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Posts Tagged ‘philanthropist’

Photo: Leong Leong.
Leong Leong’s Ray Fishtown in Philadelphia is meant to surround residents with art. A Russian philanthropist is collaborating on the project.

I thought this article about including original art and artists’ studios in residential buildings was interesting. I confess, however, that the extreme wealth of the young Russian woman who is behind the concept makes me uncomfortable. She’s the daughter of an oligarch, and it’s hard for me to believe anyone makes a fortune in Russia without workers suffering. Of course, we also have guys like that.

As Taylor Dafoe reported at Artnet News, “Russian collector Dasha Zhukova, who founded Moscow’s Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, has launched a new real-estate venture with the aim of bringing residential apartments, art studios, and exhibition spaces together under one roof.

“Ray, as Zhukova’s new business is called, already has two major developments underway, in Manhattan and Philadelphia. Its website describes them as ‘vertical villages’ and notes that prices will be ‘accessible.’ …

“Mexico City-based architect Frida Escobedo, who in 2018 became the youngest architect ever commissioned to build London’s Serpentine Pavilion, will lead the design of the 21-story development Ray Harlem.

“The building’s first four floors will serve as the new home of Harlem’s historic National Black Theatre, founded in 1968 by Barbara Ann Teer, and will include spaces for performance, events, and retail. The rest of the building will feature 222 apartments, artist studios, co-working spaces, as well as communal kitchens and libraries. …

“Ray Fishtown, a 110-unit building in Philadelphia designed by the architecture firm Leong Leong, is under construction now and boasts a similar slate of amenities, including a half-dozen street-level artist studios. New York artist Rashid Johnson will create a living greenhouse in the building’s lobby while Philadelphia-based artist Michelle Lopez will add a text-based intervention on the split brick facade. Lopez will also work out of a studio at the development and become its inaugural artist in residence when it opens. …

“Designer Suzanne Demisch, who’s been recruited by Ray to work on the upcoming projects, tells Artnet News that the firm will look to work with ’emerging and established artists, designers, and architects’ who are ‘local’ and ‘forward-thinking.’

“Demisch, who’s worked with Zhukova on various projects for a decade, says the philanthropist first articulated her vision for Ray five or six years ago. … ‘She asked me if I would join her in defying the traditional boundaries of architecture and design in the residential field and [creating] more equitable access to the built spaces of the future.’  

“Zhukova seems to have taken some inspiration for Ray from the Garage Museum building, which was designed by Rem Koolhaas and has proved to be as big a draw as the programming inside, Zhukova told the Wall Street Journal. … 

“ ‘Even if [visitors] had seen all the shows that we had on, they would just stay and hang out in our lobby,’ she said. ‘They would hang out in our cafe for hours on end—just come back day after day because they wanted to be in that environment.’ 

“Each of Ray’s developments will offer its future inhabitants a grip of perks calibrated to the creative culture of their respective cities and neighborhoods, including workshops with local artists and live events sponsored by nearby arts organizations.”

More at Artnet, here, and at Ray Fishtown, here. The pandemic undoubtedly slowed the Ray timeline, but I’m going to keep an eye on it and see how it turns out. I’m especially curious how they plan to deliver the “equitable” aspect as I feel sure they’ll be able to get high-paying buyers with a concept like that.

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Two Kansas philanthropists with ties to Chicago have chosen to benefit that city and its youth for 25 years to come with a gift extending eligibility for free admission.

Matt Masterson writes at Chicago Tonight, “Chicago teens won’t have to pay to visit the Art Institute again for quite a long time. [City] residents under the age of 18 will no longer be required to pay the $14 admission fee at the Loop museum thanks to a donation from a pair of Kansas donors.

“The gift comes courtesy of Glenn and Claire Swogger of the Redbud Foundation, a Topeka-based nonprofit … The Swoggers’ gift specifically allows Chicago teens between the ages of 14-18 to enter the museum at no cost. Guests under the age of 14 already receive free admission.

“Glenn Swogger began attending the University of Chicago on scholarship at age 16, according to Hicks, and though he has since moved away, he has maintained a strong connection to the city and wanted to provide a gift that would reflect the impact his teachers and education have had on him.

