On Sunday, September 25th you are invited to walk with us for the National Day of Remembrance.
In Harlem/East Harlem we will begin our walk at 112th and 1st Avenue ending at City Hall. We walk in honor of our friends, family, and community members that were lost to senseless violence and we walk together to send a message that violence is unacceptable.
We walk together in UNITY!
New Exhibit at Claire Oliver Gallery
Make sure to check out the new exhibit at Claire Oliver Gallery (ACP between 134/135)
Be sure to check out the new group exhibit at the Claire Oliver Gallery on ACP, just below 135th Street.
It’s a strong selection of artists represented by the gallery and scheduled to have a solo show in the next year: Barbara Earl Thomas, Adebunmi Gbadebo, Robert Peterson, Stan Squirewell, Gio Swaby, and introducing the work of Simone Elizabeth Saunders.
Make sure to head over to the Claire Oliver Gallery (2288 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard at 134th – www.claireoliver.com) to check out Stan Squirewell’s premiere solo exhibition.
Squirewell’s work examines who curates and controls the narratives that become accepted as history; from what perspective is history written, whose stories are told, and whose are neglected?
The works on display are founded on the concept of rebuilding identity using painting, photography and sculpture.
Squirewell uses found historic photographs of Black people, whose complex human identities have been erased either through time or through design, as a starting point. He then layers collage, painting and photography with each new element undergoing a ritualized burning.
Squirewell’s own family history has been a driving influence for the artist in his exploration of how we are taught simplified and singular narratives that disregard the complexities of contemporary identity.
There has been a lot of media coverage of the removal of gym equipment near the basketball courts in Marcus Garvey Park this past week. Even the New York Times has weighed in on the issue:
Back in January, the Harlem Neighborhood Block Association was invited to meet with the NYC Parks Commissioner about Marcus Garvey Park, and our request/vision for improving this amazing space. Our block association specifically asked (in writing) for:
Hue Arts has released a Brown Paper on the experiences and realities of Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, and all People of Color arts entities. The project seeks to reveal the value they bring to their communities and to the cultural ecosystem of New York City as a whole. Ensuring that arts leaders, artists, and organizations of color reap the same benefits for their work as their predominantly white counterparts is essential for racial and cultural equity and for the continued vitality of the NYC arts field.
Hue Arts is demanding that the deep systemic inequity that has spread to the art community, including institutions, funders, and policy makers, as well as the artists and communities served, be addressed by New York City, including public and private philanthropy. Until financial resources from both private and government entities are distributed more equitably, there will never be more equitable access to staffing, working conditions, professional training, or space, and there will never be a genuinely equal chance to realize artistic visions and dreams. This is far from the first time this issue has been raised—the tireless efforts of the Cultural Equity Group for over the past 15 years is one notable example. Numerous initiatives over the years have raised many of the issues captured in this report. The gulf in support between the entities studied here and predominantly white-led organizations is both immense and long-standing.
It is important to make the data, stories, and experiences in this report widely visible, but it is equally important that these data, stories, and experiences are heeded. The inequity and imbalance in the distribution of resources cannot be accepted as a given. We must take action as a collective community.
Today is Adam Clayton Powell Jr.’s birthday and I wanted to share two of my favorite photos of him:
This first one is from the 1930’s at Colby where he studied. The contrast between the sharp image on the right, and the ‘brushed’ image on the left is fascinating.
This second image comes from 1968 as his political star began to wane:
Adam Clayton Powell Jr. represented Harlem as our congress member from 1945 until 1971. He was the first African-American to be elected to Congress from New York, as well as the first from any state in the north.
Powell supported emerging nations in Africa and Asia as they gained independence after colonialism and in 1961 became chairman of the Education and Labor Committee, the most powerful position held by an African American in Congress. Powell supported the passage of important social and civil rights legislation under Kennedy and Johnson.
Following allegations of corruption, in 1967 Powell was excluded from his seat but he was re-elected and regained the seat in 1969 but promptly lost his seat in 1970 to Charles Rangel and retired from electoral politics.
If you have a chance, head up Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. to 134/135 and stop in the Claire Oliver Gallery. The current exhibit of photography – a Love Letter for Harlem – is wonderful, powerful, and worth a visit.