Gabé Hirschowitz: art and philanthropy
As part of our ongoing series with young influencers in Los Angeles, we exchanged emails with Gabé Hirschowitz, friend of a friend and quite a powerhouse in art and philanthropic circles. Gabé is the originating force behind UNICEF's Next Gen Art Party. Below is a lightly edited transcript of the conversation.
The Swell: Tell us about you.
Gabé: I grew up in Los Angeles, and I've been visiting art museums and gallery exhibitions since I was young. My parents and grandparents instilled in me a love and appreciation for the arts – photography, fine art, film, theater, and ballet. I graduated from USC in 2008 with a BA in Communication and Psychology. I interned in LA, London and NYC, at Carolina Herrera, Nina Ricci, Italian Vogue, Teen Vogue, and BWR Public Relations, and worked at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA) and Leslie Sacks Fine Art, Brentwood. I recently founded COLLECT ART + DO GOOD™, a unifying force for connecting art collecting with philanthropic causes. The official launch occurred in November 2016 at Soho House West Hollywood in collaboration with Simco's Club, benefiting Stand Up To Cancer’s groundbreaking cancer research.
The Swell: The idea for the UNICEF Next Gen Art Party was yours? How did you think to connect your philanthropy with your art background?
Gabé: I live to merge my passion for art with philanthropy to better the world for individuals in my community and around the world. Nothing embodies this more than our successful fundraising event in February 2015, UNICEF's Next Generation Art Party, for the Tap Project, an initiative that provides clean and safe water for children around the globe. The UNICEF Next Generation Art Party is now an annual event in Los Angeles.
As the founding chair of the NextGen Art Party, it is my priority to provide an opportunity for emerging and established artists to gain exposure and build relationships with young collectors in Los Angeles while offering a unique experience that celebrates UNICEF’s work via a fun art-focused evening. The Art Party’s successful fundraising efforts earned recognition from President Barack Obama in 2016. I focus my philanthropic efforts on standing as a strong advocate for keeping the arts alive in daily school curricula as well as in everyday life to encourage free expression and help those in need.
The Swell: What is the experience at Art Party like for you and the team, and for the attendees?
Gabé: I believe it is important to wake up every morning with a purpose. For me, the arts are a means of connecting the public with global humanitarian support. It’s an organic pairing of art and community. The Art Party committee is made up of a remarkable group of young professionals. It’s inspiring to hear others describe what brings fulfillment and joy into their lives. Everyone brings his or her own unique strengths and talents into the equation. Additionally, this art benefit would not be possible without the generosity of all participating artists and sponsors who donate their time, energy and creative visions. I enjoy surrounding myself with other passionate, innovative and kind people. I’ve noticed that many individuals who I’ve met through UNICEF Next Generation, as well as other organizations I’m involved with, share these remarkable qualities.
The Swell: How would you like Art Party to grow over the years?
Gabé: Since starting in Los Angeles three years ago, the NextGen Art Party has expanded to Chicago and Atlanta. I would be thrilled to see it flourish in more cities throughout the United States and around the globe. We are spreading awareness and knowledge about serious global issues affecting the world’s most vulnerable children. So, if we can continue to spread love, light, support and proper education, then I’ll be very happy. In a world where you can do so many things with technology, it seems everything is becoming a simple touch of a button. However, the one thing that cannot be replaced is true social and emotional connection. Genuine human connection and vulnerability remind us why we’re all here. It brings people closer together and it’s something I sincerely value and support.
The Swell: Looking forward to next year, who should attend?
Gabé: Everyone. Art is a universal language.
The Swell: What is your favorite part of the event?
Gabé: The committee and I start planning the Art Party six months ahead of time. I enjoy the whole process from beginning to end. Watching the Art Party come to life, one step at a time – it’s just magic! It’s about community building and spending time and effort on something larger than oneself.
This year, the NextGen Art Party supported the UNICEF Emergency Relief Fund worldwide. Additionally, March is World Water Month and the contribution to the Emergency Relief Fund allows UNICEF to continue to support water, sanitation and hygiene programs in over 100 countries throughout the world. Whether by delivering clean water after a disaster or promoting safe hygiene practices in schools, UNICEF is on the ground helping children in need, and our support helps UNICEF get there.