We sat down with one of chashama’s Board Members, Cindy Scholz, for a Q & A about the role of art personally and professionally. Cindy is a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson at Urban Compass, and an avid art collector who started by finding pieces in the city’s underground art scene. She talks about the importance of forming a personal connection with both the artwork and the artists.
How did you start collecting? Do you have a certain theme in your collection?
I started collecting in college. Reflective of my budget, or lack thereof. I started by picking up street art downtown. I would love to shop on West Broadway. My collection expanded as I got older. Mixed in with my street art I have wonderful Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Keith Haring prints. My taste in art is definitely modern; I tend to gravitate to pop art and graffiti art.
What do you look for when purchasing art?
I like pieces that can solicit a conversation among mixed company.
What influences your decisions?
Being ADHD my thoughts are all over the place. Often times the memories and feelings I associate with a certain piece are not abundantly apparent. I like pieces that can elicit a certain feeling or bring back a fond memory.
How important is it for you to meet the artist who created the work?
I find meeting the artist, or having studied them, plays a major deciding factor what I purchase. I think knowing the artist’s personality, brings energy to a piece. Artists that I have been fortunate enough to meet have only added to the appeal of the art.
Can you give our readers your take on the role of the arts in real estate?
Art has become a major marketing tool for new developments. Developers are commissioning artist to build custom pieces for their buildings, since it helps to create and portray the personality of the building. It is not uncommon for artists to be part of a design team commissioned by a developer. Modern Art is just another connection to the world of luxury buyers. When selling luxury properties you are selling a lifestyle. You want your product to be relatable and feel like home.
Sales offices are often like galleries. You enter an open space with beautiful renderings of what will be constructed. A vital part of the visit is being able to elicit certain feelings from a buyer and help them develop a vision. You must create an experience for them. I often say selling Real Estate is very similar to selling art. In having experience in both I can speak to the broad similarities.
Why is your role as a chashama board member important to you?
I truly feel it is one of the best charities in NYC. Art is the heartbeat of NY. It is not just in galleries or on canvas. As real estate prices continue to soar we need to keep art and artists here at home. I could not believe a charity existed that married two things I love so dearly; art and real estate. In the past year I moved my team to Urban Compass. It was the best decision I ever made. I was guided by fellow board members, who are prominent figures in NYC Real Estate. I feel very lucky to sit beside them. In turn the collaborative environment of Urban Compass has allowed me to cultivate relationships with major developers that have potential to donate space to chashama.
If you’ve lived in NYC for a while, chances are you’ve brushed shoulders with the city’s movers and shakers at exclusive conferences, luncheons and galas—but have you ever actually had fun at these gatherings? We bring to you our Top Ten List of what makes the annual chashama gala one of the most electrifying networking events to experience.
Dancers engage with passer-bys walking down 42nd street in Times Square.
1. Off the Beaten Path Venue: Anita’s Way
Located in the heart of Times Square (literally) Anita’s Way is a public plaza which lies between the Conde Nast Building and Bank of America Tower on 42nd Street. Passer-bys capture a glimpse into the chashama’s magical world. ”The space is transformed into an interactive experience and curated with work by our studio artists. The event embodies the organization’s mission of providing a place where creativity can flourish, and guests can literally become part of the show” says Anna Chan, chashama’s Special Events Manager.
Projections and aerialist, Robin Lynch kept guests looking up!
2. Ringing the NASDAQ Bell in Style
The gala day kicks off at 4PM with the NASDAQ Closing Bell ceremony, which is broadcast in Times Square to thousands of onlookers. “It’s a great honor to be able to bring our artists to NASDAQ,” says chashama founder, Anita Durst, in the most graceful of manners, as she parades an entourage of people dressed in neon leotards, sequins and feathers into the Stock Market Headquarters. It’s a pretty ingenious way to bring quirky creativity to one of the city’s most high-powered environments..
Anita Durst and chashama artists bring life to the NASDAQ closing bell ceremony
3. Artists in their Element: An Iconic NYC Nightlife Experience
The gala paid tribute to Manhattan’s heyday, when clubs like Limelight and Palladium were stomping grounds for electrifying nightlife culture. Performers included Muffinhead, fire artists, Flambeaux Fire, members of The House of Yes, and aerialist Robin Lynch, who pranced around the party mingling with guests.
The goddesses of Flambeaux Fire had just returned from the weekend-long Unifier Festival in CT three hours before donning custom made human candleabra costumes
Renowned NYC artist, Muffinhead, graced the event in fuzzy attire with a fellow performing artist sitting on his shoulders all night. Catch him at the upcoming Suzanne Bartsch show on June 26
4. Delirious Hair Designs
One of the many booths at the party, offered free and fabulous hair sculptures for guests to enjoy. The ladies’ bathroom turned into a never-ending runway show, as guests oohed and aahed upon entering and instagrammed their hairdos. Even the bald heads couldn’t resist a sexy piece by Delirious Hair Designs
Group selfie in the ladies’ room
Some heads even glowed in the dark…
5. Dress Code: Carnivale meets Runway Chic
A majority of the guests were artists, performers, and fashionistas in daring outfits, making it quite alright for the business crowd to let loose and express themselves too
Anita Durst introducing Honoree, Patricia Lopinski, VP of Chicago Title Insurance Company, along with chashama studio artists, Alberte Bernier, Roy Secord, and Sandra Spannan
Blogger, Souleo with Beau McCall….that is one cool necklace
6. Share a Hug
There was a wall that hugged people…enough said.
7. Branded Experiences
Despite the shock factor of some of chashama’s more avant garde choices in programming, there was a lot of smart talk about digital marketing, experiential marketing and creating opportunities to engage artists in interactive campaigns. Thought leaders in the mix included Jen Lyon, founder of Meanred Productions and Richard Bukowski, Director of Emerging Media at Branded Cities, which owns 53,000 square feet of shared digital ad space in NYC.
Tanqueray, one of the evening’s sponsors, represented by marble sculpture by artist and gala guest, Robin Antar
8. Bust a Dance Move
Artist, Adira Amram and her backup dancers, set up a “Dance-oke Photobooth”. Just spin the wheel, and bust a move while people take hilariously awkward photos of you. A far cry from the typical “elbow out” pose in front of a red carpet step and repeat.
Spin the wheel to select a song…
Dance it out with your very own back up dancers!
9. Progressive Dialogue between NYCs Top Industry Leaders
Perhaps the trick to having a meaningful conversation in a room full of power-players and creative geniuses is to don strange headgear and dance with giant fuzzy creatures. The chashama gala brought out over 450 guests, plus an afterparty hosted by SeeMe, with a line that ran down the block. Among the guests were executives and members of some of NYC’s top real estate companies, including Frank Knight, Forest City Ratner, Rockrose Development, Newmark, Buchbinder and Warren Group, the Greater Jamaica Development Corp. and the Durst Organization. This annual event is reminder of the value of creativity in defining NYC’s cultural future as business and the arts intersect.
Gala guests wave out to a NY Rangers fans on double-decker tour bus
10. Awesome prizes for online charity auction
chashama’s visionary mission is to give artists the space to create. You can support the cause by participating in a CharityBuzz online auction, with amazing luxury prizes such as weekend getaways, private hang gliding lessons, and makeovers.
Mark your calendar for next year’s emerald-themed gala, as chashama celebrates its 20th Anniversary!
chashama studio artist, Lisa Ingram, channeling Las Meninas
Check out more live shots on Instagram #chashama