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Publicolor’s Stir, Splatter + Roll Gala Helps Students Paint A Path To College

Lee Fryd

Nicole Miller decorates goodie bags with students. (Photo: Annie Watt)

Walking into the Publicolor Stir, Splatter + Roll Gala, we saw kids painting goodie bags along the room, original art for supporters to keep. This year's Gala, held at the Metropolitan Pavilion, raised nearly 1.3 million dollars for the charity Ruth Lande Shuman started in 1996 to improve NYC public schools and communities.

Shocked by low-income students' failing test scores, high drop-out rates, and dreary facilities, the deteriorated environment of most schools in low-income neighborhoods, and how these were negatively affecting the performance of teachers and students alike, she started the Paint Club program. Organizing struggling students to paint their schools' interiors so they'd be warm, welcoming and visually stimulating. And she didn't stop there! A multi-day multi-year continuum of project-based learning programs ensured, thereby empowering hundreds of their students, to be successful in school, work, and life. Now, 21 years later, Publicolor has painted 227 middle and high schools, 214 community sites and playgrounds, awarded 256 students multi-year college scholarships (132 scholarships this year alone), and worked with 23,000 volunteers. And been recognized twice at the White House with national awards.

This year's Gala celebrated Deven Parekh and his wife, Monika, for their invaluable leadership and their steadfast generosity, and Barbara and Donald Tober in recognition of all their work to advance design and education in NYC. A posthumous award was given to the distinguished design consultant and founding board member of Publicolor Jeffrey J. Osborne. A special Catalysts for Change Award was presented to the architects Diller Scofidio and Renfro for their incredible work changing the landscape of NYC with Elizabeth Diller accepting the award.

Aaron Green, Brenda Reingold, Suzanne Tick, Ruth Lande Shuman, Len Ferro, and Diane Martel. (Photo: Annie Watt)


The lively evening began with painting stations, colorful cocktails, and a silent auction that included artworks from Christo and Mark di Suvero. This year's featured speaker was NYC School Chancellor Carmen Fariña who praised Publicolor's programs and determination to make college an attainable goal for all students.

Aaron Green, Mill Account Manager, Antron Fiber; Scott Patton, Director Business Development, Antron Fiber; Suzanne Tick, Suzanne Tick Inc.; Len Ferro, President, Tandus Centiva; Diane Martel, VP Environmental Planning and Strategy, Tarkett North America presented a check of $157,799.85 to Ruth Lande Shuman, for the non-profit's Summer Design Studio. The three companies, Antron Fiber, Suzanne Tick Inc., and Tandus Centiva, annually donate proceeds from education flooring sales to Publicolor's Summer Design Studio program.

For more information about Publicolor, visit publicolor.org.


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