“To protect biodiversity, we have to work simultaneously on many fronts. It’s all connected—from South America to Africa and to every other continent.” – Doug Tompkins, honoree at the 21st Annual Artists for Africa Benefit
Imagine the undertaking of protecting 250,000 acres of forest—an area 300 times the size of New York’s Central Park—through a network of 146 villages in eight mountain and coastal regions. This is the ambition of the African Rainforest Conservancy (ARC), the only U.S. non-profit organization that is exclusively dedicated to preserving Tanzania’s forests. ARC works alongside its field partner, the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG), to promote advocacy, participatory forest management (PFM), environmental education, community development, and biological research.
On Wednesday, April 11, ARC is hosting its 21st Annual Artists for Africa Benefit to support ARC’s mission of promoting the conservation of Tanzania’s Eastern Arc Mountains and Coastal Forests by empowering local communities to become the guardians of their forests. Event proceeds will provide core support for ARC’s grassroot conservation and community development programs in some of the oldest and most biodiverse forests in the world.
At the benefit, ARC will bestow the name of a newly discovered frog species in honor of Kris and Doug Tompkins’s lifelong passionate commitment to land conservation and environmental activism. The frog, whose name will officially be unveiled at the benefit, changes color from a milky white during the daytime to yellow with brown spots during the nighttime. It was discovered in the Nguru South and Nguu North Mountains of the Eastern Arc rainforest of Tanzania.
Across the planet, Kris and Doug Tompkins, who both left highly successful careers (Kris as long-time CEO of Patagonia and Doug as founder of Esprit and the North Face) to follow their passion for preservation efforts, have launched visionary programs that have preserved 2.2 million acres in Chile and Argentina—more than any other private individuals—and heightened attention to the devastation of disturbing these landscapes. Through foundations established by the Tompkins, the Conservation Land
Trust and Conservacion Patagonia, they have created two national parks with plans for three additional
parks in the works. Innovative programs focused on landscape restoration, endangered species research
and reintroduction, community outreach and eco-education are all part of their holistic approach, which is
helping to protect and restore wildlands, biodiversity, and healthy communities in ecologically critical
The event, hosted by ARC Advisory Board member Lauren Hutton, will include silent and live art auctions showcasing the works of over 40 celebrated artists—including William Abranowicz, Chris Dei, Gerald Forster, Chris Jordan, Carlo Mari, Arthur Meyerson, Jonnie Miles, Joseph Peter, Mirella Ricciardi, and Spencer Tunick—many of whom have graciously supported ARC over the years and will also be in attendance. This year’s art offerings will go beyond traditional photography to include paintings and works on paper by a number of local known and emerging artists, in an effort to drive home the idea that no matter where an artist calls home, he/she can play an important role in the conservation of Tanzania’s forests. Specialty items such as safari and luxury spa packages will also be among the auction lots.
The evening will also feature a choral performance by the New York City Master Chorale, who, under
Thea Kano’s artist direction, serendipitously planned a rain and water themed repertoire for their
forthcoming April 26th Lincoln Center concert—Water and Night—portions of which will be previewed
during the benefit.
The event begins at 6:00pm at the Prince George Ballroom in New York City. Dinner tickets are $500 and cocktail tickets are $125. Ticket packages and sponsorships are also available.To purchase tickets, visit www.africanrainforest.org or contact (212) 431-5508.