Waterkeeper Alliance recruits Josée Nadeau to paint during fundraiser and gala
Park City resident Josée Nadeau, who is a world-renowned painter, will be the featured artist during the Deer Valley Celebrity Skifest gala dinner that will be held at Montage Deer Valley on Dec. 7.
The event, which has been a fundraiser for the Waterkeeper Alliance for the past eight years, will culminate with a live performance by country-music star Miranda Lambert.
The Waterkeeper Alliance is the fastest-growing environmental movement in the world that works to keep rivers, streams, wetlands and other wildlife habitat free from toxins and other pollutants, according to the Waterkeeper Alliance’s mission.
Co-founded by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who serves as its president, the alliance unites 214 Waterkeeper organizations in 24 countries.
These organizations are comprised of commercial and local fisheries, investigators, scientists, educators and legal advocates who patrol and protect rivers, bays, lakes and streams on six continents.
Nadeau — known for her water lily works and portraits, who has painted works for Pierce Brosnan, Frances Fisher, Clint Eastwood, Dionne Warwick and Harry Belafonte — was handpicked to participate in the gala by Waterkeeper Alliance board of trustee member and fellow Parkite Tore Steen.
"Luckily we talked her into doing this fabulous thing," Steen said. "During dinner, we’ll have celebrities go up and she’ll paint their head shots. The celebrities will sign the piece and then we’ll auction it off during the course of the evening."
Some of the celebrities who will be in attendance include Jason Alexander, Magician J.B. Benn, "Deadliest Catch" Capt. Keith Colburn, Tim Daly, Cote de Pablo, Giancarlo Esposito, Mark Feuerstein, Rachael Harris, Cheryl Hines, Chad Lowe, Virginia Madsen, Camryn Manheim, Nicole Miller, Rob Morrow, Diane Neal, Edward James Olmos, Dr. Oz, J.B. Smoove and Bob Woodruff.
Nadeau said when she paints these celebrities, she is, in essence, "capturing their spirits on one canvas."
Steen asked Nadeau to participate in the gala after he bought one of her works at a recent local fundraiser for Tag Ranch in Wanship.
At first, Nadeau’s plan for the gala was to just paint the contours of the celebrities in a more abstract project, but during a private lunch with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in New York, Steen’s wife Mona turned to Nadeau and asked her to do full portraits instead.
"I said ‘OK,’" Nadeau said laughing. "I felt this would push the creativity because I have to think deeply about how to do this and how I’m going to place each portrait on the canvas."
These works are not going to be similar to caricature drawings that are done at fairs and amusement parks.
"They are going to be full portraits," Nadeau said.
In addition to the original work, there will 10 limited-edition prints of each work that will also be available for purchase as well.
This isn’t the first time Waterkeeper Alliance has worked with an artist. The organization has created associations with various organizations and galleries to host several events that included the arts.
Internationally-acclaimed artist Jeff Koons, whose works have sold for upwards of $58 million, has helped the Waterkeeper Alliance raise money during what are known as Art for Water events, Steen said.
"We recently worked with an art gallery in New York and did some auctions a year ago and one in Los Angeles this past September to raise money," he explained.
Nadeau is honored that the Waterkeeper Alliance thinks of her along the same lines as Koons and to ask her to be a part of the event.
"Jeff is the most successful living artist of our time," Nadeau said. "For them to choose me, after they worked with Jeff, is indescribable."
Steen is happy Nadeau agreed to participate.
"I just think that we are fortunate to have her, a world-renowned artist and a wonderful friend, in Park City," said Steen. "I think it is an incredible opportunity to have Josée do something really unusual and donate her time for this very worthy cause. I think it’s going to be very special."
Steen also said the Deer Valley event is the biggest fundraiser for the organization.
"In the past we held two major events each year, one in Banff and the other here in Deer Valley, but we’re not holding the one in Banff this year, and I’ve always said that there is no reason the one here shouldn’t be the biggest of them all," Steen said. "Deer Valley is a wonderful venue and we moved it to Montage a couple of years ago."
During the day on Dec. 7, prior to the gala, Deer Valley Celebrity Skifest will feature an event where celebrities will ski against professional athletes and Olympians who will coach some of the teams.
"Many of the celebrities can ski and are willing to race against the athletes," Steen said. "It will be an easier race, though, that will be taped by CBS and broadcast at 3 p.m. on Sunday."
There will be another race on Dec. 8 as well, Steen said.
This year, a limited number of tickets are also available to the public — something that has rarely been done in the past, Steen said.
Tickets are $1,250 and are available by calling 646-416-6643 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org .
"We would love to get some enthusiasm going because we are very local and would love to have some locals participate in the fun," he said.
Deer Valley Celebrity Skifest benefiting Waterkeeper Alliance will be held at Deer Valley from Dec. 6 through Dec. 8. The gala dinner will be held at Montage Deer Valley on Dec. 7. For more information on the organization’s work, visit http://www.waterkeeper.org . The Waterkeeper Alliance will also feature an online auction in partnership with eBay Giving Works. Interested supporters can bid on celebrity experiences, travel, luxury goods, sports items and more at http://www.ebay.com/waterkeeper .
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