Join us on Saturday, May 6 for the Aljira 2017 Benefit and Auction Honoring James P. Hughes, Managing Director Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Market Executive and Artist Saya Woolfalk


Downtown83 Aljira’s 2017 Benefit & Auction is a tribute to artists and business leaders working together to build and re-imagine the urban landscape. As these dedicated efforts take flight in Newark, Aljira is excited to present Downtown83, a celebration of activism, altruism and art. Set in Aljira’s galleries, a silent and on-line auction will feature an exclusive offering of works.


Sponsorship Opportunities

For sponsorship opportunities, contact Anne Kneuer at Download the Sponsorship Form here.

Purchase your tickets now at shopAljira and save: $200 in advance through May 1 and $250 at the door.


Honoree Bios

James P. Hughes
Dreamtime Award for Philanthropy

Jim was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. He graduated high school from Kimball Union Academy in Meriden New Hampshire in 1988 and received a BA in Economics from Trinity College Hartford Connecticut in 1992.

In 1995, Jim was hired by Merrill Lynch into the Financial Advisor training program in the Park Avenue office in New York City where he worked for seven years as Financial Advisor, POA Coach, Mentor and Producing Sales Manager. In January of 2002, he transitioned to a full time sales manager in the Fifth Avenue Financial Center where he served until January of 2004 when he was appointed Associate Director of the Cincinnati, Ohio complex.

In September of 2006, Jim was announced as the Complex Director of the newly formed Greater Northwest Complex based out of Tacoma, Washington. Beginning in December of 2008 Jim became the Complex Director of the Indiana Complex. The Indiana Complex is based in Carmel, IN with associate offices in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, South Bend, Terre Haute, Bloomington, Lafayette, and Angola.

Currently, Jim is the Market Executive of the Short Hills, NJ Market. With approximately 300 colleagues, the Short Hills Complex manages $20 Billion in assets and liabilities. The market Jim represents has a focus on the Wealth Management Segment with niche practices in the Ultra-High Net Worth Market as well as Institutional Benefit Plan and Municipal Bond Trading practices.

Jim and his wife Holly met at Trinity College in Hartford, CT and were married in 1997. Holly is originally from Gladwyne, PA and runs an independent business; H2Juicery. They have two children: a daughter Stewart age 15 and a son James 13.

Saya Woolfalk
Dreamtime Award for Artistry

Saya Woolfalk (Japan, 1979) is a New York based artist who uses science fiction and fantasy to re-imagine the world in multiple dimensions. With the multi year projects No Place, The Empathics, and ChimaTEK, Woolfalk has created the world of the Empathics, a fictional race of women who are able to alter their genetic make-up and fuse with plants. With each body of work, Woolfalk continues to build the narrative of these women’s lives, and questions the utopian possibilities of cultural hybridity.

She has exhibited at PS1/MoMA; Deitch Projects; Contemporary Art Museum, Houston; Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati; the Brooklyn Museum; Asian Art Museum, CA, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Studio Museum in Harlem; the Frist Center for the Visual Arts; The Yerba Buena Center; The Newark Museum; Third Streaming; MCA San Diego; MoCA Taipei; and Performa 09; has been written about in the New Yorker, Sculpture Magazine, Artforum,, ARTNews, The New York Times, Huffington Post and on Art21’s blog; and has also worked with Facebook and WeTransfer. Her first solo museum show The Empathics was on view at the Montclair Art Museum in the Fall of 2012. Her second solo museum exhibition ChimaTEK Life Products was on view at the Chrysler Museum of Art in the fall 2014. She recently completed a new video installation commission for the Seattle Art Museum, and is a recipient of a NYFA grant in Digital/Electronic Arts. She is represented by Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, NYC and teaches in the BFA and MFA programs at Parsons: The New School for Design.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Ka-Man Tse for @TSqArts


Downtown83 Benefit Committee*

Adam Abdalla
Founder of Cultural Counsel

Derrick Adams

Patricia A. Bell, Aljira Trustee
Senior Vice President Investments, Global Wealth Management, Merrill Lynch

Cicely Cottingham

Victor Davson
Artist, Co-Director, Express Newark, Rutgers University-Newark

Natasha Dyer, Aljira Trustee
Director of Operations, Newark Trust for Education

Tenagne Girma-Jeffries
Founder of The Cultivation Group

Mel Leipzig

Larry Ossei-Mensah
Curator/Co-Founder of ARTNOIR

Kitab Rollins, Aljira Trustee
Manager, Broadcast and Performance Rentals
New Jersey Performing Arts Center

*As of February 7, 2017