Art, jazz and poetry filled the rooms of Al Mack’s home last Friday evening.

Mack, a Montgomery County influencer and music producer, recently opened his Elkins Park home to art enthusiasts of all ages.

Rather than produce a work of art in the studio, Mack chose to host and showcase live, visual, and interactive art with friends.

He serves on the board of directors for the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, co-founded by Danny Simmons, and had welcomed folks to his home on Friday to celebrate the Art For Life Philadelphia’s three-year milestone in Philadelphia.

The celebration is one of the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation’s largest fundraisers and art auction previews for Rush Arts Philly (RAP).

RAP is home to an art gallery and art programming space located in the Logan section of Philadelphia. With the support and funding from events such as Art for Life, RAP provides arts education programs for inner-city youth, free arts classes, and gallery programs for emerging artists and curators.

“We’re having a good time and letting people know we’re here [In Philadelphia],” said Danny Simmons, co-founder of the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation. “I’m new. I was in New York City for 22 years and now I’ve been here for three years. So I just want people to know we’re here in the community and bringing programs and opportunities that’s needed to our communities.

“This is an opportunity for artists who can relate to our community to exhibit their work and for Rush Arts Philly to expand arts and academics programming,” he added.

Every year, the organization recognizes someone for excellence in the arts. This year the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation honored Brooke Davis Anderson, Director at The Philadelphia Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) during the 2019 Art for Life celebration.

“She’s been a champion of diversity in the arts for at least 25 years,” Simmons said.

Davis’ husband graciously accepted the award on his wife’s behalf because she was ill and unable to attend. Although she was absent, the room felt her passion and presence as her husband read her hand-written acceptance letter and thank you remarks.

Guests received a first look of the #ArtForLifePhilly showcase.

“Tonight’s art auction preview is allowing us to come here to see some of the art on the wall that we’re going to have available,” said Taneshia Laird, president of the board of Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation. “The art was selected by either Danny or myself.

“Rush Arts Philly is absolutely committed to the community,” she added. “We have been in the community for several years now offering free art classes for children and seniors and we now have expanded into academics. Offering a math class. We are truly a steam organization and have been able to establish so many great partnerships.”

RAP, strives to fill a gap here in Philadelphia and its surrounding areas by providing a platform for artists of color and educating people of color by merging art with academics.

Contact Johann Calhoun at newseditor@phillytrib.com or call at (215) 893-5739

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