Kate D. Levin and Theaster Gates. Photo Benjamin Lozovsky/BFAnyc.com

April 29, 2014 @ Gotham Hall

Under the neoclassical rotunda at Midtown Manhattan's Gotham Hall last night, Maine's Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture raised $700,000 and handed out its annual awards. [Update: The dinner raised an additional $200,000 to support Skowhegan's summer program, scholarships and new space in New York via an evening auction.] In attendance were art world power brokers like Thelma Golden, director of the Studio Museum in Harlem, Nicholas Baume, director of the Public Art Fund, and New York dealers such as Matthew Marks and Angela Westwater plus a healthy smattering of artists. Choreographer Stephen Petronio and artist Janine Antoni provided a dance performance.

Theaster Gates was awarded the Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture in the Expanded Field, delivered by artist Carrie Mae Weems. Kate D. Levin, former commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, took home an Exceptional Civic Leadership award, presented to her by artist Fred Wilson. Lucy Lippard received the Governors' Award for Outstanding Service to Artists, bestowed upon her by artist Joyce Kozloff. Collectors and philanthropists Louise & Leonard Riggio received the Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Award for Outstanding Patronage of the Arts, presented by artist Richard Serra.

"It's an incredible community, where you form bonds that last your whole life," painter Ellen Altfest told A.i.A.

"It's a safe place for artists to experiment freely," Queens Museum director and cultural affairs commissioner-to-be Tom Finkelpearl told A.i.A.

"For me, it all started at Skowhegan," artist Jacolby Satterwhite said.

The evening's proceeds go to support Skowhegan's nine-week summer program for emerging artists, held on its 350-acre campus in central Maine.