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Sukjong Hong

July 17, 2014

Meet our 2014 Commissioned Artists!

 

Please tell us of an artist, curator, activist, or project that has influenced you or inspired you?

Ana Mendieta, Cuban American artist

Doris Salcedo, Colombian artist

William Kentridge, South African artist

 

Please tell us about a place in your neighborhood that is personally meaningful to you, and why?

In my studio neighborhood of Bushwick—I love walking down Troutman and Jefferson Streets, where long-term residents have strung up street installations on trees of everyday objects (stuffed animals, toys, vases, etc.)—it reminds me how everyone has a hand at making beauty.

 

What is your favorite book, film or song about NYC?

Zone One, Colson Whitehead (post-apocalyptic novel) – is one of them.

 

Read about Sukjong’s project, Beauty in Her Own Words.

See a full list of 2014 artist projects here.




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Bridget Bartolini

July 16, 2014

Meet our 2014 Commissioned Artists!

 

Please tell us of an artist, curator, activist, or project that has influenced you or inspired you?

Danny Hoch is a quintessential New York artist with a multicultural polyglot upbringing that influences all his work. His play “Taking Over,” which deals with gentrification in NYC, was transformative for me when I saw it in 2008 (not that long ago, but gentrification was much less of a hot topic then). “Taking Over” expressed frustration with how some New Yorkers are marginalized, and how their voices count for less than those who are more affluent. I was feeling the things that he spoke about it, but that was the first time I heard them publicly expressed. He blew me away.

 

Please tell us about a place in your neighborhood that is personally meaningful to you, and why?

The corner of 113th Street & Liberty Avenue in South Richmond Hill, Queens. This is the corner near our family home, where my grandparents lived and where my mom now lives. This is my favorite corner in the whole world. When I went away to college in Ohio and lived in Japan, I’d endure these 10-hour bus rides and 14-hour flights to get back home. I’d come to my mom’s house and sleep and be fed. And the next day, I’d set out to see my friends—which meant a trip on the A train and a walk to Liberty Ave. Whenever I walked down 113th Street and turned down Liberty Avenue, I’d breathe in that South Richmond Hill air and be filled with the happiness of being home.

 

I love that corner so much that I made a carving of it while I was at school in Ohio!

 

What is your favorite book, film or song about NYC?

Spike Lee’s film “The 25th Hour” really beautifully captures post-911 New York and the protagonist’s mixed feelings about his city—a place riddled with brutality, racial tensions and inequity. The protagonist goes on a rant at the end about all the people and things he hates in NYC, but nevertheless, you know he’d never leave it. This scene chokes me up. NYC is far from perfect, but it’s the perfect place for me. And that’s the sentiment that I take from this film.

 

Do you have a website or blog?

My website is www.fiveborostoryproject.org, and our new blog is fiveborostoryproject.tumblr.com! I’d love if people could contribute to creating neighborhood portraits here!

 

Read about Bridget’s commissioned project, Neighborhood Portrait Series.

See a full list of 2014 artist projects here.




Rajeeyah Finnie-Myers, Risë Wilson, and Rosemary Taylor at the Power of Art Conference

Why the Power of Arts Conference was so Powerful

July 15, 2014

Rajeeyah Finnie-Myers reports back from the Power of Arts Conference in Washington, DC, organized by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation in May 2014. She was joined by The LP’s founder and board chair Risë Wilson (also Director of Philanthropy at the Rauschenberg Foundation) and teaching artist Rosemary Taylor (pictured in photo L–R).

 

Rajeeyah wrote:

As I danced on canvas with my masking taped-bubble wrap ballet shoes moving paint around with my feet, I couldn’t help but think of how lucky I was to be in a room with such creative, dedicated and caring people. The Dance Paintings workshop with artist Meghan Snow was just one of many moments that I felt this way. From the student-led tours of The Lab School of Washington, to the embodied synthesis with Urban Bush Women’s Maria Bauman (and really just about everyone and everything in between), the experience of The Power of Art Conference was inspirational. It was a reminder that we—artists, arts educators, arts administrators, advocates, activists—are a part of a community. We are not alone.

 

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One participant—a visual art and dance teacher from Philly—talked about her appreciation for feeling “taken care of” at the conference. I too felt the love. An artist from Mississippi shared that he looked forward to incorporating new elements into his own work inspired by a Photoshop workshop. Others expressed that the conference provided a much needed outlet for dealing with their frustration and even anger that comes from the day-to-day grind of working towards equity in classrooms, neighborhoods,and communities. There were lots of “aha” moments and lots of opportunities to see myself.

 

The theme of this year’s conference was Connect and Reflect. We experienced art making as students by trying new things and by looking at familiar things in new ways. We brought our artistic selves to the table to look at art works and asked questions about what we saw—honing in on problem solving skills, collaboration and imagination. We talked to each other. We listened to each other. We took a much needed opportunity to do just what the theme called us to do—connect and reflect. My biggest take-away was that the teacher / facilitator is as much a learner as the students / participants and that we have to take care of ourselves and each other to sustain the power of art.

 

Read an interview with Rajeeyah here.