As Art of Elysium founder Jennifer Howell admits, the central mission of the org she founded is sometimes hard for people to wrap their heads around. Created in 1997, the org offers artistic outreach programs in children’s hospitals and elder-care facilities, as well as providing showcases and resources for emerging artists. It’s at events such as the annual Genesis fundraiser — whose sixth installment will be held in Los Angeles on Sept. 5 — that those two branches most organically intersect.
“We are an artist charity that truly believes in healing the world through art,” Howell says. “And part of our mission is encouraging artists to be involved in philanthropy from the very beginning of their careers.”
For this year’s Genesis, which raises funds through a night of musical performances and art installations, Art of Elysium sought to expand. Moving to the 1,600-seat Ace Hotel theater from the smaller Siren Cube venue in Hollywood, the charity invited a clutch of musicians, artists and filmmakers to curate the event, spotlighting their own favorite up-and-coming artists.
Spike Jonze, Shepard Fairey, Beck, Karen O, Santigold and Cat Power are among the year’s curators. Howell notes that the first few hours of the event will comprise typical art installations and a live graffiti art performance from Push (Fairey’s artist selection), followed by what she describes as a “sort of rock and roll Cirque du Soleil” with aerialists, short videos and musical performances from the likes of SoKo, Rodrigo Amarante, Moses Sumney and Nico Turner.
“In the past, we had amazing venues, but not proper concert venues,” Howell says. “The Ace is a place where artists are thrilled to play.”
Genesis is far from the only event the org stages, and Howell notes that Art of Elysium hopes to diversify beyond Los Angeles and New York in the coming years, as well as to expend its outreach services further into elder care and prisons, which she admits can be challenging.
“A lot of people are eager to talk to children, because they’ve already passed that point in their lives. But going into elder care brings a lot of fears and issues with mortality,” she says.
Tickets available here.