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Black Tie International:
 The African Rainforest Conservancy 23rd Annual Artists for Africa Benefit

Whitney Larkin and Thomas J McGrath©Patrick McMullanPhoto - Jonathon Ziegler/

Whitney Larkin and Thomas J McGrath
©Patrick McMullan Photo - Jonathon Ziegler/



 The African Rainforest Conservancy (ARC) hosted its 23rd Annual Artists for Africa Benefit at The Bowery Hotel in New York City on Wednesday, January 29thExecutive Director Whitney Larkin welcomed over 200 guests including Cassandra Seidenfeld, Renee Adrienne Smith, Bravo’s ‘Shah’s of Sunset’ star Mercedes “MJ” Javid,  Bravo TV star Chanel Omari and model Morgan O’Connor.  Host Carter Coleman kicked off the evening alongside Master of Ceremonies Thomas J. McGrath to honor Thomas Kaplan with the New Species Award and  Sarah Collins with the Environmental Innovation Award. .  This year's African Rainforest Conservancy benefit was dedicated to the late-Advisory Board member James Gandolfini. For the past two decades, over $1 million has been raised to support grassroots community development projects and conservation in East African rainforests.

Highlights of the night included an a cappella song in Zulu by Thuli Dumakude, an African dance by Manekadang African Dance and Drum, with a DJ set and performance by Cary Nokey. The Pointy Snout caviar and champagne reception featured a silent auction, showcasing the works of over two-dozen celebrated artists including Dustin Yellin, Anne Koch, Spencer Tunick, Hunt Slonem and Erik Parker, followed by a live auction and dinner. The evening was sponsored by The Bowery Hotel, Extraordinary Journeys, Gardenia Organic, Hahn Family Wines, Industry City Distillery, Nihiwatu Resort, Peak Organic, Tirado Distillery, Selous Safari Company, Coastal Aviation, and Paddle8.

For over 20 years, The African Rainforest Conservancy has worked alongside its field partner the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG) to support a network of 140 villages in eight mountain and coastal regions throughout Tanzania that are protecting 3,000 square kilometers of forest – an area 1,000 times the size of New York’s Central Park. For more information on the African Rainforest Conservancy please visit



joyce brooks, gerard mckeon.  photo by:  rose billings

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