Russell Simmons: art for a cause

 

Like many celebs spotted around town, Russell Simmons is using his time at Art Basel to raise money for a good cause.

Like many celebs spotted around town, Russell Simmons is using his time at Art Basel to raise money for a good cause.

The hip-hop mogul has teamed up with Bombay Sapphire to create the Artisan Series, a two-day exhibit that features the work of 20 artists and benefits his Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation.

The artisan series was launched in June as a national search aimed at finding undiscovered talent in the urban art and photography world.

On Saturday, Simmons and his big brother, Daniel, will host a private party at Paris Studios, where they will name two finalists of the series.

He's excited to see who wins. ``It's really my brother and Mark [Ecko] who were responsible for choosing the artists. I just helped with infrastructure.''

Simmons is big on helping kids in the arts.

``The goal of the party is to raise money so we can provide disadvantaged children with arts education,'' he says. ``Without the arts, schools are like prisons. Kids need a creative outlet. They need their imaginations to survive.''

Speaking of survival, Simmons is hoping fans dig his new reality show on Oxygen.

``It's nutty!'' he says. ``But I like that people get to see all the things I do.''

-- MICAELA HOOD

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