Mickalene Thomas motorcycle to be auctioned for charity

Superstar contemporary artist Mickalene Thomas is partnering with Heritage Auctions, Ducati North America and men’s grooming brand ATWATER to benefit RxART, a non-profit organization that helps children heal through the extraordinary power of visual art. Ducati has donated a brand-new 2024 Scrambler Icon to be transformed by Thomas with her custom artwork; the Mickalene Thomas motorcycle will be auctioned live through Heritage on May 23.

Proceeds from this partnership will underwrite RxART’s art installation for the SUNY Upstate: Nappi Wellness Institute in Syracuse, New York, opening this month. RxART commissions established contemporary artists to transform children’s hospital settings into engaging and uplifting healing environments at no cost to the hospitals. The Mickalene Thomas Ducati will be on public view at Heritage Auctions’ New York offices located at 445 Park Avenue from May 9-12. 

Thomas is one of the most celebrated artists of her generation. Her paintings and multi-media works take on the complex intersection of race, femininity and beauty through her distinctive vernacular; her recognizable aesthetic makes her an especially compelling artist to join this unique partnership and take on the transformation of a pre-production motorcycle.

Thomas’ mastery of material and image carries an undeniable presence and will convert the Mickalene Thomas motorcycle Scrambler Icon into a one-of-a-kind work of art. This project continues a rich tradition of artist collaborations with legacy brands that honor the artist’s vision and intent. For this project, Thomas will incorporate her unmistakable-yet-evolving flower motif, which she’s used extensively throughout her practice.

“I am extremely humbled to be partnering with Ducati, ATWATER and Heritage for such an important cause,” Thomas said. “Changing narratives for future generations has always been a key part of my work as an artist and mentor. This partnership is particularly rewarding to have the opportunity to share the healing power of art with the next generation.”

In February, ATWATER introduced its partnership with Ducati North America to benefit RxART. This is ATWATER’s first collaboration; it has created a custom bar soap as a limited edition with Ducati to support RxART.

ATWATER’s founder, Chris Salgardo, is a lifelong motorcycle enthusiast and a longtime supporter and board member of RxART, so teaming up with Ducati and RxART felt natural.

“As our first collaboration, it was important that we select a like-minded partner that wanted to help make the world a brighter place for children,” Salgardo said. “By expanding the program to include the auction of a motorcycle adorned with art by Mickalene Thomas, it truly showcases the authentic alignment between ATWATER, Ducati North America and RxArt to make a greater impact by supporting the Nappi Wellness Institute Installation.”

The funds from this Mickalene Thomas motorcycle auction will be used for the Nappi Wellness Institute installation in Syracuse – which includes work by artists Tomokazu Matsuyama, Julia Chiang and Ann Craven – with the initial $10,000 donation from Atwater via sales of the Atwater+Ducati bar soap. The custom soap, Clean Impact AXD1 Body Scrub & Cleansing Bar, will drive proceeds to RxART from every purchase at AtwaterSkin.com.

Ducati has racked up a rich history of international fundraising, and this newest project continues the company’s commitment to charitable donations. This customized Scrambler Icon is the first next-generation Scrambler to arrive in North America and it has been donated for this project before the model’s arrival on the market. 

“We are honored to be a part of this collaboration reflecting Ducati’s desire to give back to those in need and Scrambler’s support of individual expression,” Jason Chinnock, CEO of Ducati North America, said. “Mickalene Thomas has taken a Scrambler Ducati motorcycle and brought her playful and vibrant aesthetic to create something truly unique. What started as a partnership with ATWATER and RxART has now grown into an amazing program also involving Heritage Auctions, so on behalf of the motorcycling community we thank everyone involved in making this important project come to fruition.”

Of the momentous partnership, Diane Brown,Founder and President at RxART, says: “It is an honor and a privilege to have RxART’s installation at Nappi Wellness Institute supported by ATWATER’s founder Chris Salgardo and Ducati. Chris has been a valued member of our Board of Directors for 14 years. In his position at Shu Uemura, he initiated the first corporate contribution to RxART in 2004 and has continued to support RxART enthusiastically throughout the last 18 years. In his position as President of Kiehl’s Since 1851 Chris directed support for RxART installations at hospitals in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. The partnership with Ducati is a first for RxART.”

Heritage Auctions is pleased and honored to shepherd this project to its public debut. Heritage’s live auction of the transformed motorcycle marks the auction house’s first partnership with Thomas, RxART, Ducati, and ATWATER.

“Heritage Auctions is thrilled to collaborate with Mickalene Thomas and the incredible organizations of RxArt, Ducati, and ATWATER,” Taylor Curry, Heritage’s Director of Modern & Contemporary Art, said. “This partnership and ultimate auction represent a unique and inspiring opportunity to bring together the worlds of art, design, and social impact, with the proceeds benefiting Nappi Wellness Institute in Syracuse, New York.”

About Mickalene Thomas

Mickalene Thomas (American, born 1971), Les Trois Femmes Deux , 2018.
Mickalene Thomas (American, born 1971), Les Trois Femmes Deux, 2018, dye coupler print, 2018.214. High Museum of Art, Atlanta. Purchase with funds from the Friends of Photography.

Mickalene Thomas was born and raised in New Jersey and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. One of the most influential artists today, her innovative practice has yielded instantly recognizable and widely celebrated aesthetic languages within contemporary visual culture.

She is known for her elaborate paintings composed of rhinestones, acrylic, and enamel. Not only do her masterful mixed-media paintings, photographs, films and installations command space, they occupy eloquently while dissecting the intersecting complexities of black and female identity within the Western canon.

Outside of her core practice, Thomas is a Tony Award-nominated co-producer, curator, educator and mentor to many emerging artists. While embarking on her own monumental solo shows, she simultaneously curates exhibitions at galleries and museums.

Thomas’s work has become an undeniable force within the contemporary art world and an indispensable inspiration to younger generations of artists.

About RxART

RxART’s mission is to help children heal through the extraordinary power of visual art. RxART commissions established contemporary artists to transform children’s hospital settings into engaging and inspiring healing environments full of beauty, humor and comfort. Every project is produced at no cost to the partner hospitals and every commissioned artist is provided with an honorarium and the chance to inspire children during their medical journeys.

RxART has completed 58 projects with 91 artists in 38 hospitals across 23 cities in the U.S. since it first launched in 2000. As of 2023, RxART Projects have reached and continue to provide inspiration to more than 3.3 million patients throughout the U.S. 

For more information, visit www.rxart.net 


Earlier this year ATWATER introduced its partnership with Ducati North America to Benefit RxART, to help children heal through the extraordinary power of visual art. Funding from this partnership will underwrite RxART’s newest art installation for the SUNY Upstate: Nappi Wellness Institute in Syracuse, New York opening in the Spring of 2023.

The partnership introduces a limited-edition collaboration, the Clean Impact AXD1 Body Scrub & Cleansing Bar ($17.00), which will drive proceeds to RxART from every purchase at AtwaterSkin.com and with retail partners Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue. Made with charcoal, this bar deodorizes, detoxifies and purifies the body, exfoliates dead surface skin cells and moisturizes dry skin while keeping it healthy, fresh and hydrated.

ATWATER’s mission is to amplify your grooming routine with high-quality, high-performance skincare. Its products are powered by performance and ATWATER is honored to join forces with Ducati to customize a limited edition Clean Impact Body Scrub and Cleansing Bar in support of RxArt. www.atwaterskin.com 

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