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#DrivingHope with MINI USA

Already the country’s largest recurring public arts project, the Sing for Hope Pianos are revving up to be bigger and better than ever, thanks to a partnership made in creative heaven. MINI USA will join Sing for Hope for the 2018 SFH Pianos, motivated by both organizations’ shared passion for serving communities in need with creativity and compassion. The cornerstone of the partnership will be a mobile #MINIPiano inside a MINI Countryman, adding a fully mobile element and elevating the beloved installation that’s already innovative by design.

In addition to the 50 pianos across the five boroughs, the #MINIPiano will act as a roving 51st piano, #DrivingHope to locations throughout the city and surprising and delighting New Yorkers with even more pop-up performances and musical opportunities. MINI is currently developing the custom modified MINI Countryman to create the #MINIPiano. Further details about the car’s design will be released soon.

“MINI is proud to support Sing for Hope and their mission to bring art and music to the streets of New York City through spontaneous musical moments that create a brighter urban life,” says Lee Nadler, Regional Marketing Manager, MINI USA. “Design and creativity are at the heart of our iconic brand and we look forward to utilizing our #MINIPiano to demonstrate more of what matters to the community here in New York City.”

“Sing for Hope and MINI USA both operate with creativity and innovation at their core, so the partnership is a natural fit,” say Camille Zamora and Monica Yunus, Sing for Hope Co-Founders. “Just as Sing for Hope works each day to bring hope to communities that need it most, MINI invests in organizations that drive our world forward and make it a better place. We are honored to be #DrivingHope together.”

To date, Sing for Hope has placed 400+ artist-designed pianos throughout the parks and public spaces of NYC’s 5 boroughs each summer for anyone and everyone to play – a symbol and celebration of art for all. Each year has featured unique performances, locations, and piano designs, and this seventh year is sure to be one to remember. Stay tuned for more details on how Sing for Hope and MINI will be #DrivingHope this summer!

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David Beahm’s Riot of Color

From New York’s most talked-about galas to the Obama White House holiday decorations, David Beahm designs events that dazzle.

In celebration of the 20th Anniversary of David Beahm Experiences, David is throwing a HUGE party benefiting Sing for Hope! The sure-to-be unforgettable evening takes place Thursday, March 22nd, at New York’s iconic IAC building, designed by legend Frank Gehry. The stunning, sleek building, featuring gracefully angled floor-to-ceiling windows and sweeping views of NYC and the Hudson revere, will make the perfect backdrop for the evening’s festive dress code: a riot of color.

Guests will have access to an open bar, and will dine on exquisite food from over a dozen of NYC’s top caterers. The entertainment for the night will include show-stopping music, a live orchestra, and a phenomenal dance band. Featured performers include Piotr Beczala, Shayna Steele (courtesy of Greenberg Artists), Lester Lynch, John McVeigh, and Sing for Hope’s own Co-Founders and acclaimed sopranos Monica Yunus and Camille Zamora. As if that weren’t enough, David Beahm promises plenty of surprises along the way.

Some of the night’s special opportunities include the chance to win a luxury getaway to Morocco, simply by being a guest in attendance on March 22nd! The trip includes stays at two of the world’s top hotels, Royal Mansour, and Kasbah Tamadot, with airfare provided by Virgin Atlantic (arranged by Steele Travel).

100% of every ticket purchased goes to Sing for Hope, allowing us to bring the power of the arts to more and more people throughout NYC and the world. Purchase your tickets and join us for this magical evening, all while supporting Sing for Hope in the process! We are deeply grateful to David Beahm for generously underwriting this event and for his enduring commitment to arts education and to the communities we serve. Can’t wait to see you there!

Purchase tickets to David Beahm’s Riot of Color here!
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Citizen Artist Schools

There are currently 130 Sing for Hope Citizen Artist Schools in New York City. In partnership with the NYC Department of Education, we selected these schools through a competitive RFP process to become permanent homes for the Sing for Hope Pianos featured each June. In addition to receiving a Sing for Hope Piano, each school also gets our Citizen Artist Curriculum, a program that helps teachers empower students to use creativity and the arts to enact positive social change. The curriculum includes a specially-curated Citizen Artist Opening Assembly featuring our roster of world-class Artist Partners; a monthly online teacher resource guide including articles, lesson plans, and student contests; and the opportunity to host additional free workshops led by SFH Artist Partners on a variety of art forms throughout the year.

