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Young Hollywood turns out for the Art of Elysium

January 17, 2011 |  7:00 am

Eva Mendes The Art of Elysium’s “Heaven” is one of the year’s most popular draws for young Hollywood’s A-list. And they do more than merely walk the red carpet for the cause -- which is to encourage working actors, artists and muscians to volunteer to help children who are seriously ill. Many who participate become charity ambassadors, doling out good cheer to the patients, sharing creative pursuits with them and providing a welcome break from the routine of hospital life.

Chief executive of Relativity Media Ryan Kavanaugh said he sings to the children. Eva Mendes said she likes to play a game called Create Your Fairy Tale. Those who recognize the celebrities may be surprised at their presence, but, often, Mendes said, "they don't know." 

Kavanaugh, Vogue's senior West Coast editor Lisa Love and Microsoft’s Shawn Sanford co-chaired the Jan. 15 gala, which attracted 500 guests, including Mendes, Gerard Butler, Kirsten Dunst, Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel Bilson, Anna Kendrick, Rashida Jones, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Elijah Wood, Leighton Meester, Amy Smart, Topher Grace, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, Brittany Snow, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Alicia Witt, Busy Philipps, Bonnie Somerville, Amber Heard and Kelly Osbourne.  James Franco received this year’s Spirit of Elysium Award.  

Artist and musician Mark Mothersbaugh was chosen as the night's visionary. He brought this year's heaven to life as “the future” at the California Science Center. "I think of heaven as the place everyone wants to be,” he said. “Despite being in a band based on de-evolution (DEVO), my feelings have always been very optimistic about where things are going in the world."  

For his futuristic vision, Mothersbaugh replaced traditional flowers with neon centerpieces and projected colorful, comic book-style images onto the walls. Guests sat at tables spanning the length of the cavernous room, some long enough to accommodate 80 people.    

Charity founder Jennifer Howell said actors, musicians, artists, writers and fashion designers visited five hospitals in New York and 15 in Los Angeles last year, serving nearly 40,000 children.  With tickets selling for $10,000 a pair, added to audience contributions, net proceeds topped $1.2 million.

--Ellen Olivier

Photo: Actress Eva Mendes at the Art Of Elysium "Heaven" gala 2011. Credits: Neilson Barnard / Getty Images