Benefit auctions for cultural institutions often entice prospective patrons with unique items or events—say, a drawing or a one-on-one exhibition tour. But for its current online auction, the Van Alen institute, a New York City-based nonprofit that promotes public architecture, has assembled an unusually savvy list of 30 “design experiences” with prominent figures.
Image courtesy Van Alen Institute
Some play to the essence of the donor’s renown: photographer Iwan Baan, known as much for his breathtaking aerial views as his journalistic inclusion of local people in his work, is offering a private helicopter ride. Architect Sharon Davis will meet you in Rwanda for a tour of her Women's Opportunity Center, while Dutch trend forecaster Lidewij Edelkoort will shore up your wardrobe for a few seasons with a private consultation.
Other donors are stepping outside of their typical métiers. Museum of Modern Art curator Paola Antonelli, will host you at her New York apartment for a home-cooked Milanese dinner. Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works Architecture will lead you on a motorcycle tour of Oregon wine country, including a visit to a tasting room at the Sokol Blosser winery designed by his firm. (And, full disclosure, among the offerings is dinner at a well-designed New York restaurant with Architectural Record’s own Clifford A. Pearson, which this writer can attest, will be worth it.)
The Van Alen launched the benefit to coincide with a gala on May 21, and it comes as the institution raises funds for an expansion and renovation of its offices, exhibition space, and bookstore. Hosted by online auction site Paddle8, bidding remains open through Friday, May 23.