Hand-assembled artist racecars ready to race on the Gravity Slide track at Smack Mellon’s 2022 Gravity Racers Benefit (all photos by Cibele Vieira, courtesy Smack Mellon)

It’s going to be a while until that casino opens in Times Square, so why not risk it all at Smack Mellon’s Gravity Racers Benefit and Silent Auction on Saturday, May 6? Well … you wouldn’t actually be risking it all, because you and everyone else who places a bet on an artist-made racecar competing on the track will walk away with at least one of over 100 original artworks from Smack Mellon’s community of artists.

Based in Dumbo, Smack Mellon is a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to providing exhibition opportunities, year-long residencies, equipment resources, and technical assistance to emerging and mid-career artists with less visibility in the field. Smack Mellon’s benefit is back for the second time in their Dumbo headquarters at 92 Plymouth Street, Brooklyn, honoring Pierogi Gallery’s 20-plus-year Gravity Racers tradition through an incorporated menu from Pierogi Boys. All proceeds retained will go toward supporting Smack Mellon’s mission of uplifting today’s under-recognized artists.

This isn’t just any type of racing event, either. The participating artists have decked out their seven-inch pine derby car kits with some crazy accessories that would simultaneously impress and perplex the body shop guys from MTV’s Pimp My Ride. Of the competing cars this year, there’s an upsized eraser from William Powhida, a “Beef Roast” from Lee Boroson, and a spiral sketchpad from Amanda Chung with Lucky Risograph. All eligible cars will compete in a race down the Gravity Slide track, and guests who bet on the winning cars will have first dibs on claiming the original artwork of their choice. Regardless, everyone will walk away with a new piece of art to take home with them.

Benefit patrons standing in front of the Gravity Slide track

If you’re not into betting but still want to feel the rush of winning, Smack Mellon is also hosting a silent art auction with open bidding right now. Bidding will close during the event at 6:30pm and attendance isn’t necessary for participation. Artists from the silent auction will receive 30% of the proceeds from the sale of their work.

Tickets come in various packages starting at $400 for parties of two, $740 for parties of four, $1,100 for parties of six, and $1,800 for parties of 10.

Rhea Nayyar (she/her) is a New York-based teaching artist who is passionate about elevating minority perspectives within the academic and editorial spheres of the art world. Rhea received her BFA in Visual...