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"Up and down along and between Lenox and Seventh and Eighth Avenues, Harlem was like some technicolor bazaar."
--Malcolm X

click the interactive map for a larger view


The Apollo Theater - Minton's Playhouse - Dance - Fine Art - Street Art
The Studio Museum - Artists In Harlem - Overview of African-American Art
Viewing Art In Harlem - Creating and Promoting


The Apollo Theater
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by Melanie Rios

Both the Apollo Theatre and Minton’s Playhouse played an important role in Harlem’s history as well as in the evolution of music throughout America. The Apollo Theatre represented a more structured place where culture and music thrived. It was a place for the public to come and watch some of the most famous bands play or to decide the fate of amateur performers. Minton’s Playhouse, on the other hand, was more of a private, less publicized place where musicians came to experiment with new sounds. Despite their differences, both centers of music helped to make Harlem a major cultural center in New York City.

Location: 253 West 125th Street

The Apollo Theatre has survived for several decades, while always managing to make sure that the show goes on. During the 1920s white Americans made up the majority of Harlem, until prices fell dramatically when housing supply surpassed demand after the completion of the subway line from Lenox Avenue to Lower Manhattan. This is when blacks from the South moved in, bringing new traditions with them, including jazz and blues. This led to the opening of countless nightclubs in Harlem, offering black entertainment open only to whites. The Great Depression during the 1930s led to the closing of many theatres all throughout Harlem as the neighborhood struggled in economic turmoil. However, the Apollo Theatre managed to open in 1934, on 125th Street, which was a huge commercial center at the time. A French immigrant, