Inside Dentistry
July 2012
Volume 8, Issue 7

Smile Design Manhattan and VOCO America Sponsor Charity Art Event

All proceeds from Takashi Murakami art show matched dollar for dollar in free dentistry.

By Kate Hughes

On May 23, 2012, Lee Gause, DDS, of Smile Design Manhattan and VOCO America acted as sponsors in a high-profile charity art show at the Martin Lawrence Gallery in SoHo, New York City. The show, which featured the work of Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, was a great success, drawing the attention of art lovers and celebrities and selling $68,000 worth of artwork. Every purchase made at the Murakami show will be matched, dollar for dollar, with free dentistry for people in need by Smile Design Manhattan.

"It was truly an amazing event. We have created a sustainable source to give away dentistry," said Gause, who is dedicated to performing charitable dental work. "Events like this give us the funds necessary to provide the highest level of care and use the best possible operative and crown and bridge materials on people receiving free dentistry."

The Murakami show is the fourth charity art show that Gause has sponsored. In order to make each show a singular event, Gause has arranged for the free care resulting from each art show reflect the spirit of the spotlighted artist. One of Gause’s previous events showcased Wyatt Gallery, an American photographer who took pictures of the tent cities in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. The proceeds from that show allowed Gause to provide free dentistry for more than 300 kids in Haiti’s Edeyo School (www.Edeyo.org).

Takashi Murakami has a traditional Japanese esthetic that he blends with pop culture to create colorful anime and manga-inspired pieces. He is also a huge force in the fashion world. "He’s designed for Louis Vuitton and Kanye West, so all of the recipients of the dental care from this show are from PS600, a New York high school for kids looking to pursue careers in fashion," Gause explained. "The free dental care that Smile Design Manhattan offers is not necessarily only for impoverished people. I am also looking to serve the overwhelming number of people in the United States who are unable to afford dental insurance."

One of Gause’s partners in sponsoring the Murakami show was VOCO America. "I truly enjoy working with VOCO because they’re so willing to get involved. For this show alone, VOCO will be providing all of the materials necessary to treat all of the patients who will be receiving free dentistry," said Gause.

Russ Perlman, regional manager, US Southeast, for VOCO America, was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Gause. "I’m always excited by the idea of creating a different atmosphere and providing new experiences for our customers, both the clinicians and the distributors," said Perlman. VOCO has hosted a number of unique events in the past, such as a BMW Driving Experience CE, where clinicians were able to take a CE course, and then drive a BMW. "We like being able to give our clinicians a fun experience, even though they were there to work," he explained.

Perlman described how excited VOCO was to contribute to a charity and support the arts. "It’s so rewarding, because we are now involved in a community that we’ve never been involved with before, and it’s for such a great cause. All of this money is going to the right place, it’s helping the right people, and we’re having so much fun being a part of it," he said.

Perlman also shared how participating in Gause’s charitable endeavors has helped VOCO to build its brand in the United States. "VOCO has only been in the United States for 10 years, and [participating in these charity events] gives us the opportunity to build our brand from the bottom up. Our excellent products have already made a name for us on the clinical side, and I am so pleased that we’re able to build a fresh reputation on the social side."

Perlman is quick to give credit to Gause for the success of the Murakami show. "[Gause] has a great personality, he’s a real go-getter and he really excels in putting together these fantastic events. I can’t wait to work with him again."

Gause, a graduate of Howard Uni­versity School of Dentistry and a clinical associate professor at New York University in the implant dentistry program, has been practicing in Manhattan since 2005, where he runs a high-tech dental office and performs dentistry using the latest techniques, technologies, and materials. Having a successful practice, Gause has always been invested in providing dental care for underprivileged and underinsured individuals.

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