On Saturday (July 30), a galaxy of stars headed to the Hamptons for Russell Simmons’s annual Art for Life charity event. The benefit — which was hosted by Soledad O’Brien and featured performances from Jennifer Hudson, among others — raised $1 million for arts education and gallery programs that directly benefit 2,300 students each year.
Also on hand, Taraji P. Henson, Kimora Lee Simmons (Russell’s ex) and Edward Norton — an honoree — who tells Zap2it he recognizes the importance of arts education.
“I thinks arts education is our country’s intellectual baseline,” says Norton.
According to organizer Simmons, the country just isn’t doing enough to expose kids to the arts in school.
“The imagination is everything, kids struggle and they need to exercise those creative muscles as much as you can,” Simmons tells Zap2it. “We have to supplement every area of education but especially the arts.”
Christy Smith contributed to this report.