Faith Ringgold Museum Secures Location In West Harlem
More than a year ago, NY1 was the first to tell you about plans for a new museum honoring Harlem-born artist Faith Ringgold. In the following report, NY1's Stephanie Simon has an update on this very unique project.
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Artist Faith Ringgold has been showing her work here at ACA Galleries in Chelsea since 1985. The artist, illustrator, and children's book author may be best known for her bestselling book “Tar Beach.” The book, first published in 1991, is about a girl named Cassie who flies over the city.
Now Ringgold's work will have a permanent home beyond the bookshelves, and it too will tower over Harlem. Plans for the Faith Ringgold Museum of Art and Storytelling in Harlem are moving forward.
“I think about the little children and how important this is going to be for them, because they have such an appreciation of art,” said Ringgold.
NY1 first told you about plans for the Faith Ringgold Museum of Art and Storytelling in 2006. The museum was to be part of a larger affordable housing complex built by the non-profit Broadway Housing Communities. Now they have the location: 155th Street and St Nicholas, currently the site of a parking garage. Broadway Housing will build about 160 affordable apartments there in addition to the museum.
“It was difficult. We had a couple of detours and finally landed a really marvelous property that will have views of the Harlem River and the Macombs Damn Bridge with views of the skyline. It will change the skyline of Manhattan in West Harlem,” said Ellen Baxter of Broadway Housing Communities.
The museum will house a permanent collection of Faith Ringgold’s work plus children's art work and other traveling exhibits. It will also be green.
“From the bottom up, everything, including a garden on the roof, which hopefully grow vegetables to feed the kids, it will be a holistic, totally green museum,” said Dorian Bergen of ACA Galleries.
In addition to everything else Ringgold has going, she's also just completed a series of illustrations based on Dr Martin Luther King's letter from a Birmingham jail.
“I went through and I read the whole thing, and I just stuck on areas that mostly struck me, like the voting rights and Brown versus Board of Education,” said Ringgold.
This will be the first illustrations ever done of the letter. They will be published in book form as a collectors item with the permission of the Martin Luther King estate. As for the museum and housing complex, Broadway Housing Communities hopes to break ground at the new site in a about a year and a half.
- Stephanie Simon