“Though the actual amount of the donation has not been released, Hicks said museum staff reviewed attendance projections with the Swoggers and believe the gift will cover every Chicago teen for the next 25 years. …

“The Art Institute already consults with a five-member teen council of volunteers who represent different schools and neighborhoods across the Chicago area. They meet weekly to advise and brainstorm with various departments within the museum about how to make the museum more engaging and meaningful for young people.”

More here.

Photo: Art Institute of Chicago
Whitney Young Magnet High School senior Rosario Barrera, right, and Kenwood Academy High School Junior Walela Greenlee, both members of the museum’s teen council, in the Art Institute of Chicago’s Modern Wing.

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Recently, Kara Baskin wrote for the Boston Globe about a couple of young environmental philanthropists.

Arlington (Mass.) siblings Will Gladstone (age 12) and Matthew (age 9) “run the Blue Feet Foundation, which manufactures bright blue socks with bird logos to support the endangered blue-footed booby, a threatened species found in the Galapagos Islands.

“Proceeds benefit the Galapagos Conservancy, and the brothers have raised $18,000 since launching a few months ago.

“The idea began in science class at the Fessenden School in West Newton last year. …

“The brothers started a logo contest among pals. Dad Peter Gladstone helped the pair create a final design on logo site 99designs.com and located a manufacturer to to produce the cotton footwear. …

” ‘We put a thank you card in each package, write out the label, and talk about what this will go to. We ask for photos of them wearing the socks,’ Will says. …

“Will also plans to expand his business a bit, perhaps shifting to red socks for Valentine’s Day. (Yes, there is also a red-footed booby.) …

” ‘My brother says, “If we go out of business, I hope it’s because we save the birds.” ‘ ”

Read more at the Blue Feet Foundation, here. There’s a cute photo of three generations of one family wearing the blue socks in memory of their trip to the Galapagos Islands.

6/21/17. I have to add this this heavenly surreal animation I just saw, Mr Blue-Footed Booby: https://slipperyedge.com/2017/06/08/mr-blue-footed-booby/.

Photo: chutupandtakemykarma
The Galapagos bird the blue-footed booby is endangered

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I liked NY Times columnist Jim Dwyer’s recent article “A Billionaire Philanthropist Struggles to Go Broke.”

“Charles F. Feeney, 81, a man with no romantic attachment to wealth or its trappings, said the world had enough urgent problems that required attention now, before they became even more expensive to solve.

“ ‘When you’ve got the money, you spend it,’ Mr. Feeney said. ‘When you’ve spent it all, let someone else get going and spend theirs.’ …

“Last fall, Mr. Feeney gave his alma mater, Cornell University, $350 million to seal its bid to build a new campus for advanced engineering that New York City has commissioned for Roosevelt Island. …

With “grand philanthropy often comes public glory for wealthy donors, as buildings and institutes are dedicated to benefactors, their names embedded above doorways like graffiti tags chiseled in marble. No building anywhere bears Mr. Feeney’s name. Among tycoons, he has been a countercultural figure of rare force, clinging to his privacy far more fiercely than to his money.

“He set up the philanthropies in Bermuda, in large part because that would allow him to escape United States disclosure requirements. That also meant he could not take tax deductions when he contributed his holdings.”

More recently, he decided to tell his story in order to encourage other people of means to share the wealth.

“Mr. Feeney, who grew up in a working-class family in Elizabeth, N.J., served as a radio operator in the United States Air Force and attended Cornell on the G.I. Bill. He sold liquor to sailors in ports, then formed a company that ran airport duty-free shops around the world. He secretly turned over the duty-free business to the philanthropies in 1984 and continued to invest. …

“He has given away essentially everything he has made, apart from decent, though not extravagant, provisions for his four daughters and one son. They all worked through college as waiters, maids and cashiers.

“ ‘I want the last check I write to bounce,’ Mr. Feeney said.”

Read the article.

“Charles F. Feeney, 81, has already given away $6 billion through his foundations.” Photograph: Brad Vest, NY Times

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