DIFFA's Picnic By Design Celebrates Broadway, Supports HIV/AIDS Organizations

Guests enjoyed spectacular views of Times Square at the Viacom Terrace. Photography by Erik Bardin.

DIFFA's seventh annual Picnic by Design fundraiser took on a theatrical tone last night at the Viacom Lounge & Terrace, where the design community came together to raise money for HIV/AIDS organizations that provide much-needed financial support for patients and their families. The theme of this year's picnic was Broadway, with 19 of the 22 baskets channeling vintage Broadway, specific musicals, or New York City's Theater District. Ultimately, the design community raised $60,000, beating out last year's total of $50,000.

Co-Chair David Rockwell, DIFFA executive director Dawn Roberson, and Tom Viola, executive director of Broadway Cares and Equity Fights AIDS.Photography by Erik Bardin.

David Rockwell of Rockwell Group and Tom Viola of Broadway Cares gave the opening remarks before kicking off the silent auction (Interior Design Editor-in-Chief Cindy Allen continues her role as a DIFFA chairperson).

"I first got involved with DIFFA over 20 years ago," began Rockwell. "It was this amazing revelation that design could make a difference. To this day, it remains a cathartic tool for designers to see their creations do good in the world."

Interior designer Vanessa Deleon poses with her Breakfast at Tiffany's basket. Photography by Erik Bardin.

Viola agreed, saying that he was grateful for the ability of the design and theater communities to come together and "share turf for maximum impact." To date, DIFFA has raised over $44 million for AIDS services across the nation.

This year's Picnic by Design also served as the inaugural event for DIFFA Plus, the organization's new young professionals club. The club is open to all creatives interested in helping the cause and will feature informal events like bar meet ups, volunteer opportunities, and festive outings.

The Matouk team poses with their SpongeBob SquarePants basket. Photography by Erik Bardin.
Two DIFFA volunteers examine the Knoll + Gensler Kinky Boots-inspired basket. Photography by Erik Bardin.

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