Thursday, October 02, 2014

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Art Exhibit Inside Sugar Hill Apartment Building Connects to Community

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A new affordable housing apartment building and children's art museum is scheduled to open in Manhattan in September, but during the next few weeks, kids and adults in the neighborhood can enjoy the new space and even find great art there. NY1's Stephanie Simon filed the following report.

Inside a Sugar Hill apartment building, it's easy to find the "sweet spot," with everything from stackable sugar cubes and baseball sculptures to "Sugar Hill smiles" by artist Nari Ward.

"So he decided to do a piece that was a portrait of the community through its smiles, and collecting smiles on the streets and then canning these smiles, which the neighborhood found very amusing, and then selling these cans for $10 each in the exhibition to give back to the educational programming here," says Manon Slome, the chief curator of the organization "No Longer Empty."

No Longer Empty creates public art that directly connects to communities. This latest exhibit is called "If You Build It." It takes over several floors of a new building at 155th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue. There's a great view of the site of the Polo Grounds and Yankee Stadium, so baseball is prominently featured, especially in work by artist Freddy Rodriguez.

"So what we have here in this kind of Field of Dreams, if you like, is the first 100 players, Dominican players to be inducted into Major League Baseball," Slome says.

In a nod to the Harlem Renaissance, artist Radcliffe Bailey envisions philosopher, writer and civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois as "The Thinker."

"It’s not just about making an object and putting it on the wall and so on," Bailey says. "It's more like about communicating with people."

In one room, everyone's a star. In fact, everyone is royalty. You just have to find a crown that fits.

"So this is Shani Peter's installation that's all about self-empowerment," Slome says. "In this room, as you said, everybody gets to wear the crown, and Stevie Wonder's song 'We All Wear the Crown' is a celebration of the legacy of the African diaspora."

The party continues with a full schedule of programs, including neighborhood jazz celebrity Marjorie Elliot performing with local artist Andrea Arroyo and much more.

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