Major contemporary artists design plates to aid homeless in New York

Major contemporary artists design plates to aid homeless in New York

For the 2021 edition of the Artist Plate Project, Ai Weiwei, Mickalene Thomas, Virgil Abloh and more step up to the plate to raise urgent funds for the homeless community in New York City

We’ve all had a lot on our plates in recent times. The same could be said for Coalition for the Homeless, which for the second year, has transformed the humble dinner plate – a symbol of home, community, and nourishment – into a canvas for world-renowned art. 

Last year, following the Covid-19-forced cancellation of its annual gala Artwalk NY, the charity went back to the drawing board to think up an inventive alternative to raising urgent funds for New York’s homeless community during a time of increased precariousness. The inaugural edition of the Artist Plate Project raised $1.5m to support New York’s most vulnerable citizens, with many artists’ plates being snapped up by eager collectors in under 60 seconds. 

Artist Plate Project 2021: designs by Virgil Abloh, Ai Weiwei, Sarah Sze and more

Ai Weiwei Artist plate project 2021
Ai Weiwei

For the project’s second edition, the coalition has teamed up with 45 top-tier contemporary artists to create limited-edition fine-bone china plates, which will be offered for sale on 16 November, with a preview now available online. Plates are produced by Prospect and made available for sale on Artware Editions.

This year sees the project dish up another star-studded list including the likes of Ai Weiwei, Ed Ruscha, George Condo, Sarah Sze, Amy Sherald, The Haas Brothers, Virgil Abloh, Carmen Herrera, Christopher Wool, Mickalene Thomas and Lawrence Weiner. 

Many of the participating artists have conceived new work for the project, while others have delved into their archives to adapt seminal works to a circular format. The plates are produced in limited editions of 250 and sold for $195 each. Illustrating the potential impact of the initiative, the coalition states that the purchase of just one plate has the capacity to feed up to 100 homeless New Yorkers. 

Mickalene Thomas Artist plate project 2021
Mickalene Thomas

​​This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Coalition for the Homeless, America’s oldest advocacy and direct service organisation aiding homeless men, women and children. Funds raised by the sale of plates will provide food, crisis services, housing and other critical aid to thousands of people experiencing homelessness and instability.

As art gifts go, there are few ideas that combine functionality, creativity and charity with such fervour. §

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