One key to this rich and successful partnership? It’s not only between the adults. When we meet the young new owners of the Sing for Hope Pianos at their Citizen Artist Opening Assembly, we tell them the story of their piano and the meaning behind the project. We end by giving the students a charge. “Do you promise to be your Sing for Hope Piano’s buddy, keeping it safe and in good playing condition? Do you promise to be your Piano’s musician, playing it, singing to it, and using it with other instruments? Do you promise to be a Citizen Artist, using your piano and your creativity for a greater purpose that even we can’t predict?”

We are asking them to love and protect the Piano, to use it well, and to use the arts to give back. That’s a tall order. Luckily, they have their teachers to support them, and resources provided by Sing for Hope. In its inaugural year, the Citizen Artist Curriculum is the cornerstone of that package. That curriculum includes resources for teachers to integrate into their regular programming: full, dynamic lessons that teach students about using art to give back to the community. The most recent module features lessons on Citizen Artistry through music, dance, and theater. The curriculum also provides opportunities for engagement beyond the school community, including student contests and opportunities for workshops with Sing for Hope staff and Artist Partners.

These interactive artistic workshops cover diverse art forms, but all have the underlying theme of Citizen Artistry. One of the most popular offerings is Sing for Hope’s West African Dance Workshop, led by Sing for Hope Program Manager Frank Malloy. To date, over 600 students across 20+ schools have participated in the workshop with “Mr. Frank,” who has performed all his life, including as the Musical Director of his parents’ performing company Harambee Dance Company.

Frank and the Sing for Hope team adapt the fun and challenging workshop to fit the unique needs of each age group. No matter how complex the particular dance moves, or how many minutes the group spends clapping rhythms to Frank’s drum, one clear theme emerges: pure joy.

Students explore the history, movements, and drumbeats of a traditional Malian/Guinean dance. All throughout the workshop, as students learn the components of each movement and become more comfortable with the physical execution of the dance, they return to that central idea of Citizen Artistry: the power to communicate, and for the dance (or for art of any kind) to have a greater meaning.

Our Citizen Artist Schools will have many more opportunities to expose their students to new art forms in our upcoming singing, improv, and visual arts workshops.

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Sing for Hope Celebrates Black History Month

During the evening rush hour commute on February 23rd, Port Authority Bus Terminal commuters paused from looking ahead to their destinations to look up (literally, at the Sing for Hope stage), and to look back, in a powerful, musical tribute to Black History.

Featuring diverse musical stylings including jazz, world music, opera, and spoken word, the program began with a moving “Ancestor Veneration” tribute to the known and unknown black heroes of the past. Sing for Hope Artist Partner Joseph Hill’s rich tenor echoed throughout the terminal as he opened the musical portion of the program with “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the Black National Anthem.

A jazz combo featured the pure trumpet of Panamanian Aquiles Navarro, who trained at New England Conservatory and will soon appear in the Kennedy Center’s Direct Current Series, an innovative two-week celebration of contemporary culture. Sing for Hope Program Manager Frank Malloy set Navarro’s trumpet to a rich and driving drum beat. A pianist and composer with an impressive array of international performance experience in his young career, NYU and New England Conservatory-trained Zack Clarke rounded out the jazz combo on the Sing for Hope Piano keys.

All throughout the program, commuters gathered at the upper-level railings facing the Sing for Hope stage, lingering until the last possible minute before they boarded their buses. Commuters passing through the terminal on the lower level shouted up words of encouragement, adding affirmations to the rich, jazz combo-powered soundtrack of Terry Lovette’s spoken word.

Lovette has a powerful command of both the written and performative aspects of spoken word, and she matches that power with a dedication to training others in the art and impact of spoken word. On March 16th, Lovette will lead a group of women in Sing for Hope’s Women’s History Month program at the Sing for Hope Port Authority Stage, and she will lead the aspiring young artists of Arts Week in a spoken word workshop over Spring Break.

