| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Artists, designers, entertainers and philanthropists are joining forces for the second annual green auction, which last year raised over $2 million for environmental groups.
Christie's, which is again hosting the Bid to Save the Earth sale of artwork, celebrity dates, luxury travel and high fashion, will conduct the auction in New York on March 19, with proceeds earmarked for four leading non-profit organizations.
Actress Salma Hayek, Vogue editor Anna Wintour and Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter, along with cultural, business and environmental leaders, are expected to take part in the event, which Christie's is due to announce on Wednesday.
Proceeds from the green auction, including the silent sale on Christie's LIVE at www.christies.com, will be shared among Oceana, Conservation International, Natural Resources Defense Council and the Central Park Conservancy.
Last year's event drew bids of $100,000 for original works of art or $80,000 for a round of golf with Bill Clinton.
Host David Rockefeller said "everyone can support the Green Auction through the Internet -- a truly democratic way to stand up for Mother Earth."
Bids for a concurrent silent auction, featuring experiences such as fencing with Olympic Silver Medalist Tim Morehouse, will be solicited from March 17 to April 7 on www.charitybuzz.com. Major figures from the worlds of sports, entertainment and politics are set to sign on, organizers said.
Runway to Green, a pro-environment fashion industry initiative that includes about two dozen top designers, will also sell items from their Fall 2011 collection. A portion of sales will benefit environmental initiatives.
Vogue will also style a fashion show, debuting the Runway to Green collection.
Rockefeller said he has decided to devote his years in the 21st century to the conservation of oceans and the living systems within them.
"The Christie's Green Auction gives wide recognition to the importance of ocean conservation and enables people of every means to participate easily and effectively," he told Reuters.
Artists Michael Doven, Isack Kousney and Shinji Turner-Yamamoto have also donated works for the auction.
Organizers said that raising awareness and stimulating even small donations to environmental concerns is a major goal of the event.
Christie's is waiving all fees and commissions associated with the sale. The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation will provide carbon offsets -- reduced carbon emissions to counter those associated with the event, making it essentially carbon neutral. The prince is also serving on the honorary host committee.
Christie's could not speculate how much might be raised, but a sale of contemporary art spearheaded by rocker Bono and British artist Damien Hirst to benefit AIDS in Africa three years raised more than $40 million, with prices far exceeding pre-sale estimates.