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Photos from Artfully AWARE Summer Gala

July 23, 2010

Photos by Michael Yorkes

The Artfully AWARE Summer Gala took place on June 29, 2010 on the 2nd floor of Moore Brothers Wine Company in NYC.

Melissa Kate, AfA’s United States Director, beautifully articulated the organization’s purpose when, in mid event, she gave a speech which compared this purpose to her grandfather’s loss of his sense of smell. She explained that just as her grandfather had a diminished life because he could not taste food or discern her grandmother’s perfume, traumatized people who become disconnected from the arts suffer loss too. She said that she works to reconnect people who loose their sense of the arts to their lost sense. She fosters people’s potential by advocating what she calls “sustainable empowerment” through the arts.

This exceedingly serious attention to traumatic loss of artistic appreciation to my mind addresses literary critic George Steiner’s book, Language and Silence: Essays on Language, Literature, and the Inhuman (which concerns the destruction of language in light of Nazi atrocity and concludes that twentieth century atrocity is unspeakable). I think that Melissa Kate—and AfA Executive Director, Hilary Wallis—use women’s language to update Steiner in a positive way for the twenty first century.

The evening was an interconnected multifaceted and multi-cultural masterpiece. There was a wine tasting, superbly talented multiethnic dance groups (provided by the “African Trans-World Performance Arts Ensemble” and the experimental pre-Hispanic “Zompanti”), and a silent auction of beautiful paintings and jewelry made by children in Uganda. (I loved the fact that AfA raises money—and empowers young artists–by turning the children’s art into postcards.)

Artfully Aware (AfA) uses the arts as a social improvement tool to promote the emotional recovery of people who have experienced trauma. The organization believes that the arts can promote positive change in communities throughout the world.

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