This year marks the 125th Anniversary of Henry Street Settlement, a poverty-fighting organization that has been a leading voice for the most vulnerable New Yorkers.
Known for his remarkable cartoon sculptures and distinctive colorful illustrations, artist KAWS worked alongside a team of young artists through Henry Street Settlement to design six neon colored container labels, which were unveiled at the organization’s Cinematheque benefit party. The artist invited the kids from the organization into his artist studio, where they painted over several of his silkscreens with the popcorn theme in mind. “It was a great opportunity to meet the students and have them by my studio,” Kaws commented on the experience. “You get creatives around each other, and I think it’s inspiring.”
The evening also included a band performance on the upper level of the arthouse cinema. Artists such as Raymond Pettibon, Stella Schnabel, Greta Lee and Rachel Antonoff made an appearance at the event. Hosted by Metrograph, many of the guests were more than happy to share just how much Henry Street has impacted them. Fashion designer Rachel Antonoff had her first fashion show at the Henry Street Playhouse. Reminiscing, Antonoff recalled her experience with them, “Everyone was so lovely and so excited to help a young person do something interesting and I’ll never forgot that.” This organization provides the support that many young artists need. Instead of looking away as many people do, the Henry Street Settlement has consistently offered a guiding hand. Actress Tavi Gevinson spoke to us about why art was uniquely bred in NYC. “In New York’s history especially, when you trace the different types of art, not just fine art but street art, and music, you find a character of different generations and neighborhoods.” Praising the Henry Street organization she remarked, “They’re such an important part of New York history!”
Henry Street Settlement opens numerous doors of opportunity for Lower East Side residents and other New Yorkers through social services, arts, and health care programs.“I think it’s important for youth to be able to have the creative outlet as an escape from the turmoil we deal with on a day to day,” said Ryan Craven, “That carries through as kids get older. It’s important to carry that not only as kids but into adulthood”. For many, art provides that sense of an escape the we all seek. With the support shown at the event it was evident that many relied on art for purposes such as this. Actress Greta Lee exclaimed,“Art is so important! Without it we’d be dead, truly!”
KAWS has partnered with Henry Street to help raise money for their cause. An auction which includes 3 pieces by artist KAWS, hosted by Paddle8 and benefiting Henry Street Settlement, is live to bidders worldwide through May 23rd here: https://paddle8.com/auction/henry-street-settlement