Press Release

November 14, 2019

The King of Arms Art Ball
A live experience continuing traditions of vogue and ballroom culture

The Dean Collection and Oolite Arts are pleased to present The King of Arms Art Ball a live experience by internationally-renowned multidisciplinary artist Rashaad Newsome taking place on Wednesday, December 4th at the Soho House Miami Beach tent. Through Newsome’s collaboration with The Dean Collection, a growing contemporary art collection and platform started by Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean and his wife Alicia Keys, and Oolite Arts, a premier non-profit dedicated to supporting Miami’s art and film community, this event will be a highlight of Art Basel Miami Art Week.

“I have been an admirer of Rashaad’s work for years and respect how he authentically engages community. The spirit of the ball is what The Dean Collection is all about, giving artists and creatives a platform to creatively express themselves without limits for an audience that reflects everyone,” says Kasseem Dean, founder of The Dean Collection.

“Rashaad Newsome and Kasseem Dean (Swizz Beatz) are powerhouses in their own genres. We hope the ball and this session of Art Sounds peels back the layers, to reveal how musicians and visual artists influence each other and collaborate to create great work,” says Dennis Scholl, president and CEO of Oolite Arts.

As part of his artistic practice, Rashaad Newsome has always centered the voices of the LGBTQ+ community of color in his work. His King of Arms Art Ball, which first began in 2013, continues this tradition by offering a platform for representation and celebration through pageantry and performance. The work harkens back to the historic vogueing and ballroom scene that originated in 1970s Harlem which has always offered a safe and reaffirming space for queer youth of color.

Newsome explains, “With The King of Arms Art Ball, the framework of performing gender binaries or some devotion to capitalism, which is often associated with ballroom, is eviscerated and there is a premium put on the contestants’ ability to imagine Black artists’ work in new ways.”

Newsome will bring together renowned figures from the LGBTQ+ ballroom community with visionaries from the worlds of art, fashion, music, and activism. Participants and performers will be invited to walk several categories that are inspired by moments in recent contemporary art history that celebrate the work of LGBTQ+ artists of color which in the past have included artists such as Mickalene Thomas, Zanele Muholi, Nick Cave, and many others. Each category will be judged by critical voices within various creative disciplines including Swizz Beatz and special guests. This iteration of the King of Arms Art Ball is supported by The Facebook Art Department.

“Building connections and community is at the heart of who we are and what we do at Facebook. We’re excited to partner in bringing this event to life and to joining with a rich and diverse range of communities to celebrate expression and amplify the voices of local artists,” states Tina Vaz, Facebook’s Head of AIR and ARL.

Art Sounds: Rashaad Newsome + Swizz Beatz
Dec. 5 at 2 p.m.

SoHo House, Miami Beach – Admittance by Invitation

Art Sounds is Oolite’s new program series that explores the cross section between the visual arts and music. Following the King of Arms Art Ball, Newsome and Swizz Beatz will have a conversation reflecting on their collaboration and their path as creatives in varying disciplines.

The King of Arms Art Ball is made possible by Facebook.

Special Thanks to Soho House for their ongoing commitment to the arts.


April Hunt: [email protected]
Paola Zanzo: [email protected]