This year's Visual AIDS Vanguard Awards— VAVA VOOM—held Monday, May 16 at the beautiful Prince George Ballroom, recognized and celebrated the achievements of artists Gregg Bordowitz, Glenn Ligon, and Jessica Whitbread and their contributions to strengthening the cultural history of art, AIDS and activism.

VAVA 2016 from photomatonchic.com on Vimeo.

The evening kicked off with an energetic performance of " Let's Have A Kiki" by Ana Matronic, backed by the dynamic duo AndrewAndrew, who were the event's hosts and DJs. Artist+ Members Peter Cramer and Kia Labeija spontaneously joined Ana, dancing and voguing their on stage, to start the night off right.

The evening's Visual AIDS Vanguard Awards presentations were filled with memorable moments. Artist+ Member Stephen Andrews introduced Glenn and Gregg with quotes from each. First from Glenn: "My job is not to produce answers. My job is to produce good questions." Followed by a couple of questions from Gregg: "How can I live a life of contentment both pleasurable and ethical?" "How is that a question about art?"

A standing ovation welcomed Gregg and Glenn to the stage. Gregg's moving speech reflected on survival and his unshakeable desire to share moments like this with those lost, while Glenn noted the important work that organizations like Visual AIDS have done to turn a community's grief into a national grief.

Artist+ Member Kia Labeija then introduced Jessica Whitbread, calling her a "bridge" and sharing stories of connecting with women living with HIV through multiple events Jessica coordinates, including Tea Time and LOVE POSITIVE WOMEN. Jessica dedicated her speech to her sister Lindsay, describing the importance of her family who she said "surrounded me with a bubble that is impenetrable," even in the most difficult times.

Following the speeches, the legendary Martha Wash brought the house down with a rocking performance of "Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)" and " It's Raining Men," accompanied by back up dancers in all gold glitter outfits. Guests were dancing in the aisles and a wonderful time was had by all!

Thank you to our wonderful Co-Chairs, Benefit Committee, guests, and volunteers who made this event possible. We are grateful to our sponsors MAC Viva Glam, VRAC, Lite Brite Neon, Familiar Studio, Photomatonchic, and our auction partner Paddle8, along with all the amazing artists who donated work, and our Art Auction Co-Chairs Lucas Michael and Lauren Wittels. We also thank our raffle prize donors, Lost Wax Studio, Lite Brite Neon, Nayland Blake and Lucas Michael. Our sincere gratitude goes to i2iGroup for the invitation and poster design; The Bernard Group for their printing; and Ligorano/Reese for the VAVA Award design. We also want to acknowledge the support of the Imperial Court of New York for giving their time and flair, and for event photography by Jerome Jakubiec and Steven Rosen.

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See event photos by Steven Rosen Photography here

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Read more about the honorees Gregg Bordowitz, Glenn Ligon and Jessica Whitbread.

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Jessica Whitbread