Our first ever benefit, Azuero on the Harbor – a Huge Success

An enthusiastic crowd of more than 300 AEP supporters gathered on September first for a live concert and picnic at the East Hampton home of renowned artist Cindy Sherman.

The sold-out fundraiser was chaired by AEP Board Member Alexander Vreeland and featured performances by music legends Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Rufus Wainwright, and Suzanne Vega. Actor Bob Balaban, our superb Master of Ceremonies, was assisted by the event’s effervescent Music Producer Jenni Muldaur. Panama’s salsa superstar and former Minister of Tourism Rubén Blades, who was scheduled to perform with his wife Luba Mason, had to cancel at the last moment due to a travel conflict, but sent a message of support. Prominent figures from the worlds of design, architecture, philanthropy, publishing, the arts, and environmental conservation enjoyed the fabulous setting, great food, and uniquely special performances. Among these guests were luminaries from the world of fashion, Calvin Klein, Isaac Mizrahi, Nicole Miller, Rogan Gregory, Julie Gilhart, Bruce Weber, Stefano Tonchi and Katherine Ross; acting, Gina Gershon and Gaby Hoffmann; art, Eric Fischl, Ross Bleckner, Mary Heilmann, Teresita Fernandez, David Maupin and Lisa Phillips; and lifestyle, Martha Stewart.

Every guest received a Loomstate T shirt, an embroidered woolen throw made especially for the event by Sabine for Maharem, and a bracelet from “made with love.” Both were limited editions made especially for the Azuero on the Harbor event, where we also premiered our new video by Red Bucket Films.

The AEP also commissioned a set of six bone china plates for the benefit with images by celebrated artists Richard Prince, Ed Ruscha, April Gornik, Teresita Fernandez, Mary Heilmann, and Maya Lin which appeared in the New York Times on August 30, were produced by Lenox, and are available on our website or stores at the New Museum and Gagosian Gallery.

Funds raised at this event will have a major impact on AEP’s momentum, outreach, and organizational capacity as we head into our third program year on our base on the Azuero Peninsula of Panamá, a “living laboratory” and microcosm of the first-world problems assaulting rapidly emerging tropics that will serve to illuminate innovative solutions to complex problems that are occurring elsewhere. “The solutions we develop in Panama,” said AEP President and co-founder, Edwina von Gal, will work in communities throughout the world.” AEP’s newly redesigned website also features advanced mapping technologies and community organization tools to identify challenges and generate impact.

The event raised over $375,000, exceeding expectations. Contributions from our guests and sponsors will be used to:

• Bring talented scientists and students to the Azuero Peninsula to undertake research associated with core AEP programs;

• Design and construct a model recycling facility and education center using sustainable materials and energy efficient design that will serve as a replicable model for communities worldwide. An instruction manual will be available on our website;

• Create a network of gardens in schools and communities to test heat-tolerant and disease-resistant vegetable varieties and to provide training in eco agriculture;

• Advance our goal of creating a biological corridor across the Azuero, connecting remnant forest patches through experimental reforestation methods, providing innovative income potential to landowners, and habitat for endangered species;

• Continue to grow our field station-library-office in Pedasí as a center for research, training, and education.

• Continue to build a world-wide culture of environmentally sound behavior: the Red Verde (the green network)

To read more and see photos of the event, check out our press coverage at New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Art Info, La Prensa, La Prensa, Revista K, East Hampton Press, and the New York Observer, and BFA photos. Our sponsors included Maharam textiles, Dedon furniture, Loomstate, Lenox, W Magazine, Bedell Vineyard, Ron Abuelo Panamá, Organic Avenue, Luca Bosco Ice Cream, Bai 5, and Steinway & Sons.


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