Tomorrow night will serve as a glittering backdrop to a truly significant event—the first benefit party that Gen Art will be hosting in over a decade. The fashion, art, film, and music initiative will be celebrating a memorable milestone with the birthday-themed I Heart Gen Art: 15th Anniversary Benefit. True to it's reputation there is sure to be an abundance of famous faces sporting fresh off the runway looks. But amidst the tinkling of glasses and the hum of idle chatter, Gen Art is hoping that many of the alumni it has supported over the years will be inspired to give back a little to the program that has been falling into more and more financial trouble.
Gen Art has been seeing it's fair share of struggles through the economic downturn and lately things seem to be progressing for the worst, not the better. After losing crucial funding from corporate sponsors that have also been in trouble, the arts organization has had to make significant changes including cutting one third of its staff, turning three of the five regional offices into virtual communication centers, and—perhaps worst of all—postponing it's decade-old design competition, GenArt Styles, which awards the winner each year with a cash prize that the company currently cannot afford.
Hence the benefit, which the founders are hoping to raise $250,000 via ticket sales and donations. Founder Gerard is choosing to make it be known that Gen Art needs
to raise an additional $500,000 in investment capital, or else they may be out of lifelines. Following the benefit, the company is hoping marketing budgets will increase by the end of the summer, and in time for New York Fashion Week in September when Gen Art hosts its signature runway show Fresh Faces in Fashion. The show has revealed countless faces that have gone on to create iconic labels such as Vena Cava, Zac Posen, Rebecca Taylor, Geren Ford, Peter Som, and Rodarte.
If the show was unable to go on due to further budget cuts then the fashion world would suffer a disappointing loss, not to mention the visionaries who the program was founded to support. But cofounder Ian Gerard, who founded Gen Art with his brother Stefan Gerard in 1993, seems unphased and ready to tap the invaluable resources that the brothers have worked so hard over the years to build. “The underpinning of the benefit is to reach out to the talent we’ve
worked with over the years and say, ‘We’re in a bad spot. Can you come
out and support?'"
Article and Photo Source: WWD