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Ed Harris And The Pollock-Krasner Foundation Honored At ’Stars Of Stony Brook Gala 2012’

Originally Posted: April 26, 2012

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Honoree Ed Harris, Pollock-Krasner Board Member Peggy Gelfond, and Richard Gelfond, CEO of IMAX Corporation. (Photo: Joe Strand)

New York City - Stony Brook University's 2012 "Stars of Stony Brook" Gala honored actor-writer-director and four-time Academy Award nominee Ed Harris and The Pollock-Krasner Foundation on Wednesday, April 25 at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York City, in celebration of the 100th birthday of abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock.

Honorees Charles Bergman and Ed Harris. (Joe Strand)

The fabulous evening included not only a cocktail party, delicious dinner, video and award presentations - even the New York City Fire Department put on an unexpected water display that had guests gathering on the pier - but most importantly raised funds (more than $3 million) for scholarships for in-need students at Stony Brook University to achieve their academic goals, and also allows the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center to continue its mission "To preserve and interpret the artists' (Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner) living and working environmment, promote scholarship and encourage creativity."

This was the 13th annual "Stars of Stony Brook" event, and since it was established in 2000, the Stony Brook Foundation has raised approximately $22 million, thus before a podium in front of a magnificent painting of Pollock's, Dr. Samuel Stanley, Stony Brook President, introduced a video highlighting the tremendous accomplishments of the Foundation, including personal and heartfelt thanks from grateful students, and was quite happy to report that the Pollock-Krasner Foundation generously offered a $1 million matching gift challenge grant that ensures the preservation of the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center - that goal was certainly met as this evening raised more than $3 million.

Jonathan Pollock, nephew of Jackson Pollock, and Helen Harrison, Director of the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center. (Joe Strand)

The Pollock-Krasner Foundation aides artists of recognizable merit worldwide who demonstrate financial need, and since its inception, has awarded 3,652 grants totaling more than $55.6 million to artists in 72 countries. It has also provided funds for general operations and scholarly programs to the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center.

Following a lively cocktail hour, the evening was emceed by James H. Simons, Ph.D, Chair Emeritus, Stony Brook Foundation, who delighted guests immediately with his humor, frankness and engaging stories.

Richard L. Gelfond, CEO of IMAX Corporation, Chairman of the Stony Brook Foundation Board of Trustees and Co-Chair with Simons of the event, provided large screens in the dining room so that the filled to capacity crowd could enjoy the evening. Gelfond's obvious enthusiasm for the evening was a pleasure to observe given the efforts he repeatedly puts forth on behalf of the Foundation as an alumni.

Accepting the honor on behalf of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Charles C. Bergman, Chairman and CEO of the Foundation, graciously acknowledged and thanked everyone involved with the House and Study Center, including the director Helen Harrison. He went on to thank those that had themed the evening, which was represented by hand-painted canvas tablecloths and paint cans filled with fresh flowers and a paintbrush - each and every detail, including the paint splattered red carpet that greeted guests upon arrival - was beautifully tended to.

Water show off Pier Sixty courtesy of NYFD. (Joe Strand)

Actor-writer-director and four-time Academy Award nominee Ed Harris made his cinema directing debut with "Pollock," in which he also starred as the painter - a role that earned him an Academy Award nomination in the Best Actor category. Since 1983, Harris has been married to actress Amy Madigan, who revealed in a video presented to guests that "Ed did all the painting in that film and worked incredibly hard - if a role requires you play the piano, then he will learn the piano." A very funny clip had actress Marcia Gay Harden casually waving the Academy Award she received for her portrayal of Lee Krasner in the film, among others included in the clip were "Pollock" co-star Jeffrey Tambor and producer Peter Brant.

James Trezza, one of the producers of "Pollock" and Laurie Davis Gray enjoy the cocktail party. (Joe Strand)

A humble (and probably exhausted) Harris began his thanks by indicating he had to leave before dessert "As I have to pull Annette Bening from the ocean tomorrow." The actor is on location and flew in and out of New York the same day in order to attend the event. Harris also revealed that his interest in Pollock was initially piqued by a book his father sent him when he was 36 years old. "I never intended to direct 'Pollock' and we looked at locations all over - but without the help of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation the film would never have been made." Gracious and thoughtful, Harris expressed his heartfelt thanks to both foundations for allowing him the opportunity to shoot on location in the Springs.

Further, "The Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center was established under the terms of Lee Krasner Pollock's (1908-1984) will. She instructed her executors to deed the property to a charitable institution. She envisioned it as 'a public museum and library,' to show the setting in which she and Jackson created many of their works, and as a place for the study of modern American art, especially the eastern Long Island art community. In 1987 the property was deeded to the Stony Brook Foundation, a private, non-profit affiliate of Stony Brook University. In preparation for interpreting the house and studio as the artists' living and working environment, it was learned that a new surface had been applied to the studio floor in 1953, during a major renovation in which the building was winterized. When that covering was removed, the original floorboards were found to be intact, complete with the remnants of Pollock's most famous poured paintings. The museum was opened to the public in June 1988." For more information go to www.pkhouse.org.

Group shot of Stony Brook Foundation and Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center members with honorees Ed Harris (top, middle) and Charles Bergman (seated, middle). (Joe Strand)

"The Stony Brook Foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation established in 1965 as the University's sole repository for philanthropic contributions from individuals, corporations, foundations, and other organizations in support of Stony Brook University. The Foundation administers the University's scholarship funds. Every dollar donated for scholarships goes directly to scholarships - no administrative fee is charged on scholarship accounts. For more information click below.

Also in attendance were Jonathan Pollock, Jackson Pollock's nephew; Dorothy Lichtenstein, President of the Roy Lichenstein Foundation, Peter Brant, publisher, real estate developer, art collector, and world-class polo player; and producer of the "Pollock" movie; model and actress Stephanie Seymour, who played artist Helen Frankenthaler in the "Pollock" film; Eric Hippeau, former CEO of Huffington Post, Peggy Bonapace Gelfond, wife of Richard Gelfond and Board member of the Pollock-Krasner House; James Trezza, art gallerist and also a producer of the "Pollock" movie; Tom Murro, television personality and his lively wife Kelly (our table rocked!), as well as numerous others who all came together for a magical evening of art, community and camaraderie for the benefit of two most notable and necessary foundations.

Stony Brook President Dr. Samuel Stanley seated on dias in front of a spectacular backdrop inspired by a Jackson Pollock painting. (Joe Strand)

For more information, click here.

Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.


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