“We closed with art hanging on the walls of both galleries,” says Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation founder and artist Danny Simmons of how his Philadelphia spaces were affected by the pandemic.
Since founding the Philadelphia chapter of his foundation in 2016, the abstract expressionist has been busy growing his programs as well as planning the Art for Life benefit fundraiser, which will take place virtually Nov. 21 and feature artists Dawoud Bey and Deborah Willis.
This year is especially important, as it marks the foundation’s 25th anniversary. “We need this fundraiser to be successful in order for our organization to survive,” he says. “For every organization, fundraising in this environment has been difficult.” For Simmons, adapting to the current climate has come in the form of virtual programs like Saturday morning art classes and virtual artist studio tours. There’s also been visual artist roundtable talks. He says, “Nothing beats an actual art opening or in-gallery art class, but we are making do for the moment.”
Outside of Rush Arts, Simmons is in the process of creating a second work with Mural Arts Philadelphia in the Ogontz neighborhood; its expected completion is some time this month. “I feel like a native of Philadelphia,” says the New York transplant. “I never expected to feel so comfortable here, even with all the current turmoil in the world.”