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The Impact of Sing for Hope Pianos in Schools

SURVEY SAYS…

When NYC public schools are chosen to receive a Sing for Hope Piano, they enter into a partnership that will serve as a catalyst for future programming. We want to know the particular impact the SFH Pianos have in each school. To that end, we surveyed our partner schools, and there’s good news: 153 arts programs have been created or expanded since the addition of the Sing for Hope Pianos—more than one new program per school!

The Sing for Hope Pianos, and the schools who house them, are up to some big things:

  • 34,000 students use Sing for Hope Pianos in their schools during the year.
  • 17,000 of those students use their pianos in their General Music Classes.
  • 6,000 use the piano in Chorus, Band, or Dance.
  • 2,500 use the piano in their School Musical.
  • There are 500 more young pianists in NYC thanks to piano lessons offered on Sing for Hope Pianos.

Some of that expanded programming made possible by the SFH Pianos includes the ability to reach new groups of students. PS 120’s Serena Forzaglia says, “Our Sing for Hope Piano has helped us develop a music program for our youngest scholars, as our Pre-K and Kindergarten students receive music instruction each day using it!  We are so grateful to have this beautiful instrument.”

For some, the Sing for Hope Piano provides some much-needed inspiration. “There is a student in our school who commutes from the Bronx all the way to deep Brooklyn. It is very difficult for him to get to school and once he is here, he struggles to remain engaged. The sole reason he finds the motivation to come to school is to play the piano. His attendance has gone up and he is more focused and patient in class knowing that he will get to play the piano for staying on task and doing his best work.”

Students aren’t the only ones using our Sing for Hope Pianos in schools: 24,000 community members use or benefit from the piano throughout the year. Combined with the 34,000 students, that’s 58,000 people who benefit from our Sing for Hope Pianos in schools. We are so grateful to our Citizen Artist Schools for their very important half of this partnership.

There’s even more good news: we have 50 new Sing for Hope Pianos poised to enter the school district and the city this year and add to those numbers. While we’re buoyed by the impact we already see, one thing is clear: this is just the beginning.

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The Chris Gillespie Memorial Fund at Sing for Hope

The Chris Gillespie Memorial Fund at Sing for Hope

Established in memory of the iconic pianist Chris Gillespie by his wife, Patricia Gillespie, and son, Andre Gillespie

Chris Gillespie (March 31, 1965 – December 15, 2017)

“Many have been asking what foundation they could contribute to in Chris’ memory. After careful thought, we have decided on Sing for Hope – a foundation that brings music to the lives of others. Many have heard about this wonderful organization and seen the Sing for Hope Pianos positioned around the city. Chris had enjoyed playing several of them. Recently, Chris had the pleasure of working on a performance with Camille Zamora, the co-founder of the organization. They formed an immediate bond and planned to do more work together. Sadly, they never got that opportunity. It now seems fitting that Chris’ memory will live on to help bring joy and healing through music to the lives of children and marginalized populations around the city and around the world.” – Patricia Gillespie

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Chris Gillespie, a jazz pianist of unique style who performed regularly at The Carlyle Hotel’s Bemelmans Bar, died on December 15, 2017 in New York City. He was 52.

Born in Munich, Germany to a Dutch father and Tanzanian mother, Mr. Gillespie grew up in a foster family that loved music. After displaying a gift for music and vocals as a child, Mr. Gillespie was awarded a full scholarship at age 16 to a music academy for organ and sacred music. His early love of songs from American films and musical theatre inspired him to become a pianist and singer despite his considerable accomplishments at organ. After joining the German Air Force, he began performing in popular restaurants and clubs in Munich to supplement his income.

Chasing his love of American music, Mr. Gillespie arrived in New York City in the late 1980s and worked in construction while he found his footing in the New York City musical scene. His freelance work in the New York music community led to a regular spot at The Carlyle in 2002. With influences such as George Gershwin, Bill Evans and Frank Sinatra, Mr. Gillespie’s smooth, expressive voice and fluid piano stylings combined classical riffs with traditional jazz standards and helped coined the term “jazzical.”

