Urban Zen is the place and the space where my ponytailed husband, the love of my life, explored his creativity and turned his passions into the art that is now on exhibition at the Urban Zen Center. I am so honored to share this piece of Stephan with you and am filled with gratitude to all of my family, friends and loved ones who came to support Stephan’s work on Wednesday evening when we launched the “Connecting the Dots” exhibition.
Stephan was one of the most creative individuals I’ve ever known and he inspired me to connect the dots between health, education and culture through our work here at Stephan’s studio, which is now the home of Urban Zen.
Stephan inspired the launch of Urban Zen and he remains, to this day, my guiding light, past, present and future. I can always feel my husband’s spirit here in this space, but I have to say there is something especially powerful about being in his studio now with his art. I know Stephan was there was right there with us on Wednesday night.
One of Stephan’s signature series was his “Larger than Life” series which included the shoe and the horse which now sit in Las Vegas, the film that’s now on display here at Urban Zen and, of course, the legacy apple sculpture that sits just down the street on the Hudson River. It was an amazing experience to gift the apple to the city because New York means the world to me. When I’m asked why I named my company Donna Karan New York it’s because my name alone doesn’t say enough, New York is everything.
To me, no one captures the spirit of this city better than Mayor Bloomberg. He also embodies Urban Zen’s three initiatives: he has made enormous strides in advancing healthcare, improving education and preserving the precious culture of this city.
I am beyond inspired by what the Mayor has been able to accomplish. I mean, look at what he has done with Tobacco alone! I lost Stephan to lung cancer, so I absolutely know how important this work is. To date, Mayor Bloomberg has committed more than $600 Million to curb tobacco use, has supported efforts to pass 100% smoke-free laws for work and public spaces in 19 different countries creating cleaner air for no less than 750 million people – this is no small thing!
In addition, he has reduced crime, scaled up our parks and recreation areas and has done wonders for the city’s economy. From theater to fashion, to philanthropy and commerce, from Wall Street to Greenwich Street, Michael Bloomberg represents the heart and soul of this city.
It is because of his incredible leadership and his profound vision that I was so happy to present the Apple Award to Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Wednesday evening.
I invite you to join me on this journey of sharing Stephan’s legacy. I promise, you’ll feel every bit as inspired as I do.