Christie’s Green Auction: All That Glitters Is Green

How about a private lunch with Vera Wang, followed by a visit to her boutique for a $10,000 shopping spree? Or lunch with Ted Danson, plus a painting from his personal art collection? Ladies, how about a day on the set with Hugh Jackman? Or for Yankee loyalists all over the world, dinner with General Manager Brian Cashman plus four game tickets? Want to find out what working for George Steinbrenner is really like!?

There items are all available through May 6 at //, which is the silent auction portion of Christie’s first-ever green auction. The celebrity-rich live event, held at Christie’s near Rockefeller Center in late April, offered similarly unique and desirable items and experiences, all to benefit environmental charities including Oceana, Conservation International, Natural Resources Defense Council and Central Park Conservancy. Indeed, these four charities will end up splitting a pot of around $2 million dollars, a wonderful windfall especially when contributions have been hammered by the Recession.

At the live event, guests entered an environment that looked more like something out of Babylon and Adam and Eve than an auction house. The theme was “a collision between art and nature” and the result was spectacular, especially after entering on the green carpet – literally – surrounded by a throng of paparazzi. A crowd of over 800 attended including a host of celebs such as Candice Bergen, Sam Waterston, Ted Danson, Salma Hayek, Brian Williams, and many more from Hollywood, business, the arts and government. Speeches were short, just a few meaningful words from Christie’s Chairman Christopher Burge and Susan Rockefeller (she and her husband David were co-chairs of the event).

This was a great concept, taking what has traditionally been a bastion of the elite — Christie’s — and putting their vast resources to work for a good green cause. Christie’s was supported by Target, Deutsche Bank, NBC Universal and several other sponsors, which resulted in a super high end event that brought visibility to climate change issues and created significant revenue for the general funds of four deserving charities.

I really hope this becomes an annual event for Christie’s and that other organizations and NGOs take advantage of this innovative concept for fundraising. Everyone knows that the recession has been brutal on the budgets of most non-profit organizations, as donations are down and their own portfolios have been decimated. The green auction idea is a fun and effective way to raise consciousness as well as funding for the environmental movement. Come to think of it, also very appropriate for Christie’s since their very business is sustainability as they sell old items which get “re-used” as they are handed down through generations.

A final anecdote: at risk of sounding like a celebrity hound (I’m not) and a TV fan (I don’t watch much), a personal highlight was the chance to visit one on one with Sam Waterston of Law & Order at the after-party, held at the trendy Monkey Bar. I admit to being a bit of a Law & Order junkie, and got to ask him about the departure of Detective Goren, his thoughts on our clean energy future, amongst other tidbits around Oceana and the environment. All in all the Christie’s Green Auction lived up to its hype in every way. There’s still a bit of time, click on the link and enjoy your opportunity to participate — //


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