June 24, 2014
Meet our 2014 Fellows!
Please tell us of an artist, curator, activist, or project that has influenced you or inspired you?
The Veterans History Project, the Civil Rights History Project, and the Storycorps project which are part of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress have influenced my work. While enrolled in an American history class, I interviewed veterans for the Veterans History Project as part of an oral history assignment. I found the documentary process with the veterans to be a thought provoking and meaningful experience. Because the oral history project was successful, I began to think about interviewing people for an upcoming art project. In preparation for the sculpture project, I prepared a series of questions pertaining to residents’ interactions with architecture both within and outside of their own neighborhoods. I then created sculptures that were inspired by their responses. In the near future, I plan to start a new but related project pertaining to residents’ responses to architecture in Harlem. I believe The Laundromat Project fellowship will help me develop the skills necessary to create a relevant and effective project. It is my goal that with this project participants would be offered a forum to consider their own interactions with architecture while also engaging in art making activities.
Please tell us about a place in your neighborhood that is personally meaningful to you, and why?
A place in my neighborhood that is personally meaningful to me is the facade of the St. Thomas the Apostle Church on 118th street, between Frederick Douglass Boulevard and St. Nicholas Avenue. At this church I began to concretely connect my artwork to the realm of historical preservation by pressing clay into architectural elements both on the façade and in the interior of the church. Developers have now destroyed the interior of the church but have spared the façade. Condos will be constructed on the site. My clay impressions function as a preserved textural record of the now defunct interior of this church. Though my work did not publicly call attention to the demolition of the church, I am interested in exploring how artists can help raise awareness regarding historically important buildings and small family owned businesses that are at risk of being destroyed or closed.
What is your favorite book, film or song about NYC?
One of my favorite songs about NYC is Carnival in Harlem by Tito Puente. This song speaks to the dynamic and energetic nature of both Harlem and New York City as a whole.
If you have an idea of a blog post or topic you’d like to contribute to our blog, please share below!
I am interested in contributing a blog post about how artists can help save historically important buildings and institutions as well as family owned businesses which are in danger of closing.