Press Release

The Gordon Parks Foundation Announces Annual Awards Dinner & Auction, Continuing the Legacy of Artist and Humanitarian Gordon Parks

Event Date: 
4 June 2019
Pleasantville, NY
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2019 Event Honors Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Chelsea Clinton, Carol Sutton Lewis and William M. Lewis, Jr., Raf Simons, and Kehinde Wiley

The Gordon Parks Foundation today announced its Annual Awards Dinner and Auction, celebrating Gordon Parks’ legacy and honoring those who continue his vision for social change through their work in the arts and humanitarianism. Taking place on June 4 at Cipriani 42nd Street, the event will honor Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Chelsea Clinton, Raf Simons and Kehinde Wiley. The Patron of the Arts Award will go to civic leaders and philanthropists Carol Sutton Lewis and William M. Lewis, Jr. In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the iconic photograph A Great Day in Hip-Hop, taken in Harlem by Gordon Parks, Questlove will give remarks.

The evening is co-chaired by Kenneth and Kathryn Chenault, Valerie Jarrett, Alicia Keys and Kasseem Dean, Karl Lagerfeld, Judy and Leonard Lauder, Ronald O. Perelman, and Alexander Soros. As part of the gala celebration, a group of Gordon Parks photographs will be auctioned with all proceeds from the evening to support the Foundation’s year-round artistic and educational programs.  

“At the core of The Gordon Parks Foundation’s work is the support of current and emerging leaders who carry on Parks’ legacy," said Peter W. Kunhardt, Jr., Executive Director of The Gordon Parks Foundation. “Through initiatives such as our scholarship and fellowship programs, as well as these annual awards, we continue to empower the next generation of change-makers and those who are current forces for social justice and the arts.”

Recognized as the most important African-American photographer of the twentieth century, Gordon Parks exposed the face of American poverty with empathy and dignity, using the arts to champion social change through his photography, film, music, and writing. For the past decade, The Gordon Parks Foundation has provided scholarships and fellowships to students and artists whose creative work reflects the mission and vision of Gordon Parks. The Gordon Parks Foundation Annual Awards Dinner and Auction supports this important and ongoing work. The Foundation also preserves Parks’ vast archive, produces scholarly publications, and partners with museums and schools around the world on exhibitions and programming, including the exhibition, Gordon Parks: The New Tide, Early Work 1940–1950, currently at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.


Full program details to be announced this spring. Tickets are available starting at $1,250. To purchase tickets, visit the Gordon Parks Foundation website, or contact Buckley Hall Events at or 914-579-1000. 



The Gordon Parks Foundation's mission is to permanently preserve the work of Gordon Parks, make it available to the public through exhibitions, books, and electronic media, and support artistic and educational activities that advance what Parks described as "the common search for a better life and a better world." The primary purpose of The Gordon Parks Foundation’s exhibition space is to present focused exhibits of Parks’ photography, as part of the Foundation's commitment to educating the public and preserving his work. 



Gordon Parks was a seminal figure of twentieth century photography. A humanitarian with a deep commitment to social justice, he left behind a body of work that documents many of the most important aspects of American culture from the early 1940s up until his death in 2006, with a focus on race relations, poverty, civil rights, and urban life. In addition, Parks was also a celebrated composer, author, and filmmaker who interacted with many of the most prominent people of his era - from politicians and artists to celebrities and athletes.


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