David Shrobe with his piece "Open Mouth Already Mistake" at bitforms gallery.

Meet David Shrobe, Artist-in-Residence at The Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling

In 2014, The Laundromat Project partnered with the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling to select a single visual artist for a seven-month residency at the museum. As part of the residency, the artist works with students at the on-site Sugar Hill Museum Preschool.

Read on to meet the artist-in-residence, David Shrobe, and find out more about him.

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Left: David in his new studio space. Right: David and students at the Sugar Hill Museum Preschool.

What’s your neighborhood and how long have you lived there?

Central Harlem. Around 22 years in an apartment off Lenox ave that my great grandfather bought for our family in 1925.

What’s your favorite thing about living in your neighborhood?

Harlem USA is a unique diverse cultural gem; a city within a city with a sense of vitality and community unlike most places, that continues to give it its character, strength and power, that continuously attracts visitors from all walks of life from around the globe. Even though all the big corporations have moved in, they cannot take over or eliminate Harlem’s true essence; its rich history, and culture, its art, its mom and pop stores still thriving for generations, its beautiful people, architecture, soul food, old bodegas and classy uptown style. The many diverse and intergenerational communities are just a few things I love about Harlem, it’s home! Just “drop me off in Harlem!”

What is one thing about it you would change?

The dynamic between the police and the residents of the community, so the police would serve and protect the people first instead of the system.

What are you reading now?

Social Justice Art by Marit Dewhurst.

What song gets you going when work is hard?

Lovely Day – Bill Withers

What’s your favorite word?


What is the menu for your dream last meal?

New England Clam Bake.

What most inspires you?

Often my most recent piece and the assiduous grind, passion and work of my peers and other artists I admire cranking out great art.

Tell us about an artist who has influenced your work?

David Hammons for forcing us to reimagine the familiar. I am inspired by his cross pollination of found objects which evoke the black experience and the unrepresented, and for his uncompromising approach to the art world.

What does “socially-engaged art” mean to you?

Art that speaks to certain conditions/inequalities that currently exist. Art that uses material that connotes a certain social/political attitude or position. Work that addresses the dilemmas of people of color and the struggle of oppressed people all over the globe.

What will you be working on next?

Mixed media paintings and sculpture using found ephemera and a convergence of a variety of media to evoke specific cultural histories and personal memories.

In partnership with the Laundromat Project, The Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling has selected David Shrobe as their inaugural artist-in-residence for 2015. He makes work that encompasses painting, drawing, sculpture, collage, assemblage, and transfer techniques. Shrobe was born, lives, and works in New York City and recently completed a residency at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2014.