The ChaShaMa Gala
With enormous thanks to Madeleine Schachter Arts we had the pleasure of attending the ChaShaMa Gala on the 66th and 67th floor of One World Trade in Manhattan last night, June 13, 2019. What an experience!
ChaShaMa supports artists by partnering with property owners to transform unused real estate into spaces for artists to create, present, and connect.
ChaShaMa has awarded $8.6 million worth of real estate to artists, has subsidized 200 artist studios, provided 180 free art classes, and given 150 artists free space to present in. ChaShaMa are on a creative mission and we were thrilled to be able to support the organization by attending the gala.
From the moment we arrived our senses were engaged in such a powerful way. We felt as though we stepped into Alice in Wonderland, entering a world of wonder, delight, and curiosity, where our thoughts, values, and beliefs were turned upside down.
We instantly forgot the challenges of the day, the challenges of tomorrow, and we were so present in what we were doing and so engaged with what was in front of us.
Over 150+ artists were there creating and performing. It was a magnificent and eye-opening spectacle of sights, sounds, and creativity. The evening fueled our imagination and we found ourselves interacting with art in ways we didn’t expect. Guests took part in all sorts of ways from visiting the happiness lab, to entering the blue school with a floor of bubble wrap, and bowls of luminous rice and slime, to exploring what images our minds make, becoming part of a 3D moving black and white checkered living sculpture, all while being wowed by costumes, attire, sounds, displays, food, and drinks.
Our first wow happened when we stepped out of the elevator to see the city of New York in full day time splendor. A large piece of red fabric lay on the floor in front of the view giving a dramatic effect in its own right. We later learned the fabric had been the dress of an artist. A moment in time captured and left on the floor for us to imagine how that had all unfolded.
We took another elevator, still higher, to the 66th floor, where we were greeted by trees (well we thought they resembled trees). Not a usual greeting you’d expect, but 100% a WOW - and of course with our love for Birch trees we couldn’t help but take a photo.
The experience of WOW just kept unfolding as we walked around the unused space of the 66th floor that had been turned into a living art form of an immersive and extraordinary experience gala.
With our phones in hand, yet being mindful (self reflective) to just enjoy what was in front of us and not snap a photo every two seconds we meandered and engaged with artists and creations.
We marveled at the creativity and wanted to capture moments in sight and sound for future review, so we gave ourselves permission to have moments of being feverishly snap happy.
We noticed touches of thoughtfulness (considering others) from the moment we walked in. On arrival, instead of the typical paper event wristbands, the organizers opted for ribbon ones, which were so much more comfortable, and considerably more stylish! We suspect quite a few guests are still walking around NYC today with them on, and as they glance down recount memories to themselves and smile, or even share stories with those that ask about the red ribbon.
Creating curiosity keeps an event going even after it’s finished. Providing a doorway for others to share a conversation.
The event team deserves a special mention. We know, it takes a lot to prepare and put on something like this. From all the teams behind the scenes, to those front of house, the registration desk, coat check, security teams and building teams, and to catering teams. Everyone we interacted with was so polite, pleasant, and professional. Not an air of pretense or arrogance present, and we noticed how engaging, accommodating, and genuinely considerate of their guests the staff were. In fact, one chap who had served us desserts on the 67th floor was later at the coat check on the ground floor. We asked if he had an identical twin or whether he was actually the one upstairs? He seemed delighted that we remembered him and we both exchanged a connected conversation and a sense of ‘I see you, you matter’ took place, leaving us both feeling lighter and more joyful when the conversation concluded.
On the whole, conversations either leave you feeling elated or depleted, and that one definitely left us elated.
Let’s talk about the space. What a space it was! One World Trade is poignant for many reasons as we know, so traveling 60+ floors up we were greeted with soul stirring views of the Manhattan skyline. We enjoyed the vista from day to dusk to night as the city moved from its gray tone to strings of sparkly lights. Then as if on cue the clouds rolled in with rain right before our eyes, almost as if the weather knew it needed to put on a show given what was going on.
The evening included a silent auction to inspire further connection and raise funds to support the mission of ChaShaMa. We were thrilled to find a Birch Cove favorite designer, Duchess of Cameron with an especially prepared cake on display as part of the auction (see the video).
Much of the art at the gala was interactive, from stepping into a defined space, participating in the display in some form, or observing and wondering what the artist was wanting to communicate, and whether their intentions and expressions were being seen, heard, and felt.
Overall there was an incredible sense of openness and curiosity, whether you liked or didn’t like the art there was a shared sense of wonder and an appreciation for what had been prepared, created, performed, and explored.
Guests were treated to drinks and food throughout the evening, where the 67th floor had been crafted into a spacious and welcoming dining area to enjoy delicious food. A variety of food options on offer, and while we chatted about what we’d seen so far, we enjoyed a dinner of roast chicken, perfectly chopped little gem salad (not a giant salad leaf in sight that we had to wrestle onto the fork - thank you, we noticed.), tortellini, roasted fingerling potatoes and olive rolls, before mini desserts came waltzing out around guests, and of course we couldn’t resist but try one, or two, or three. All of this while artists continued to perform.
On reflection, it was an evening that inspired our imagination, offered us the chance to experience something extraordinary by witnessing the talent of individuals on their creative journey, while learning something new about ourselves and others, as we interacted with things we never imagined before.
We found new levels of appreciation for both art and real estate.
We saw how powerful the two are when they join forces and create a living, breathing experience for one night only. On waking this morning the thought did cross my mind as to whether it was real or if I’d dreamt the whole thing, fortunately I have my phone to remind me that it did happen!
Congratulations to all the artists that performed and created a superb evening for your guests. Thank you and congratulations to the ChaShaMa organization for finding ways to create engagement and support artists through the spectacle of unused real estate.
One very successful evening!