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Essence To Auction Special SSR

Auction To Benefit Organization Working With Teenagers And The Creative Arts

New York September 24, 2004; A custom-painted Chevrolet SSR will go up for auction on Monday, October 4 on, with proceeds going to the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts|Riverfront (NOCCA|Riverfront). The vehicle, featuring original artwork by artist Margaret Slade Kelley, was given to the Essence Music Festival team in July in honor of the Festival's 10th anniversary.

The Essence Music Festival, known as "the party with a purpose," is the nation's largest annual African-American event and gathering of musical talent in the world. The Festival has become a destination of choice for families and friends as they schedule their reunions.

The SSR's hood is the canvas for "Creole Lady," an image that brings together the Essence Music Festival and the African American experience. "Creole Lady" is a mosaic of oranges, reds, blues and greens and is placed in the Historic French Quarter of New Orleans. Chevy commissioned the work from Kelley who is known for combining social, expressive and personal images in her work. In 1995, Kelley created three pieces of artwork that served as the backdrop for the Essence Awards.

The SSR features a 5.3L all-aluminum V8 engine, which provides 300 hp and 225 lbs-ft. of torque. The vehicle sports a 4-speed automatic engine, and includes front & rear disc brakes, and 4-wheel ABS. The Chevy SSR is the only retractable hardtop pickup truck on the market and features 19-inch front and 20-inch rear tires & wheels, hydroformed frame rails, a Zexel-Torsen limited-slip differential, electronic traction control, air conditioning, remote keyless entry, power windows and leather seats. The vehicle also includes an upgraded cargo compartment with wood trim, heated seats and an in-dash, six-CD, Bose premium sound system.

"We wanted to do something really special to commemorate the Festival's 10th anniversary," said Nate Love, Chevrolet marketing manager. "The number 10 is very important to both EMF and Chevy. As the festival celebrated its 10th anniversary, Chevy is in the midst of bringing 10 new products to the market in 20 months. We think the number '10' is a great thing to have in common!"

NOCCA|Riverfront is the State of Louisiana's arts conservatory for public, private, and parochial high school students. The Essence Music Festival selected NOCCA|Riverfront as beneficiary for the SSR donation because the two have such similar missions and share many core beliefs.

"Essence shares Chevrolet's commitment to community. We wanted this gracious gift to benefit an organization working with our youth," said Edward Lewis, publisher and chief executive officer of Essence Communication Partners. "We believe that the phenomenal work NOCCA|Riverfront has accomplished with young people over the years perfectly reflects the dedication that is important to us and the future of America."

"The woman in the painting represents all that is Essence-she has beauty, strength and ability," said Margaret Slade Kelley. "She is surrounded by men who are adorned with masks in honor of their ancestors and heritage. The steps empower the rising up of a people who are inspired to reach new heights. The background combines a traditional New Orleans balcony while the pattern in the stage drapery flows to the rhythm of music."

"Chevrolet has sponsored the Essence Music Festival for the past five years. Chevy's strong ties to the festival reflect its dedication to community and philanthropy," Love said.

"Chevrolet is involved in a variety of community, youth and scholarship programs, and has worked with great partners like Essence as part of our commitment to give back to our loyal and valued customers. We are very excited Essence has selected NOCCA|Riverfront as the ultimate beneficiary of our gift, " Love said.

NOCCA|Riverfront was founded in 1973 and provides intensive professional training in dance, media arts, music (classical, jazz, vocal), theatre (drama, musical theatre, theatre design), visual arts, and creative writing to students at the high school level. Prominent alumni include Wynton and Branford Marsalis, Terence Blanchard, Harry Connick, Jr., Nicholas Payton, Jeanne-Michele Charbonnet, Wendell Pierce and Anthony Mackie.

Chevrolet is one of America's most well-known and successful automotive brands. With the largest dealer network in the United States, Chevy is the leader in full-size trucks and the leader in sales of vehicles priced $35,000 and above. In addition, Chevrolet delivers more-than-expected value in every vehicle category, offering cars and trucks priced from $9,995 to $52,000. Offering dynamic yet timeless designs, Chevy owners demand great looks that don't go out of style, high performance per dollar, and features expected in more expensive vehicles. Chevrolet's global headquarters is at the GM Renaissance Center in Detroit. For more information, go to .

Essence Festivals, LLC, produces the Essence Music Festival. Essence Festivals, LLC, is a division of Essence Communications Partners (ECP). ECP is the publisher of ESSENCE magazine, which after 34 years continues to be the preeminent lifestyle magazine of African-American women.

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