I had the pleasure of accompanying our Family Programs Coordinator and teaching artist Elan Ferguson during a visit to Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School in Harlem, one of the Museum's multi-session school partnerships. Elan worked with Ms. Siobhan Gordon’s 2nd grade classroom this fall. Elan’s curriculum supports early stages of visual literacy, highlights an artist of the month chosen by the school and introduces artists exhibited by or in the permanent collection of the Studio Museum. In addition, Elan conducts visual inquiries and uses creative writing and journaling activities to keep track of ideas and vocabulary.
Students at the Children’s Storefront School, an independent, tuition-free school in Harlem, are exploring the many applications of photography this semester. The Studio Museum in Harlem’s ongoing exhibitions serve as the starting point for our inquiries. After looking closely and discussing works on display, the students develop their own images in response. Beginning with portrait photography, students learn to compose a strong image that visually communicates some aspect of their own identity or those of their subjects. Their first portraits were straightforward and candid. The images they made for the second portrait evolved into imaginative expressions of their creative selves.
Development Assistant William Armstrong takes us on a tour of the neighborhood
The glow of a Harlem brownstone, as it is cooled by the evening, is what I look forward to on my daily meanderings around Harlem. I like to believe that each brownstone represents a chapter in the illustrious history of Harlem. While walking on my daily commute to work, I look for a story in each brownstone I pass. Multiple doorbells tell me which ones are now apartments and iron gates reveal newer buildings, while differences in decay lead me to suspect whether additions had been made to the exterior. While growing up in the suburbs of Maryland, the most exciting neighborhood observations I could make were newly paved speed bumps—so imagine how my affection for city architecture has replaced the vinyl siding I’m used to.
Readers are invited to share their photos of Harlem in the snow! Thanks to our contributors Donald Andrew Agarrat, Lynn Lieberman, Hallie Hobson, Amanda Russhell Wallace, Gabrielle Lopez and our Twitter follower @butterflyylost.
On "Black Male Re-Imagined"
Russell Simmons, Nick Cannon and Lupe Fiasco are famous faces who are pretty used to the perennial limelight—and if Simmons’s new reality show Running Russell Simmons is any indication, that limelight has only shifted to a consistently 24/7 level. On the evening of December 6th, the three celebrities sat down on a stage of perhaps a different sort than they’re accustomed to, in the gymnasium of our neighbor down the street, the Harlem Children’s Zone. They were participating in a community town hall meeting and discussion called Black Male Re-Imagined, along with John O’Neal of theater company Junebug Productions; Ann Beeson, Executive Director of U.S. Programs, Open Society Foundations; Alexis McGill Johnson, Executive Director of American Values Institute; and Jordan Coleman, teenage director of the documentary “Say It Loud.”In the wake of evidence that brings new urgency to the troubling proficiency gaps between young male students of color and white male students, the panel strove to discuss how art and culture can advance social justice.
Between D.F. and Dakar: Flavors of 116th Street
Perspective: My Harlem is a feature in Studio magazine and on the web that invites Studio Museum staff members—who commute from areas as far as Elizabeth, NJ and as close as a block away—to offer their own narratives of the neighborhood in which we work.
Special Projects Assistant, Gabrielle Lopez, offers a culinary tour of Harlem along with a couple delicious recipes, after the jump.