In addition to his year-round residency at Bemelmans Bar, Mr. Gillespie was a highly sought performer for weddings, tributes and other special events in New York, around the nation and internationally in Europe, South America, Asia, and Australia. He was well known in the music world as a composer and performer, entertaining both his regular audience and a wide range of celebrities and dignitaries.

Mr. Gillespie was a generous contributor as a performer at school functions and charity fundraisers, as well as a youth educator and choral director. For many years, Mr. Gillespie served as Director of Liturgical Music Education and the Children’s Choir at Our Lady of Good Counsel, and as the Musical Director for the Steuben Day (German-American) Parade.

Mr. Gillespie recorded and released several jazz albums, most notably “Chris Gillespie Live at the Carlyle” and “Portraits of Porter,” a 14-song tribute to Cole Porter.

Mr. Gillespie was an enthusiastic runner, having completed four consecutive New York City marathons, and was frequently seen jogging near the Reservoir in Central Park. He was also an accomplished tennis player and skier.

Mr. Gillespie is survived by his wife and son.

***

Sing for Hope’s arts outreach programs bring hope and inspiration to under-resourced schools, hospitals, hospices, veterans’ centers, refugee sites, transit hubs, and disability networks. Since 2006, Sing for Hope has partnered with over 250 nonprofit organizations, involved over 3,500 artists in community volunteerism, and placed over 400 artist-created Sing for Hope Pianos in public spaces for everyone to play — a symbol and celebration of art for all. 
Sing for Hope is a 501(c)(3) organization and donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.

CLICK HERE TO DONATE NOW

New Partnership with Lenox Hill Neighborhood House

Sing for Hope kicked off a new partnership with Lenox Hill Neighborhood House with musical performances and a celebratory ribbon cutting for the permanent placement of a 2017 Sing for Hope Piano created by visual artist and Sing for Hope Artist Partner Lady JDay .

In presenting this vibrant Sing for Hope Piano featuring empowering images of women in vibrant colors, Sing for Hope aims to bring a renewed sense of joy, strength, and self-confidence to the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House Women’s Mental Health Shelter. The shelter, located at the Park Avenue Armory, provides mental health services to women and helps them to secure permanent housing.

In addition to remarks from Lenox Hill Neighborhood House Deputy Chief Program Officer Jessica Mischkot , Lady JDay , Sing for Hope Co-Founder Camille Zamora , and Sing for Hope Board Member and Juilliard President-Designate Damian Woetzel , the event featured a performance by renowned jazz pianist Jason Moran , the Grammy-nominated Artistic Director for Jazz at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Moran brought tears to many eyes with his opening piece, a tribute to his late mother and her strength that “lives in him today.” He was then joined by Camille Zamora in a special performance of George Gershwin’s “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess, which the artists encouraged the assembled women to join in song. The harmonies from the women were a foreshadowing of how well-utilized this instrument will be in the years ahead.

This Sing for Hope Piano was originally unveiled in February 2017 at the “Interrogations of Form: Culture in a Changing America,” a day-long symposium at Park Avenue Armory, produced in collaboration with The Aspen Institute Arts Program, at the invitation of Woetzel, who heads up arts programming for Aspen Institute. After the piano’s February debut, it spent three weeks at La Plaza de las Americas, a public plaza in Washington Heights, as part of the Sing for Hope Pianos 2017 public arts initiative.  It will now live permanently at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House Women’s Mental Health Shelter at the Park Avenue Armory.

Since 2006, Sing for Hope’s arts outreach programs have brought hope and inspiration to thousands of individuals in under-resourced schools, public hospitals, hospices, veterans’ centers, after-school programs, neighborhood centers, nursing homes, and disability networks. The Sing for Hope Pianos, our flagship “art for all” program, places artist-designed pianos throughout the parks and public spaces of NYC’s 5 boroughs each summer for anyone and everyone to play. Through a special partnership with the NYC Department of Education, The Sing for Hope Pianos are then permanently placed in 50 city public schools each year, where they impact an estimated 16,000 kids annually. To date, Sing for Hope has teamed with over 250 nonprofit organizations, involved over 3,500 artists in creative service, and placed over 400 Sing for Hope Pianos throughout New York City  — a symbol and celebration of art for all.

