Smiley Faces Foundation hosted their inaugural event at the Red Bull Space in SoHo last night to benefit the NYU Langone Medical Center Institute of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery’s Cleft Lip & Palate Clinic.
“It exceeded my wildest expectations. Because I’ve been so ingrained in this project for the past six months, I haven’t been able to take a giant step back and just look at the images and appreciate them for what they are, true works of art. That’s what I heard so many people tell me at the event, that they looked at each photograph and could see the depth and character, not only of the photographer but the confidence of each child and the relationship between the two of them.”
Bell’s son, Ethan, who was born with a cleft palate, had life changing reconstructive surgery at Langone. The foundation raises money for families to help pay for the surgeries, so that children like Ethan, can smile with confidence.
During the early portion of the evening, portraits from children’s photo shoots with world-renowned photographers were showcased for children and their families. These children, who have undergone cleft repair surgery at the institute, presented their unique interpretations of what a “smiley face” means to them. Being able to not only view the photos, but also witness the emotional impact they had on the children and their families was extremely moving.
Smiley Faces Foundation spokesperson and photographer, Nigel Barker came out to show his support, as did Seventeen Magazine Editor in Chief, Ann Shoket.
Donnetta Campbell, Founder and President of Campbell Publicity and who helped with the foundation’s gala, spoke to me about why she got involved with the foundation and what it means to her.
“Founder Adam Bell really wanted to make a difference to the kids, focusing his efforts on getting as many surgeries completed as possible. From watching the first photo shoot with Nigel Barker and Natasha to yesterday, when I got to see each child stand in the gallery and look at their pictures… it made all our efforts worth it. I am so lucky attach myself to projects that will make my kids see the importance of giving back and helping others.”
Turns out, both Bell and Barker celebrated birthdays last night at restaurant Via dei Mille prior to the main event.
The evening had music by DJ Mick Boogie and Locksley, and was sponsored by Red Bull, Kiehl’s, TyKu and Todd English’s Juliet Supperclub.
– Leslie Richin
To participate in the online auction visit: www.charitybuzz.com/smileyfaces
Images that were on display for the event will be available for the public to view free of charge for this week only. For more information on Smiley Faces Foundation visit: http://smileyfacesny.com/
Photos by David Szydlowski via Staffing 911.