Touching lives of others: The Art Gala.

by Alev Gefen
Photos by: Frank Siegel, Ross Bagley, Mikhail Veter

The Art Gala “Imagine” is practically here. We have only 70 days left before we present our team’s hard and fun work to all our guests.
This year, The Art Gala will be showcasing an incredibly talented group of artists. You will see beautiful fashion, paintings, sculptures, and live performances. Our amazing photographers and videographers will be capturing every step of you arriving, enjoying the art show and silent auction, tasting our delicious menu, toasting with a premium open bar, and dancing the night away. The dress code is Black-tie creative. Please be as gorgeous and as creative as you can imagine. The theme of this year’s show is giving you no boundaries, as long as you look appropriate for the gala.
We cannot wait to introduce you all of our talents, and here is the sneak pick of some of the ideas from our The Art Gala (TAG) team members, who are not new to arts and charity movements.

Frank Siegel
, TAG Director of Media; owner of VCSvideo:
I come from a family of artists. I also had a period in my life, when I was performing as a musician, as well as writing songs and poetry. My experience included being a part of a theatrical rock and roll band. Through this journey, I learned about theatrical lighting, creating costumes, pyrotechnics, sound system engineering, and more. I have been doing photography for as long as I can remember.
Elaine Spencer, TAG Financial Director:
A Russian import, mother, urban dweller, world traveler, a style aficionado, and an avid cyclist, I got involved with the production of The Art Gala by a happy coincidence of being in the right place at the right time, and loved the idea of organizing an event to support local talents in fashion and art.
Ellen Durkan, TAG Artist/ Designer; Iron Maiden Forge, Blacksmith/ Fashion Designer.
I teach at a college and have my own business. I would just hope to inspire people to not give up on what drives them and to be always willing to learn new things.
Ross Bagley, TAG Photographer; Photographer at Carrera Photos:
My father was a photographer, and he was instrumental in helping me and my two brothers become photographers. We learned from him and built our careers off his awesome information. We’ve all had our work published in print and digital forms. I wanted to be part of this awesome production. I jumped at the chance to help with the media production as a photographer.

On May 13, 2017, with your support, we intend to create a Great Energy event to Celebrate Talent, raise Anti-Bullying Awareness, and raise money for The Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. Does this cause feel relevant to your life experiences?
Elaine Spencer,
TAG Financial Director:
Yes, the cause is very close to my heart as my son has special needs, and I know too well all the challenges the families with special needs kids deal with every day. It’s and awesome feeling to make a difference in someone’s life.
Ross Bagley,
TAG Photographer:
This event is important to me because it is my way of giving back. I make time out of my busy schedule because I want to be part of something as awesome as this annual event.
Delila Matara, TAG Model:
This feels relevant to my life experiences 100%. I know the feeling of being the loneliest person in the room, even when it’s full of people. So, to be able to help people that were once in the same situation as me, it’s incredible. I have not experienced the rest before, but I always pray for the best and hold onto hope. When I participated in Miss Teen PA Pageant in December, my platform was raising awareness to stop bullying. I was one of the speakers for Inspiring Teen Magazine at couple schools to bring awareness by telling my story.
Aneldy Almonte, TAG Model:
I have been bullied before and I truly believe something should be done about it. Being bullied can cause depression and dark thoughts in a kid’s mind.
Pauline Ilagan, TAG Model:
I’m currently working on a Web Series that deals with anti bullying and self-acceptance. A confident petite artist who never dulled out and continues to shine till the day I die.

Sherley Clerjuste, TAG Model:
I am very fortunate to have to opportunity to participate in such a rewarding experience. I work with young children daily and as a mentor, bullying is one of the most common self-esteem killers. Raising awareness and providing support to the Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs gives me the opportunity to make the world a little bit better.
Najee Griffin, TAG Model:
Of course, we live in a society, where we are free to be ourselves and embrace our differences. At the same time, we allow negativity to affect us with no consequences. It’s unfortunate it happens to children, and children are the future.

What advice would you give to a new artist?
Orlando Caquias, TAG Fashion Coordinator; Owner/Fashion Designer at Suenos Designs:
Believe in yourself, and go with your gut.
Frank Siegel, TAG Director of Media:
Believe in yourself. If you have a true passion for art, don’t be discouraged. Cherish the wonder world of opportunities that surround you.
Adrian Jimenez, TAG Model:
Practice, even on the days you don’t want to. Especially on the days you don’t want to.
Binh Nguyen, TAG model; PR professional and on-camera personality:
Try everything at least once! And get to know as many people as you can.
Najee Griffin, TAG Model:
Know who you are, know your craft, PERFORM and grow. Whether it’s 100 people or not, even one person in your corner, you’ve got what it takes to live your dream. Even though I’ve worked on a lot of shows & films this year, people are still surprised of what I’ve accomplished just by myself.
Aneldy Almonte, TAG Model:
Look and feel confident, even when you may not seem to be, and don’t let negative opinions (not including constructive criticism) get in the way of your success.
Sherley Clerjuste, TAG Model:
I still consider myself to be a new artist, but one advice that I would stress is to find what motivates you, first. Find the inner drive that keeps you happy and that inner self-fulfilling happiness you experience; use that to regurgitate is back to the world. Spreading passion, both good and bad, is what the world needs. We are filled with too many empty vessels on this planet, and it’s about time we started filling others up with our experiences so that they have the piercing urge to find their own version of self-fulfilling happiness.

