Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts attend the Tribeca Ball 2011 at the New York Academy of Art. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for New York Academy of Art)

At the New York Academy of Art’s annual Tribeca Ball, climbing five flights of stairs in stilettos isn’t an unexpected feat. Why? Because the Tribeca Ball cleverly merges high-end fashion and fine art, as guests dressed to the nines make their way through the linseed oil-soaked studios of current MFA students. With cocktails in hand, patrons have the opportunity to mingle with notable committee members including Will Cotton, Julian Schnabel, Kate and Andy Spade, Naomi Watts, Liev Schreiber and Julianna Margulies. The atmosphere is further enhanced by ongoing live music and interactive performances. Each floor is more exciting than the last as Academy students personally introduce their thoughtfully displayed paintings and sculptures that live in tandem with their art materials and mementos of creative inspiration. The unique experience of touring five floors of studios provides a rare insight into the process of the artist, which is so often lost within the white cube setting of a gallery.

It is without a doubt that this year’s theme, Unmasked Modern Ball, will once again allow for a night of endless inspiration for artists, celebrities and collectors alike. Proceeds from the Academy’s annual fundraiser go to support one of great cultural institutions of the Downtown community by creating scholarships for students. Cocktails in the studios will precede a formal dinner in Wilkinson Hall prepared by award-winning chef Daniel Boulud, while the Academy simultaneously hosts a ceremony honoring Robert De Niro for his consummate support of the arts. A preview of Academy artists’ work is currently available through the For Good section of

The New York Academy of Art’s Tribeca Ball will take place on Monday, April 16th at 111 Franklin Street. Cocktails in the studios begin at 6:00pm followed by a formal dinner at 8:30pm. For more information on the Tribeca Ball or to purchase tickets, visit or contact the Academy Event’s Office at 212-842-5123.

—Stacy Seiler. Seiler is a Professor/Coordinator at Parsons The New School for Design and a contributing writer for DOWNTOWN Magazine. You can learn more about her at