BOMBAY SAPPHIRE®, Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, and Complex Media Launch the Second Annual Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series National Competition to Provide Exposure for Emerging Artists from Around the Country

20 Visual Artists Selected to Exhibit during Art Basel Miami 2011

NEW YORK, June 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- In 2010, BOMBAY SAPPHIRE, Russell & Danny Simmons' Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation and Complex Media teamed up to launch a nationwide search to identify the finest undiscovered talent in the field of visual arts. June 7, 2011 marks the kickoff of the 2nd Annual BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Artisan Series, when the next wave of artists seeking their national breakthrough is invited to enter the competition. With the impressive range of talent showcased in last year's program, including nearly 2,000 artist entries and over 175,000 fans from across the country voting to select their favorite works, the expectations of this year's candidates are exceedingly high. Artists who are up to the challenge can enter by creating a piece of inspired, original art and submitting it via www.Complex.com/SapphireArt, www.juxtapoz.com, www.curatedmag.com, www.deviantart.com or www.Facebook.com/BombaySapphire by August 31, 2011.  Once all entries have been received, fans will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite piece of art by logging on to the BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Facebook page.  

"The BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Artisan Series has established itself as a platform for emerging artists who seek to shape our contemporary cultural landscape—artists who look to defy boundaries with the power of their imagination," says Russell Simmons, Chairman of GlobalGrind.com and co-founder of the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation. "With the extraordinary success of last year's program, I am excited to see what emerges from this year's roster of talent."

In 2010, Washington, D.C. photographer Stanley Squirewell and Miami artist Jorge Cavelier were announced as the first ever winners of the BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Artisan Series. Of his win, Cavelier said, "Art Basel Miami is one of the largest art fairs in the world. Having the opportunity to show my work here was amazing and to win tonight is more than I could have imagined."  Squirewell added, "This level of exposure is one of the most important things an artist could ask for. I'm thrilled to be recognized as a winner tonight and am looking forward to bringing my work to New York."

This year, submitted work will be reviewed by the program's esteemed panel of judges, including Rush Philanthropic Vice Chairman, Co-Founder and artist Danny Simmons, program curator Andre Guichard and other guest curators and museum heads from around the country, including famed Miami-based artist Miguel Paredes. "The BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Artisan Series offers opportunities for artists in all stages of their careers to shine. When one enters this contest the work is judged on merit alone.  It is a wonderful thing to step out onto a level playing field," says Danny Simmons. "I for one enjoy discovering the new and awesome talent that is represented. The national exposure this contest brings is a great career boost for these artists."

Following the submission phase, the panel will invite select artists to display their work at a sequence of gallery exhibits and events, taking place from September through November in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Two artists will be chosen from each local event to compete in the finale during Art Basel Miami, recognized as one of the world's premiere art events. Following the blockbuster Art Basel finale, co-hosted by Russell and Danny Simmons, two winners will have their work installed at Rush Arts Gallery and Resource Center in New York City's Chelsea arts district for the month of February 2012.

In the midst of the Artisan Series competition, BOMBAY SAPPHIRE will be compiling its own collection of works to display at the Miami finale. In partnership with BevShots®, which produces magnificent prints of crystallized alcohol under a polarized light microscope, each of the nine markets hosting a semi-final event will enlist one bartender to create a signature BOMBAY SAPPHIRE cocktail. The cocktail will then be photographed by BevShots® and featured with its final images at Art Basel. Also in conjunction with the program, limited edition gift bags and tins highlighting the works of national Artisan Series winners, Danny Simmons and program curator Andre Guichard will be available with the purchase of a BOMBAY SAPPHIRE 750ml bottle.

The relationship between BOMBAY SAPPHIRE and Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation evolved from the BOMBAY SAPPHIRE brand's longstanding support of the arts, especially in the Miami locale. BOMBAY SAPPHIRE has had an ongoing presence at Art Basel Miami over its nine year lifespan, matched more recently by its involvement with the new Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, of which BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Gin is a key sponsor. BOMBAY SAPPHIRE brand director Giles Woodyer adds, "BOMBAY SAPPHIRE has a long history of commitment to the arts and creative community.  It gives us such pleasure to be able to help provide a platform for new talent to gain the recognition that they deserve.  We were deeply touched by the response to the first full year partnership with Rush Philanthropic and we are committed to building a lasting relationship."

BE BRILLIANT AND INSPIRED. DRINK RESPONSIBLY!

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©2011 BOMBAY SAPPHIRE, SAPPHIRE AND DEVICE ARE TRADEMARKS AND REGISTERED TRADEMARKS.

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About BOMBAY SAPPHIRE

BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® is the fastest growing premium gin in the world and world's number one premium gin by value.  BOMBAY SAPPHIRE is created with a unique combination of ten hand-selected botanicals, sourced from around the globe. The brand's global essence and signature vapor infusion process impart a refined and perfectly balanced taste, versatile enough for both classic cocktails and exotic recipes.  Infused with imagination, BOMBAY SAPPHIRE is a symbol of the exploration of worldly and sophisticated lifestyles. For more information, please explore www.bombaysapphire.com.  

About Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.

Bacardi U.S.A., Inc. is the United States import and distribution arm of one of the world's leading spirits and wine producers. The company boasts a portfolio of some of the most recognized and top-selling spirits brands in the United States including BACARDI® rum, the world's favorite and best-selling premium rum, as well as the world's most awarded rum; GREY GOOSE® vodka, the world-leader in super-premium vodka; DEWAR'S® Blended Scotch Whisky, the number-one selling blended Scotch whisky in the United States; BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® gin, the top-valued and fastest-growing premium gin in the world; CAZADORES® 100 percent blue agave tequila, the number-one premium tequila in Mexico and a top-selling premium tequila in the United  States; MARTINI® vermouth, the world-leader in  vermouth; and other leading and emerging brands. For additional information, visit www.bacardiusa.com.

ABOUT RUSH PHILANTHROPIC ARTS FOUNDATION

Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation is dedicated to providing underserved urban youth with significant exposure and access to the arts, and to offering exhibition opportunities for underrepresented artists and artists of color.  Rush was founded in 1995 by three brothers: Danny Simmons, visual artist and community builder; media mogul Russell Simmons; and Joseph "Rev. Run" Simmons of the legendary hip-hop group Run-DMC.  Their goal was to fill the gap that poor and minorities face in both accessing the arts and exhibition opportunities.  Over the past 16 years, Rush has served over 700,000 urban youth and has developed a broad base of friends, collaborators and supporters dedicated to addressing these issues. In addition to the 2,300 students served each year in its education programs, Rush exhibits the work of 40 to 50 emerging and community-based artists in its galleries; welcomes over 10,000 gallery visitors; and provides unique opportunities for young people interested in careers in the arts.  Rush currently operates two galleries, Rush Arts Gallery and Resource Center in Chelsea (Manhattan) and Corridor Gallery in Clinton Hill (Brooklyn).

Rush Philanthropic believes that if you give young people the opportunity to practice and appreciate art—whether poetry, music, dance or the visual arts—you will see lives transformed. Nurtured in early childhood, and anchored in sustained, creative experiences throughout one's life, it is through art that we see young people learn to value their own unique voices and visions; and it is through art that we see artists transform the minds and eyes of society.

For more information on the Artisan Series, please visit www.complex.com/SapphireArt.

For more information on Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation visit www.rushphilanthropic.org.

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