Diema’s Dream: Dreams 2008
Photos Sergei Koshkin
On May 24, at the GUM department store on Red Square, the Diema’s Dream Foundation held its fourth annual Dreams fundraising event. Since 1998, Diema’s Dream has worked to improve the lives of disabled Russian children through programs such as Help, which provides support to orphanage #8 in Moscow, and The Family Education and Intervention Center, which offers individualized services free of charge to Moscow families raising children with serious disabilities. The Dreams 2008 dinner and art auction marked the foundation’s 10th anniversary, but this milestone was not the only reason to celebrate.
This year, Diema’s Dream Village, a community designed for disabled young adults and their families, will open its doors. The first program of its kind in Russia, the village will provide support and services that will allow its residents to achieve levels of independence and social integration that were previously out of reach. In short, aft er years spent living in institutions, many children and young adults who enter the Diema’s Dream Village will finally be “home.” Naturally, an undertaking of this scope requires significant financial support, and the proceeds of this year’s art auction are earmarked for the village project. In addition, the evening provided an opportunity for guests to contribute to the Diema’s Dream Buy-a-Brick which, thanks to new legislation allowing such endowments, will be one of Russia’s first. Renaissance Capital, a gold sponsor of the 2008 event, will donate its services to manage the fund. The Dreams 2008 evening began with an opportunity to view the works of art to be auctioned. Among the 25 donated lots were sculptures and oil paintings by contemporary Russian artists. Following this, dinner was served, and then Diema’s Dream founder and director Mary Dudley reminded the guests why they were there with a moving speech about the history of the charity and its accomplishments to date. A short film made by Anglo-American School junior Matt Eager illustrated what Mary had spoken of moments earlier — the dreams that had, through the contributions of many, come true as well as those that still remained to be realized.
In his introductory remarks, Renaissance Capital’s Bob Forsman urged the audience to “bid early, bid often,” advice they heeded: Several vigorous bidding wars provided palpable suspense and excitement. At the height of the bidding momentum, sale prices climbed to many times their catalogue estimates. For example, the Taras Levko sculpture “Girl with a Stole,” which was listed at $6000-$7000, sold for $35,000, while the next lot, Vladimir Brainin’s “Light on the Façade II,” with the same estimate as the Levko work, sold for $36,000. By evening’s end, the combined efforts of Christie’s auctioneer Andrew McVinish, who had graciously donated his time for the event, and a phalanx of student volunteers from the Anglo- American School, who displayed each lot as it went on the block and collected payment from winning bidders, along with the generosity of numerous art-loving guests, had raised $320,400 for Diema’s Dream.
While the hard work of the event’s organizers and volunteers came to fruition on a single, fleeting evening, the benefits of their efforts are not limited in space and time. The beautiful deeds connected with Dreams 2008 — from the works of art to the works of generosity and compassion — will endure for years to come. For more information about Diema’s Dream, visit http://www.ddfund.ru./