Sing for Hope Co-Founder Camille Zamora, Juilliard President-Designate Damian Woetzel, Artist Lady JDay, and Lenox Hill Neighborhood House representatives

Nadine Sierra, Laurel Harris, Mary-Louise Parker, Renee Fleming Attend Sing for Hope’s 11th Annual Gala

(Reprinted from Broadway World)

On Monday, October 16, Sing for Hope held its 11th annual Sing for Hope Gala, uniting New York’s philanthropic and cultural leaders for a magical evening in support of the organization’s programs and commitment to bring the arts to under-resourced areas at Tribeca Rooftop in downtown Manhattan. BroadwayWorld has photos from the evening below!

The gala was co-chaired by Linda E. Johnson, Muhammad Yunus and Ann Ziff and honored Dr. Joseph W. Polisi, President of the Juilliard School. Dr. Polisi was recognized for his ongoing philanthropic support of Sing for Hope and his dedicated service as a founding board member of the organization. He was introduced by Damian Woetzel, President-Designate of The Juilliard School and a Sing for Hope Board Member.

The evening featured special musical performances by renowned soprano and winner of the 2017 Richard Tucker Music Award Nadine Sierra, cast members from Beautiful: The Musical and the Lucky Chops Brass Band.

“We are proud to be celebrating eleven years of making the arts accessible to communities in need by harnessing the incredible power of our artist partners. Creativity is an endlessly renewable resource that inspires and heals, and the Sing for Hope Gala allows us a moment each year to unite our community of supporters and savor performances by some of the world-class artists who power our programs,” say Co-Founders Monica Yunus and Camille Zamora.

Sing for Hope’s 2017 Gala Host Committee was comprised of leading philanthropic, arts, and business leaders including Mike and Polly Brandmeyer, Kim Brizzolara, Lilia Marini-Calves and Guillermo Calves, Susan Davis and Claudia Slacik, Lili and Wilson Ervin, Ann Gottlieb, Eva and Yoel Haller, Ryan Harwood, Susie Hovsepian, Kurz Family Foundation, Billie Jean King, Kurz Family Foundation, Ellen F. Marcus, Michael and Julie Pitman, Elizabeth Sarquis, Carlo & Micòl Schejola Foundation, Seedlings Foundation, Laurie M. Tisch, Barry and Joan Tucker, Vartali Team and Weber, Shapiro & Co. LLP.

Since 2006, Sing for Hope’s arts outreach programs have brought hope and inspiration to thousands of individuals in under-resourced schools, public hospitals, hospices, veterans’ centers, after-school programs, neighborhood centers, nursing homes, and disability networks. The Sing for Hope Pianos, our flagship “art for all” program, places artist-designed pianos throughout the parks and public spaces of NYC’s 5 boroughs each summer for anyone and everyone to play. Through a special partnership with the NYC Department of Education, The Sing for Hope Pianos are then permanently placed in 50 city public schools, where they impact an estimated 16,000 kids annually. To date, Sing for Hope has teamed with over 250 nonprofit organizations, involved over 3,500 artists in community volunteerism, and placed over 400 Sing for Hope Pianos throughout New York City – a symbol and celebration of art for all.

Photo Credit: Gonzalo Marroquin / Patrick MacMullan Company

At 28 Liberty, a Mural Celebrates the Arts and Brightens Construction Site

(Reprinted from The Tribeca Trib)

Construction fences, those ubiquitous features of the Lower Manhattan streetscape, do nothing to please the eye.

Except for one.

Stretched along the shady eastern edge of the sprawling 28 Liberty Plaza (formerly One Chase Manhattan Plaza) is a 120-foot-long fence-turned-canvas for a mural of flowing shapes and vibrant colors. A collaborative work of artists Marc Evan and Chris Soria, it is the visual embodiment of Sing For Hope, the organization that each year brings unique, artist-painted pianos to public spaces around the city, then donates them to schools and organizations.

Artist collaborators Chris Soria, left, and Marc Evan with their creation, the Sing for Hope mural. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

Artist collaborators Chris Soria, left, and Marc Evan with their creation, the Sing for Hope mural. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

“There’s this sense of joy and sweetness and connection that the painting brings to this corner of the plaza,” said Sing For Hope co-founder Camille Zamora as she surveyed the expansive mural. “Otherwise, it would just feel like construction.”

