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AOL Time Warner and In Style magazine's Helping Hands II: Handmade in America online auction kickoff party was one of a string of recent events at the brand-new American Folk Art Museum on West 53rd Street (just down the block from the Museum of Modern Art). Since it first opened at the beginning of the month, the space has hosted a full schedule of events, according to Stephen Kennard, owner of Canard Inc., who runs the museum cafe and is the museum's contract caterer.
The unusual new museum, designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien and Associates, is a raw, industrial space of gray concrete with soaring walls that compel the museumgoer (or partygoer, in this case) to look upwards at the huge skylights and staircases that spiral above. The event's decor mimicked the venue's industrial starkness by fashioning bars and a mini-stage with shiny textured steel plates. Downstairs, Fandango Productions displayed the online auction items against panels of green corrugated fiberglass.
The online auction, hosted by AOL in partnership with Ebay.com and NetworkforGood.org, features celebrity crafted items such as original artwork by Muhammad Ali, Halle Berry and John Travolta; a t-shirt signed by Britney Spears; golf balls decorated by Michael Douglas; and pillows decorated by Kristin Davis. Each celeb who provided an item will donate the proceeds their item raises to a World Trade Center charity of their choice.
Approximately 400 guests attended the event, and were later treated to a performance by Alaskan folk princess--and Atlantic Records recording artist Jewel.