Updated: Mar 25
The annual fundraiser provides housing for homeless people living with HIV/AIDS and chronic illnesses.
By Bart Boehlert
A popular social event held every March in New York City, the Bailey House Gala & Auction brings together supporters of design, art, entertainment, media, fashion, and business for a festive dinner and auction to raise money for Bailey House, an important city institution that has housed homeless people with HIV/AIDS and other chronic illnesses since 1983. This year the tradition continues, though the format will be virtual with a gala event on March 25 and an online auction offering more than 200 works of art by artists including Robert Mapplethorpe, Nan Goldin, Herb Ritts, Amy Arbus, Mark Beard, Duane Michals, and Nicole Eisenman, plus one-of-a-kind- experiences and home design items.
Free registration for the online auction---which is currently live---and tickets for the virtual gala event are available now. Art is offered on the platform Artsy while one-of-a-kind experiences and design items are posted on CharityBuzz.
To explore art and design, Bailey House partnered with the New York Design Center to present a series of expert talks on Instagram Live via @NYDC. At 6:30 p.m. on March 25, gala ticket holders will enjoy a VIP awards presentation with surprise celebrity guests. Debbie Harry, the iconic downtown singer and songwriter, will be honored for her longtime support, as will artist Elizabeth Gregory-Gruen and photographer Bob Gruen.
For their viewing pleasure, those who bought tickets before March 14 will receive a curated gift basket assembled by Craft restaurant, including a signature cocktail and charcuterie and crudité sourced locally from the Union Square Greenmarket.
When people with AIDS were being evicted from their apartments in the early 80s, a group of compassionate advocates gathered at Judson Memorial Church on Washington Square Park and formed the AIDS Resource Center, the first community-based organization to help New Yorkers who were living with HIV/AIDS and struggling with homelessness, poverty, and hunger. Its name was changed to Bailey House in honor of one of its founders, Reverend Mead Miner Bailey, and a large residence called Bailey Holt House was opened in a former hotel at Christopher Street and the West Side Highway. In 2019, Bailey House merged and joined forces with Housing Works, the country’s leading HIV/AIDS advocacy and service organization.
Now in its residences throughout the city, Bailey House offers health services, meals, and access to social workers and nurses to its clients. Though the last year was especially challenging due to the pandemic, Bailey House responded nimbly with no disruption of services to its residents, providing PPE (personal protective equipment) and delivering meals to their doors when they couldn’t go out.
Funds raised from the gala and auction go to operating support for Bailey House. “Fundraising is more important this year than ever,” reports Eric Douglas, Vice President of Development at Bailey House. “The gala and auction are critical to the work we do. If we don’t raise the money, we can’t offer the services.” Online bidding for the 2021 auction continues until 12:00 p.m. on March 26.
Works shown above:
Robert Mapplethorpe, John Cannon, 1988
Herb Ritts, Malaika - Holding Giraffe Vertebrae (Rear View), Africa, 1993
Nicole Eisenman, Smoker, 2020
Amy Arbus, Alan Cumming/Cabaret, 1998