We chatted with Dr. Erika Faust, board member and 2015 SOAPBOX co-chair! Keep reading to learn more about her. (And click here for our interview with our other co-chair, Curtis D. Young).
You joined The LP’s board of directors in 2013. What made you excited about getting involved with The LP?
The overall mission of The LP touches on many themes that are important to me- all of which overlap. These include a love of art, children’s welfare, people of color, and New York City. When I learned of the organization, I felt an instant, intuitive pull towards it, and it has been a joy to be a part of it ever since.
You also served as SOAPBOX co-chair last year, and were very instrumental in making it such a successful event. What did you enjoy most about SOAPBOX last year?
As a new board member, it was an honor to be asked to co-chair The LPs first benefit in many years. It was truly heartwarming to bring together friends and supporters of the LP over the years to celebrate with us as the organization enters into it’s second decade, and continues its growth. In addition to honoring our alums Michael Premo and Rachel Falcone’s groundbreaking work, we also had established art world darlings there to support us—Mickalene Thomas, Wangechi Mutu, and Derrick Adams. It was truly a night to remember.
What was one of the best fundraiser events you attended in the past year (besides SOAPBOX!)?
The Watermill Center’s summer gala is always an amazing experience. This event is a pleasure because of the extensive and diverse list of artwork auctioned and the unique guest list. It’s also a great dance party!
Why are you passionate about arts and culture? What’s your vision for how arts & culture can effect social change?
As a native New Yorker who was born just in time to experience New York in all its gritty glory (from the early 80’s to mid-90s), I have been conflicted by the gradual changes we are currently experiences. Although I try to keep in mind that change is the only constant, I can’t help but be a little dismayed at the idea that our city is morphing into a place that is at times unrecognizable. In many ways, the changes have been for the better, and the city is safer without a doubt. But I do see a shift away from the bold creativity that made New York the cultural mecca of the world.
The diversity of our communities has always been what made us special. Our communities have historically been incubators of talent, imagination, and inspiration. I see that changing, and I see many communities becoming more homogenized both by race and by class. New York should be for everyone, and the LP seeks to empower those who may not otherwise have a voice, and we do this via art and artists. Since becoming a board member, I have learned a lot about the extent to which art can create change within communities.
What are you most excited about for SOAPBOX 2015?
Without a doubt, it is our honorees, honorary chairs, and special print artist. It is incredible to have these individuals on board to give this year’s event it’s own special vibe. It will be an honor to celebrate with them, while at the same time being able to give thanks to our many friends and supporters.
What is your favorite book, film or song about NYC?
Native New Yorker by Odyssey. It’s such a classic—so 70s and glamorous!
What have you been reading lately?
Where do you do your laundry?
My building has a laundry room.