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Save the Date    1  2 3     The Season-PB 

Governor's Mansion

Governor's Mansion

December 12, 2009



"Welcome to Gulu" art benefit on St.Thomas in the US Virgin Islands cocktail reception will take place on Saturday, December 12, 2009 at the Governors Mansion at Catharineberg.  This venue has the most breathtaking view of Charlotte Amalie Harbor.  

After the reception there will be a special dinner at
 Romanos Restaurant & Art Gallery 


To learn about the benefits of becoming a
Gold or Silver sponsor for this
Please contact Tony Romano at 340-344-4450
 or send an e-mail to:       


"Welcome to Gulu"
tar Studded Gala Held at the United Nations on May 12th 2009

Marcy Klein, Alec Baldwin, Gigi Gabr, Aleya Hammad and Shafik Gabr

Marcy Klein, Alec Baldwin, Gigi Gabr, Aleya Hammad and Shafik Gabr. 
 Photos by:  Patrick McMullan

Tony Ramona,Ramono's Restaurant,Kim Young, everyday Clay Studio, St Thomas

Tony Romano, Romano's Restaurant and Kim Young, Everyday Clay Studio
Who made a special trip for the evening from St.Thomas



Famke Janssen

Famke Janssen


Joy Behar

Nicolas Cage

Nicolas Cage


Sandy Gallin, Donna Karan and Calvin Klein

Sandy Gallin, Donna Karan and Calvin Klein


Uganda Artwork

Uganda Artwork



   "Welcome to Gulu”,  a exhibition curated by acclaimed American painter Ross Bleckner on behalf of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and the International Criminal Court’s Trust Fund for Victims, opened at a star studded gala held at the United Nations on May 12th 2009.  The benefit exhibition and art sale featured 200 paintings created by former child soldiers and abducted girls from Gulu, Uganda.  The New York Times has described the paintings as “luminous” (see “For Child Soldiers, a Chance to Wield Brushes, Not Arms” by Randy Kennedy New York Times 28 April 2009). Proceeds raised by the sale of the children’s paintings, as well as portraits taken by Bleckner, will benefit former child soldiers and abducted girls.  


In recent years, Gulu and other areas of Northern Uganda, have been plagued by rebel groups abducting, recruiting and conscripting thousands of children, forcing boys to be killers and girls to be sexual slaves.  In January 2009, Bleckner joined the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the International Criminal Court Trust Fund for Victims on an official mission to Gulu, assisting in the rehabilitation of former child soldiers and abducted girls through art therapy.  Bleckner conducted a workshop for these children, encouraging them to come to terms with their past through artistic expression.   To learn more, go to:  To view the BBC News feature on this project, go to:


Ross Bleckner first came to international prominence in the 1980’s with his abstract paintings.  His work has been exhibited in esteemed collections throughout the world, including: The Guggenheim, MoMA, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.   For the past 20 years, he has taught Studio Art at leading institutions (currently at NYU’s Steinhardt School).  An early supporter of AIDS research, Bleckner has been a board member of ACRIA (AIDS Community Research Initiative of America) since its founding, and spent more than a decade as its President.  On the occasion of the opening of the 12 May 2009, “Welcome to Gulu” exhibition, Mr. Bleckner, was appointed a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Goodwill Ambassador to Combat Human Trafficking.  Said appointment marks the first time an artist has been bestowed the honor of becoming a UN Goodwill Ambassador.  As a UNODC Goodwill Ambassador, Bleckner’s duties will include advocacy on behalf of victims of human trafficking and other crimes.


The United Nations culled a distinguished group of leaders in the arts, entertainment and business communities to attend and support the “Welcome to Gulu” opening at the United Nations on 12 May.   Among those attending the opening were: Academy Award winning actor Nicolas Cage; Academy Award nominated actor Alec Baldwin; actress Famke Janssen; acclaimed artists Ross Bleckner, Tony Romano, Jeff Koons, Chuck Close, and Brice Marden; designers Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, and Rachel Roy; “The View’s” Joy Behar;  Academy Award nominated director/writer/producer Terry George ("Hotel Rwanda", "In the Name of the Father"); acclaimed director Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day”); Karenna Gore Schiff; ABC News Nightline Anchor Cynthia McFadden;  ABC News Anchor Deborah RobertsAgnes Gund (MoMA’s President

Emerita); Thelma Golden (Chief Curator The Studio Museum in Harlem); and art collectors Eli and Edythe Broad.   Also in attendance were the UN Secretary General and 45 Ambassadors.


The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is the lead UN agency fighting all forms of human trafficking including: sexual slavery, child soldiering, forced labor, illegal adoption, and illegal organ transfers. 

UNODC works with governments, NGOs, the private sector, foundations, the arts and media community, academia and think-tanks to combat human trafficking by raising public awareness, engaging in preventative efforts and enhancing the capacity and skills of criminal justice professionals and policymakers. 


United Nations Under-Secretary General, Antonio Maria Costa, the Executive-Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reflects: “Art is one of the most powerful advocacy tools to raise awareness and move people to take action.  A painting says a thousand words.   Ross Bleckner’s exhibition provides a unique opportunity to implore others to join us in our fight against conscription of children, and other forms of human trafficking and modern day slavery. We know that Ross’ extraordinary commitment to the plight of trafficking victims will move people to take action against modern day slavery.” 


After the May 12 event, a selection of artwork was placed on view in Manhattan’s prestigious Lehman Maupin Gallery, and renown designer Donna Karan’s Urban Zen shop in the Hamptons.    Inspired by the work and creativity of St. Thomas artist Tony Romano, The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and Ross Bleckner would be honoured to next bring the “Welcome to Gulu” exhibition to St. Thomas for a gala benefit and art sale.




To list an upcoming event please contact


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