Rush Philanthropic Arts
This fall, Bombay Sapphire and Russell and Danny Simmons’ Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation teamed up to create the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series – a nationwide search to discover the next big names in both urban photography and multi-media art. During a series of regional gallery events, 20 artists from these two categories were shortlisted and invited to Miami for a grand finale event during Art Basel.
After much deliberation, a jury panel which included Rush Philanthropic co-founders Russell and Danny Simmons, the program’s national curator Andre Guichard, photographer Eric Henderson and Marc Ecko selected Washington, DC photographer Stan Squirewell and Miami artist Jorge Cavalier as the first ever winners of the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series.
The finale event, held December 4 at Miami Beach’s Paris Theater, featured a wide range of work from the talented artists and photographers who participated in the Artisan Series. As they sipped signature Bombay Sapphire cocktails, guests danced to music spun by DJ D-Nice and enjoyed a high-energy performance by Miami’s New Century Dance Company. Just prior to the announcement of the winners, Artisan Series program curator Andrew Giuchard called the top 20 onto the stage, all of whom were met with thunderous applause from the crowd. Rush Philantropic co-founder Danny Simmons addressed the finalists saying, “I’ve been making art for years and I still consider myself an emerging artist,” encouraging the group to continue evolving and growing as artists. Finally, Russell Simmons took the stage and, after commending each of the artists on their “deeply personal” work, Simmons announced Squirewell and Cavalier as the winners. Squirewell’s acrylic on pigment print is titled The Carbon Anomaly and Cavalier’s dramatic three piece sculpture comes from a series titled Labyrinths.
Of his win, Cavalier said, “Art Basel is one of the largest art fairs in the world. Having the opportunity to show my work here was amazing and to win tonight is more than I could have imagined.”
Squirewell added, “This level of exposure is one of the most important things an artist could ask for. I’m thrilled to be recognized as a winner tonight and am looking forward to bringing my work to New York.”
In partnership with Marc Ecko’s Complex magazine, emerging artists were invited to enter the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series by creating a piece of inspired, original art. In its first year, the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series received nearly 2,000 submissions from artists across the United States. Submissions were judged by an esteemed panel, and selected artists were invited to have their work displayed at gallery events in Washington DC, Detroit, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Atlanta and New York City.
The partnership between Bombay Sapphire and Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation evolved from Bombay Sapphire brand’s longstanding support of the arts, especially in the Miami locale. Bombay Sapphire has had an ongoing presence at Art Basel Miami Beach over its nine year lifespan, matched more recently by its involvement with the new Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, of which Sapphire and its parent company, Bacardi, are both key donors.
Commenting on the union, Brand Manager Richard McLeod said, “We were so impressed by the talented artists that participated in this year’s Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series. Both Bombay Sapphire and Rush Philanthropic are committed to continuing this program and building on the success that we saw in this inaugural year.”