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Hearts in Isolation: Expanding the Walls 2020

NEW YORK, NY, July 16, 2020— The Studio Museum in Harlem today announced the online photography exhibition Hearts in Isolation: Expanding the Walls 2020, featuring work by the fifteen teenage artists in the 2019–20 cohort of the Museum’s annual program, Expanding the Walls: Making Connections Between Photography, History, and Community. Launching July 30th, this is the first online edition of the annual Expanding the Walls exhibition and brings to a culmination the program’s twentieth anniversary.

During their eight months in the program, Expanding the Walls participants from New York City–area a high schools explore digital photography, artistic practice, and community—a term that took on new meaning this year, when students could no longer gather with one another and their mentors but had to complete the program remotely. As a result, their photographs reflect on themes of home and safety.

“Community has always been a key pillar of the Expanding the Walls program,” said Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem. “This year, the program’s twentieth, the students and mentors faced an unprecedented set of new challenges that redefined that pillar. At a time when home can feel isolating, the program created a critical space for community, and the camera became a tool for students to confront unexpected circumstances.”

Established in 2001, Expanding the Walls encourages students to explore and define their artistic practices while building community through workshops, gallery visits, intensive darkroom training, and discussions led by contemporary artists. On this anniversary, the Studio Museum expresses its gratitude to the program’s visionary founder, former Studio Museum Education Director Sandra Jackson-Dumont, who is now the Director of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles.

Hearts in Isolation is organized by Makayla Bailey, Curatorial Fellow, Exhibitions; and Jordan Jones, Curatorial Fellow, Permanent Collection; with Ginny Huo, Senior Coordinator, Teen Programs; and the 2019—2020 Expanding the Walls participants.

The twentieth anniversary of Expanding the Walls is made possible with support from The Keith Haring Foundation Education Fund; Conscious Kids; New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; Joy of Giving Something; and Colgate-Palmolive. Additional support for The Studio Museum in Harlem’s Education programs is provided by the Thompson Foundation Education Fund; the Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation; Gray Foundation; Joseph and Joan Cullman Foundation for the Arts; Con Edison; and the Hearst Endowment Fund.

The Studio Museum in Harlem is deeply grateful to Donna Mussenden Van Der Zee for her continued support of Expanding the Walls; photographer and professor Isaac Diggs for his mentorship; and New York University for its generous support of the program.


Founded in 1968 by a diverse group of artists, community activists, and philanthropists, The Studio Museum in Harlem is internationally known for its catalytic role in promoting the work of artists of African descent. The Studio Museum is preparing to construct a new home at its longtime location on Manhattan’s West 125th Street. Designed by Adjaye Associates in collaboration with Cooper Robertson, the 82,000-square foot facility will be the first created expressly for the Museum’s program. The new building will enable the Studio Museum to better serve a growing and diverse audience, provide additional educational opportunities for people of all ages, expand its program of world-renowned exhibitions, effectively display its singular collection, and strengthen its trailblazing Artist-in-Residence program.

For more information on the Studio Museum, its collection, and a wide range of online resources for audiences of all ages, visit or follow us @studiomuseum on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


The Studio Museum in Harlem’s top priority is guaranteeing the safety of each member of our community, our audiences, our committed, and their families. As a proud citizen of Harlem and a public institution, we also are April Riley, New Heights, 2020. Digital chromogenic print, courtesy the artist 3 mindful of our responsibilities as a leader in the promotion of best public health practices. For these reasons, as we continue to monitor the challenges posed by the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), we have closed our programming space, Studio Museum 127. We do so out of an abundance of caution and in the best interest of our staff and our community


Amanda Thomas, The Studio Museum in Harlem

[email protected]


Meagan Jones, Polskin Arts and Communications Counselors

[email protected]


Full Press Release

The Studio Museum in Harlem Presents Hearts in Isolation: Expanding the Walls 2020