Ubuntu Art Charity Benefit Hosted by Russell Simmons' Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation – festive African beats, exotic art and African-inspired cocktails!

On March 1st, 2012 at the historic LA Artcore Gallery & Art Center, Russell Simmons' Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation hosted the Ubuntu Charity Benefit which was a live art auction and film screening featuring emerging African artists.  A portion of the proceeds will benefit African Artists in the "Artist in Residency" program at Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation. Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, a non-profit organization is dedicated to empowering emerging and underrepresented artists.

LA Artcore Gallery & Art Center


The benefit took place at the historic LA Artcore, which was an abandoned Japanese union church recently transformed into a non-profit art center which is dedicated to developing the careers of visual artists from diverse cultural backgrounds and bringing innovative contemporary art to the public.

LA Artcore Gallery & Art Center

Sanjini and guests

Event organizers Gloria Huwiler and Tulsi Karpio produced the Ubuntu Charity Benefit. Gloria Huwiler is an actress and philanthropist dedicated to promoting performing and fine artists from Africa. Raised in Zambia, she has a deep commitment to developing artistic work from Africa. Tulsi Karpio has worked extensively in the art and philanthropic worlds, curating and promoting Latin American Art.

Event partners, Supperclub, coordinated the food and entertainment for the evening with exquisite hors d’oeuvres and African-inspired specialty cocktails from sponsors Remy Martin, Highland Park, The Macallan and Brugal. Jennifer Anderson and Staci Smith presented a table of delectable African-inspired cupcakes from their Cupcake Cuties Cupcakery.


In addition to the artwork, Ford Models partnered with LA designer Mike Vensel to create an African inspired fashion installation, while music and dance troupe Balle Fette bu Senegal performed live. Each guest received a complimentary gift bag from Blissmo, filled with unique eco-friendly products.

Music and Dance Troupe Balle Fette bu Senegal


Music and Dance Troupe Balle Fette bu Senegal

The fundraising portion of the benefit featured an art-themed live auction benefiting the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation’s Artist in Residency program. For one year, an African artist will be chosen to train and gain exposure at the Rush Galleries in New York, made possible by the Artist in Residency opportunity. The exhibit and live auction featured pieces from Los Angeles artist Azul “213” Amaral, local artist/actor Rockmond Dunbar, award winning Zambian artists Mwamba Mulangala, Starry Mwaba, Vincentio Phiri, Lutanda Mwamba, Geoffrey Phiri, veteran artist and curator William Bwalya Miko, and Zambian sculptors The Zeta Brothers and Rikki Lungu.

African Art Displayed in the LA Artcore Gallery


African Art displayed in the LA Artcore Gallery

The screening of critically acclaimed BAFTA-nominated short film ‘Mwansa The Great’ took place following the live auction. It was a heart-felt and inspiring film. Zambian writer, director and producer Rungano Nyoni took us on a journey through the eyes of a Zambian boy, showing the spirit of love along with the sadness and hardships of growing up in Africa. ‘Mwansa The Great’ premiered in March 2011 at Cineposible Film Festival and has been awarded twelve prizes and two jury special mentions. The film has made appearances at more than fifty film festivals worldwide.

Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation is dedicated to providing inner-city youth with significant exposure and access to the arts, and to offering exhibition opportunities for underrepresented artists and artists of color. Rush was founded in 1995 by three brothers: Danny Simmons, visual artist and community builder; media mogul Russell Simmons; and Joseph “Rev. Run” Simmons of the legendary hip-hop group Run-DMC. Rush Education programs directly serve 2,300 students annually. In addition, each year Rush exhibits the work of 40 to 50 emerging and community-based artists in its galleries; welcomes over 10,000 gallery visitors; and provides unique opportunities for young people interested in careers in the arts. Rush currently operates galleries and arts education programs at Rush Arts Gallery in Manhattan and Corridor Gallery in Brooklyn.


LA Artcore Union Center for the Arts 

120 Judge John Aiso St.

Los Angeles, CA 90012



Sanjini is a Writer (Published Author), Actress and Martial Artist.


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