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Art For Life: Where In The World Is Mariah Carey?

Originally Posted: August 01, 2012

Thomas McKee

I'll get this out of the way: Mariah Carey was not present during the red carpet portion of "Art for Life."

The 13th annual East Hampton benefit for Rush Philanthropic - a pet-project initiative of media mogul Russell Simmons, and his artist brother, Danny Simmons - raises money for arts education geared towards inner-city public school children, and Ms. Carey, along with husband Nick Cannon were guests of honor at this year's proceedings, earning recognition for their ongoing support of the organization.

And though no photographic evidence exists of Ms. Carey at the event - hosted at Simmons' East Hampton estate - we learn from her Twitter account that she arrived safely and well-coiffed, at an exceedingly fashionable 90-minutes late.

But we forgive her. After all, rain is not conducive to "festive" floor-length frocks (her terminology) and teams of unpaid interns commissioned to fan her with palm fronds, for college credit, of course.

We're totally kidding about the last part.

Even without the world-class diva manning the helm, "arts education" was the buzzword of the evening, where a powerhouse congregation - including Jill Zarin, Star Jones, Joseph "Rev Run" Simmons, Angela Simmons, LA Reid, Rodney Jerkins, Baby Face, and honorees Tamia & Grant Hill along with Marc Leder (and more) - braved the wet weather in gracious support of the cause.

A moment of silence for the many brave Louboutin's that stuck in the mud.

The packed itinerary included performances from Grammy-winner Anita Baker, Melanie Fiona, Salt-N-Peppa, and heir-to-the-throne, Diggy Simmons. CNN anchor and "Art for Life" master-of-ceremonies Soledad O'Brien kept the program moving, with a jam-packed silent auction highlighting experiences with Lady Gaga, Sarah Jessica Parker, Josh Groban, John Legend, Magic Johnson, Cee Lo Green and others, along with donated works from prominent contemporary artists.

But in the midst of the pomp and paparazzi, Ms. O'Brien kept the cause a top priority.

"I have four kids," she told Hamptons.com, and though I value mathematics and reading, quality of life is about art and music. It develops your imagination, creativity, and helps you build confidence as a child," she said, referencing how playing a musical instrument is a requirement in her household.

For co-founder, Danny Simmons, the work produced by the children of Rush inspires his own work as an artist.

"We have kids who have been with us for years," he told us. "This just started as an idea. To see what's it's become is a tremendous source of pride."

Even ex-housewife and Rush co-chair Jill Zarin - ever-a-sparkle in a floor-length Alice + Olivia gown - managed to offer her two cents on the work provided by the organization, after plugging her newly launched Jill Zarin Jewelry Collection and Skweez Couture Shapewear, naturally.

"It's a great cause because it helps raise money. The public school system does not have enough money for art supplies, and that's what 'Art for Life,' is all about: helping underprivileged kids get the things they need to live up to their potential."

To bid in the silent auction (live until Wednesday, August 8th), visit CharityBuzz.com/AFL2012

For more information, click here.

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