 1 Gallery in Santa Monica,ALS.net celebrated celebrity art auction Art for ALS which made its debut in conjunction with organization Artists Lend Support.
More than 55 artists and celebrities donated works for this silent auction that raised over $100k for ALS.net and the research it funds directly at the ALS Therapy Development Institute, a Cambridge, MA-based non-profit biotech 100% focused on a treatment and cure for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The ALS Therapy Development Institute will also be featured in the upcoming VICE on HBO episode that documents a young women diagnosed with ALS and her journey in finding treatment.
The entertainment industry came out in droves to support. Courtney B. Vance whose mother was diagnosed with ALS 2-years ago has a very personal connection to this terrible disease and finding treatment. He offered an inspiring speech to the Art for ALS patrons regarding his personal journey and plans to join the fight for a cause. Minnie Driver stopped by with her family admiring the artistic works available for auction. Candace Cameron attended to show support along with actress Danica McKellar who won the work painted by artist Cryptik through the silent auction and also provided signed copies of her successful math tutoring books for the live auction which closed out the night. Actors Travis Van Winkle known for his role on “The Last Ship” helped generate energy during the live auction hosted by actor and philanthropist Paul Greene who was also the co-chair of Art for ALS. Others in the crowd cheering them on included Travis Aaron Wade from “Supernatural”, actress Kate Linder, and retired basketball legend and commentator Kenny Smith. Casting agent Sarah Finn who is casting the next Spiderman movie caught up with friends Barbara Bestor who is a well-known architect and also purchased the work up for auction by Kim Gordon as well as CEO, of Hensen Studios Lisa Hensen.
The silent auctionfeatured works by prominent artists taking part in this notable exhibition including: Shepard Fairey, David LaChapelle, Francoise Gilot, Cryptik, Blek le Rat, Kim West, Sage Vaughn, Peggy Sirota, Bruce Weber, The Most Famous Artist, and others. In addition to the full collection of art displayed, hand-painted wooden ice buckets by a list of notable Hollywood heavy-hitters served as center-pieces for the event. ALS ice bucket painting participants included: Ben Affleck who did a signed, batman-themed bucket, Taye Diggs, Jennifer Garner, Michael Muller, Lance Bass, Pat Quinn (co-founder of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge) and many more.
All involved in the Art for ALS auction have been personally affected by ALS that has taken the lives of so many. ALS activist Suzi Hoffman-Kipp lead the charge for Art for ALS to raise money to fight the disease that took her late husband Peter in 2013. Suzi is also the Los Angeles area Director of Development for ALS.net. Following his own ALS diagnosis, Brian Fender, an artist himself, founded Artists Lend Support in 2011 with partner Ron Thompson by his side. Brian Fender garnered the support of the public and obtained $20k through a crowdfunding campaign to make this nation-wide trip by land to attend this inaugural Art for ALS event. Brian’s photography was included in the auction, as well as work by Anthony Carbajal and Tucker Stilley – two local artists who also live with ALS. Brian and Ron are event chairs, and joining them in this role is Paul Greene, an accomplished actor and philanthropist whose father Earl passed from ALS in 2013. This auction not only served as a great cause but also as a chance to truly unite ALS heroes as we stand together and raise funds for ALS research. For more information about Art for ALS follow Art for ALS on Facebook.