Fountain House Gallery, the premier New York City venue representing artists with mental illness, held its “RISE” art auction and benefit on Thursday at the Metropolitan Pavilion.


The annual event celebrates the vibrant work of Fountain House Gallery artists and the integral role they play in advancing New York’s creative arts sector while breaking the stigma surrounding mental illness.


This year’s honoree of the Esther Montanez Leadership Award was photographer Carmel Fromson for her dedication to Fountain House Gallery as one of its earliest and most ardent supporters. Fromson has been capturing great works of art for more than three decades; most notably, as a staff photographer for The Metropolitan Museum of Art for 19 years. Throughout her career, she has been a tireless proponent for mental health, recognizing early on how art can be a powerful vehicle for both healing and advocacy.


Past honorees include Agnes Gund, founder of the Art for Justice Fund; Matthew Higgs, chief curator of New York’s oldest alternative art space, White Columns; and Frank Maresca, owner and director of Ricco/Maresca Gallery.


“We’re delighted to honor Carmel Fromson, an incredible artist and visionary leader who has been instrumental in establishing Fountain House Gallery and making it the cultural institution it is today,” said Rachel Weisman, director of Fountain House Gallery. “Our artists are able to thrive within the contemporary art environment because of Carmel’s generous support—her contributions to the vitality of the Gallery cannot be understated.”


“I’m so grateful and humbled to be the honoree this evening,” said Fromson in her acceptance speech. “Everybody who spoke tonight is a woman and I feel honored to be a part of that group, and to have gotten to know the artists from photographing them for the current exhibit at the Gallery.”


This year’s benefit, emceed by CBS News anchor Tanya Rivero, was inspired by Maya Angelou’s poem, “And Still I Rise.” The evening featured original works created by Fountain House Gallery artists—curated by Monty Blanchard and Leslie Tcheyan—drawing from their lived experience of overcoming adversity on their path to mental health recovery.


RISE was made possible thanks to the generous support of this year’s corporate sponsors: Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc.; Carl T. Hagberg & Associates; EPIC Insurance Brokers & Consultants; EQ + AST; M&T Bank; Morrow Sodali LLC; Okapi LLC; Sun River Health; Trinity Church Wall Street; and Vera Institute of Justice.

For more than 20 years, Fountain House Gallery has exclusively worked with artists impacted by mental illness, providing a dedicated space where they can express their creative visions and exhibit their work. To learn more about Fountain House Gallery and its growing community of artists, visit

Fountain House
Fountain House is a national mental health nonprofit fighting to improve health, increase opportunity, and end social and economic isolation for people living with serious mental illness. Founded in 1948 in New York City, Fountain House originated the clubhouse model of community mental health that has been replicated more than 300 times in nearly 40 U.S. states and in 30 countries around the world.


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