No Inhibitions

Free Arts NYC lives up to its name


Max Snow and Vanessa Traina   
more photos

Art loyalists gathered at Eyebeam in West Chelsea last night in support of Free Arts NYC, a nonprofit providing free art-related programming to at-risk inner-city children. Although the silent auction featured nearly a hundred works donated from friends of the organization—and one special limited-edition print from the evening's honoree, Richard Phillips—the real stars of the evening weren't present: the children with whom Free Arts works. Phillips recently spent a day in East Harlem painting portraits with some of them. He told, "I've been in New York since 1986, and being with those kids was one of the most inspiring things that's happened to me. I've seen a lot of things, but this was such an outpouring of creative energy."

What Phillips found most inspiring was the lack of inhibition these children possess, something Free Arts tries to tap into with its programs. Said executive director Liz Hopfan: "Our motto is that there are no mistakes in art. Hanging in my office I have my first finger painting ever. My mother framed it—and it looks like brown mush!"

Subscribe to today!