For the second year, the seven-year-old organization is being hosted by 28 Liberty. Fosun, part of a Chinese conglomerate, bought One Chase Manhattan Plaza in 2013 and is now reconstructing its plaza as part of a major overhaul of the property.

Zamora noted that the mural idea came from the owner. “They want to make sure that Lower Manhattan feels included in their plans and that this doesn’t feel like just one more construction project,” she said. A floor of the building is dedicated to Sing for Hope and its 60 pianos, now being reconditioned following a three-week stint in outdoor public spaces.

“We were trying to capture the vibe and the essence of Sing For Hope and the pianos project,” said Chris Soria, who often partners with Marc Evan on mural projects. (The artists, both 37 and teaching artists around the city, have been friends since age 12.) As muralists, Soria and Evan were selected to transform the fence from among the many artists who have painted Sing For Hope pianos over the years.

Blending into the waves of many shapes and colors are the figures of a sax player, a keyboardist and a paintbrush wielding artist. “There’s this magical realist vibe going on here,” Zamora said.


“It was our goal to activate the space using color and movement and figurative elements that emphasize the mission of Sing For Hope,” said Evan. “It was important to us to include figures that were engaging with the city, engaging with musical instruments.and with artistry.”

Evan said that he and Soria do much of their work in underserved communities, places where “bringing color to the neighborhoods is a fun challenge and experience.”

“Wall Street is a completely opposite end of the spectrum but it also suffers from a lack of vibrant colors,” he added. “And being able to bring a pop of color to this area, it’s cool.”

My Infinite Agenda Supports Sing for Hope with their “Product with Purpose”

Essentials for a Productive Morning: “My Infinite Agenda” in Midnight Blue, & Coffee (Photo by My Infinite Agenda)

Sing for Hope believes in the power of artistic inclination, and in putting creativity to use for the greater good. No one shares that belief more strongly than the visionary creators of My Infinite Agenda–an elegant vision-board planner designed to help you clarify and achieve your goals, with partial proceeds from all sales supporting charities with powerful visions and impacts to match. Sing for Hope is honored to be one of those beneficiaries.

Like Sing for Hope, My Infinite Agenda was founded by best-friend opera-singers, who wanted to harness the power of creativity to give back. Co-founders Raquel and Katie arrived in NYC ambitious and ready for graduate education. In the pursuit of their dreams, these two artists found success in the power of positive thinking, while keeping a daily focus on short-term & long-term goals, and wildest dreams.

Fast forward ten years, Raquel Suarez Groen & Katie Copland have brilliantly channeled their methodology into a dynamic tool that gives the power of goal actualization to both the user and the charity beneficiary. Using the expansive, functional writing space, My Infinite Agenda allows you to organize your daily schedule while simultaneously chronicling your highest ambitions and successes within the structure of simple guided sections.


Pictured: My Infinite Agenda Co-Founders Katie Copland (left), and Raquel Suarez Groen.

“We are extremely proud to partner with Sing for Hope. It is a privilege knowing that through the help of our donations, Sing for Hope is one step closer to accomplishing its dream of bringing the arts to all! Our mission is to help you build the life you want, while changing the life of another,” say Katie and Raquel.

Sing for Hope believes in adding art and inspiration to our lives wherever possible, and My Infinite Agenda is a work of art itself. “At SFH, we often say that access to the arts is so vital because it builds the imagination, and the first step to creating positive change is to imagine it. My Infinite Agenda helps you imagine, ideate, organize, and create! We are honored that the brilliant women behind My Infinite Agenda have chosen Sing for Hope as a charitable beneficiary,” say Sing for Hope Co-Founders Camille Zamora and Monica Yunus.

My Infinite Agenda (2018) comes in three color palettes, each supporting a different nonprofit: Days for Girls (blush cover), charity: water (black cover), and Sing for Hope (midnight blue). To support Sing for Hope through your purchase, choose My Infinite Agenda in midnight blue (pictured below).

Make art for all possible: donate today
Join our community: become an artist partner