Grammy and Academy Award-winning singer and producer John Legend recently took the crowd at the 11th Annual Art of Elysium Gala to Heaven with an elegant evening he curated for the Art of Elysium, a charitable organization which encourages artists to participate in art programs serving youth and other people in need.
Held at the historic Barker Hanger in Santa Monica, Calif., this year’s Art of Elysium Gala honored John Legend with its “Visionary” Award. Past visionary award recipients have included Jim Sheridan, Shepard Fairey, Mark Mothersbaugh, Cameron Silver, Colleen Atwood, Linda Perry, Marina Abramović, Vivienne Westwood & Andreas Kronthaler, and Stevie Wonder.
As this year’s “Visionary Award” recipient, Legend was asked to creatively curate the evening to conform with his own particular take on heaven.
What resulted was an evening featuring actor/comedian Nick Kroll as the emcee, with guests also enjoying the comedy of Neal Brennan, co-Creator of “Chappelle’s Show”, who performed a politically charged monologue. Also, delivering a monologue was Joe Morton from ABC’s “Scandal”, who performed a routine as Dick Gregory that was derived from the off-Broadway play “Turn Me Loose.”
Founded in 1997, the Art of Elysium recently expanded its mission beyond serving only medically fragile youth to serving other communities of need including the elderly and homeless.
“Shameless” actress Shanola Hampton was honored with the “Spirit of Elysium Award” for her work with the organization. Past “Spirt of Elysium” Award recipients include Eva Mendes, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Elijah Wood, David Arquette, Ali Larter & Hayes MacArthur, Amber Heard, Finola Hughes & Russell Young, Camilla Belle.
Rock band the X Ambassadors also performed during the evening.
Lastly, John Legend took the stage to perform, delivering on an smooth rendition of the Ohio Players classic “Heaven Must Be Like This,” in addition to performing “All of Me” and several other of his classic songs. To close the night, Legend was joined on stage by Common, to perform their Oscar-winning song “Glory.”
There were a number of celebrities in attendance at the gala, including Stevie Wonder, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Rumor Willis, Aja Naomi King, Dawn-Lyen Gardner, Vanessa Hudgens, Amber Heard, Chrissy Teigen, Rooney Mara, and Shailene Woodley.
See video from the 2018 Art of Elysium Gala below, in addition to Human Nature photos from the event.
John Legend receives “Visionary Award”
Jennifer Howell and John Legend
John Legend, Chrissy Teigen and Joe Morton
Casey Harris and Stevie Wonder
Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds
Chrissy Teigen Derrick Hough
Mike Jackson and Neal Brennan
Aja Naomi King and Rashaad Dunn
Stevie Wonder and Casey Harris
(All above photos are from Human Nature magazine)