October 14, 2019

City Hearts Celebrates 30 Years with “Fresh Focus: A New Shot at Life” Photo Auction and Fundraise


City Hearts’ Fresh Focus 2015 Photo Auction changes its venue to the Leica Gallery in West Hollywood as it celebrates its 30th anniversary.


City Hearts Celebrates 30 Years with “Fresh Focus: A New Shot at Life”  Photo Auction and Fundraise

Leica photographer, the late Mary Ellen Mark, with actor Marlon Brando on the set of Apocalypse Now.

Can you believe it? City Hearts: Kids Say Yes to the Arts has been a fixture in Topanga Canyon for 30 years. The community’s support of the work that Bob and Sherry Jason do for the inner city children of Los Angeles has been vital.

“Whether it’s coming out for “Shakespeare Challenge” or for last year’s “Fresh Focus” at the Stagecoach Ranch on Old Canyon, we’ve always been able to count on our friends and neighbors here in the Canyon,” said Sherry Jason.

This year’s “Fresh Focus 2015: A New Shot at Life,” will take place at a new venue, The Leica Gallery in West Hollywood. Online bidding through Charity Buzz begins on October 22, and there will be a special pre-event Champagne Viewing Party to view images and buy tickets (See cityhearts.org for details).


City Hearts Celebrates 30 Years with “Fresh Focus: A New Shot at Life”  Photo Auction and Fundraise

Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Al Martinez in his home office in Topanga.

The change of venue didn’t come lightly. The Jasons wanted to find a way to celebrate City Hearts’ 30th Anniversary and reach more photographers and supporters. When the prestigious Leica Gallery in West Hollywood heard of the work City Hearts does, it was perfect timing. They wanted to help support such a worthy and important cause and City Hearts “Fresh Focus: A New Shot at Life” is the perfect fit for their interest and attention.


City Hearts Celebrates 30 Years with “Fresh Focus: A New Shot at Life”  Photo Auction and Fundraise

Joni Mitchell by Henry Diltz.

“We met with Paris Chong, the gallery manager at Leica, and presented what City Hearts is doing for the children of Compton and environs,” explained Executive Director Jane Donaldson. “She was sold. She threw the full support of Leica behind “Fresh Focus 2015,” found a date where the gallery could take down a current exhibit and have the walls available for Fresh Focus 2015 donations. She even urged high-profile Leica Gallery exhibitors to donate for the event.”


The result is an incredible wealth of photography to be auctioned off with proceeds going to the City Hearts’ photography, dance, drama and music programs.

From there, everything seemed to fall into place the moment Leica gave City Hearts the green light. The first donation was a rare, and personal photograph of long-time Leica photographer, the late Mary Ellen Mark, of her with actor Marlon Brando ­on the set of Apocalypse Now that was captured by Brando’s personal photographer, Stefani Kong Uhler.

Donating the shot to be the seminal art piece for Fresh Focus 2015 was a no-brainer for Kong Uhler, who is an avid supporter of arts for children and will be attending the event.

The combination of the work that City Hearts does, the support of Leica and the photo tribute to Mark quickly drew in other photographers.

To start with, Topanga’s own Katie Dalsemer, Robin Becker and Felice Willat were among the first to offer their work.


City Hearts Celebrates 30 Years with “Fresh Focus: A New Shot at Life”  Photo Auction and Fundraise

“Lincoln Continental” by Joe Hutshing, an American film editor from San Diego who is best known for working with film director, Oliver Stone. Hutshing has received Academy Awards for the Born on the 4th of July (1989) and JFK (1991).

The list grew with long-time supporters Anthony Friedkin, Kim Gottlieb-Walker (with a wonderful Bob Marley) as well as Herb Ritts (Bruce Springsteen), Doug Kirkland (Marilyn), Robert Zuckerman, Greg Gorman (Frank Zappa) and others who have been extremely generous with their art.

There are many new artists as well. This year members of the American Society of Cinematographers and their body of still photos will have a strong presence. James Chressanthis (Topangan, City Hearts Board Member and previous donor), David Darby, Charlie Lieberman, Steven Poster, as well as two-time Academy Award winner Emmanuel Lubezki (Birdman, Gravity), Academy Award winner Russell Carpenter (Titanic) and ASC president Richard Crudo, have given City Hearts an eclectic range of beautiful photography.

For Crudo and the members of the ASC, donating to “Fresh Focus 2015” was an easy give.

“Regardless of what station one may have obtained in life, we all can identify with that feeling of starting out...of having immense energy and ambition joined by a longing for direction,” says Crudo. “City Hearts does a tremendous job of meeting that need by exposing young people to opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable to them. By doing so, they help reveal talents and proclivities that can lead to lives of a much grander scale with wonderful benefits both for the individual and society at large.”

“We are also grateful to Leica and their artists,” added Donaldson. “Eli Reed, Michael Semaan, Julia Dean, Helen K. Garber, John Williams and more have been so generous. They will join other gallery artists such as Ruven Afanador on the walls of the Leica Gallery on November 1, for this one-day special event benefiting City Hearts.”

Several of these amazing artists will be on hand for the event and Ilse Ruppert will be flying in from Germany.


City Hearts Celebrates 30 Years with “Fresh Focus: A New Shot at Life”  Photo Auction and Fundraise

Bruce Springsteen by Herb Ritts.

While it is important to Bob and Sherry Jason and the people behind City Hearts to embrace Fresh Focus 2015 at The Leica Gallery, they want to make sure that their loyal Topanga supporters are there, too.

“We began City Hearts after witnessing the devastation in the lives of the kids we represented in the Juvenile Court back in the early 1980’s” said Bob. “Sherry and I knew that we must do something to break the cycle of delinquency that destroys so many lives. Our Topanga community is aware and caring. Topanga reaches out to help those less fortunate and we know we can count on this amazing community to help support Fresh Focus 2015.”

“Fresh Focus: A New Shot at Life” Sunday November 1, 1-4 p.m., at the LEICA Gallery located at 8783 Beverly Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90048. Tickets are $50.

Online bidding through Charity Buzz begins on October 22. For information on the Special pre-event Champagne Viewing Party, to view images and to buy tickets, visit www.cityhearts.org.