How different was The Art Gala for you, compared to other Art/Fashion Events, in which you had participated?
Domenica Vinci, 
TAG Designer/Artist; Professor at the Drexel University Westphal College of Media Arts and Design:
The Art Gala is a beautiful event, where the arts come together. I couldn’t imagine a better place for aspiring and seasoned artists, designers to showcase their passions.
Orlando Caquias, TAG Fashion Coordinator;
I can proudly say that The Art Gala is Very powerful, very classy, beautiful, very well organized event.
Najee Griffin, TAG Model:
I have to say out of all the Art/Fashion events I’ve done in the Tri-State area, this one is where you actually build a bond with everyone. The Industry has that image of everyone of us being rude, or stuck-up, or negative, but The Art Gala shuts all of those comments down. Even though we are about working and handling business, we make it a great experience on and off the stage.
Ross Bagley, TAG Photographer:
The Art Gala is unique. This event is not just another typical fashion show. The Art Gala is a very diverse event. Designers feature their high-end clothing lines, exotic models rip the runway in the fashion show, there’s an art auction, live DJ, cocktails, exquisite food, and late night dancing.
What do you want to be known and remembered for?
Orlando Caquias, TAG Fashion Coordinator;
For being me, being unique.
Frank Siegel, TAG Director of Media:
I love to share the knowledge I have… If I can touch the lives of even just a few people in some positive way, that would be wonderful.
Ellen Durkan, TAG Artist/ Designer:
Not giving up, Hard work, and Inspiration.
Delila Matara, TAG Model:
I want to be remembered for my hard work and my height. I would like to people to remember how I am a young model, who was short, and still was able to make it in the modeling world.
Sherley Clerjuste, TAG Model:
I want to be known as an icon, no matter what I end up doing in life, I want to be remembered for my ability to bring out the best in people. No matter what I do, I want to be known for having the ability to brighten a room with my positive energy.

Did your personal or professional life change since your involvement with The Art Gala?
Orlando Caquias, TAG Fashion Coordinator;
The Art Gala made me more powerful, it gave me this confidence that nothing can stop me now.
Adrian Jimenez, TAG Model:
Yeah, for sure, it’s started a completely new path I’ve explored. It was my first modeling job ever. And now I have a developed portfolio and working with industry professionals in NY.
Domenica Vinci, 
TAG Designer/Artist:
I am blessed to have met Inna Race (the founder of The Art Gala), she allowed me a platform to present my Off Da Wall Graffiti, Canvas to Couture. I was honored to have been selected to open the Art Gala 2016 with my live spray painting on my original dress.
Elaine Spencer, TAG Financial Director:
Absolutely! I’ve met a bunch of interesting people, formed new friendships, the whole experience gave me a better perspective and understanding of the world of fashion and art in Philadelphia.
Binh Nguyen, TAG model;
The Art Gala was amazing. It was an upscale event that was well worth the money and time. I have been able to meet wonderful people through this experience.

Delila Matara, TAG Model:
My professional life has defiantly changed for the better. Ever since The Art Gala, I have gained so much confidence and friends. In both my personal and professional life, I am proud to say that I am a member of The Art Gala!
Najee Griffin, TAG Model:
Most definitely, kept in contact with designers, models, etc. and gave more exposure. I personally feel like the Art Gala events in the oncoming future will be the must-go-to event for the top major industry reps.
What are you looking to achieve with your participation in this event
Delila Matara, TAG Model:
I love to be a part of The Art Gala! I am looking to meet new people and help everyone I meet. I also hope to inspire someone new! Plus, I miss all the fabulous artists I get to work with
Aneldy Almonte, TAG Model:
I want to gain confidence and experience, while contributing to something wonderful.
Pauline Ilagan, TAG Model:
I plan on proudly showcasing the talented and creative designs of the wonderful designers which clothes highlights individuality and confidence.
Frank Siegel, TAG Director of Media:
Touching lives of others in a positive way is extremely important to my life’s “journey”.
Domenica Vinci, 
TAG Designer/Artist:
Good luck to all this coming year, Inna Race and The Art Gala support you and the charities we hold dear, creating and inspiring sharing and making a positive impact on our society.

The Art Gala will be continuing following its goals. Please stay tuned for new introductions of talented an generous bighearted people.
We want to thank you for your support as well as our sponsors:– Bathroom Furniture; Geno’s Steaks; Dove Medical Press; Arts BallroomThe Young Friends of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
For more details and event tickets please visit:

We love to look back to our video from The Art Gala “AllColors of Happiness”:


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