News & Scoops

2009 July 2

Class with Donatella

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Donatella Versace and a child from the Starlight Children's Foundation Donatella Versace and a child from the Starlight Children's Foundation
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(NEW YORK) A new flock of chicsters was born today at the Whitney Museum of American Art, as an unlikely teacher led 30 kids in an art project--Donatella Versace. The designer was on hand to launch Art Unites, a global initiative benefitting Starlight Children’s Foundation, an organization dedicated to brightening the lives of seriously ill children and their families in the United States, and the One Foundation in China, which fosters the long-term recovery of the areas devastated by last year’s earthquakes in the Sichuan province. Art Unites will provide canvas and art supplies to 500 children from Starlight and 900 children from the One Foundation, who will create original drawings that will be made into a one-of-a-kind Versace canvas tote bag, sold worldwide at Versace boutiques and on Wednesday's event kicked off the initiative, with 30 children from Starlight creating their bags with Versace on hand.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what you do today. It should come from your heart!” Versace told the children after being introduced by Whitney director Adam Weinberg, Versace’s partner in the project. Weinberg and Versace will lead a panel in judging the bags when they're all finished, and one from each charity will be selected to be featured in Versace’s runway show in September. “Everyone who’s doing this, every one they do is going to be one bag, so everybody’s a winner,” said Versace while checking the students' work. “I worked with the One Foundation in China to save children after the earthquake. I think when children are involved in something like that, its very important to do something about it.”

“This is going to be tricky! I’m looking forward to it,” said Weinberg of the judging. “I’m trying not to pre-judge anything. It’s interesting because people think of kids' art as having a particular style to it, certain repetitions, but actually they go in very different directions. I think there will be more diversity than one would think.” He looked around at the progress in the room. “It looks like we’re not getting 30 rainbows!” As for Versace, her judging criteria was simple. “It’s going to be difficult. I’m going to go not for talent, but for emotion.”

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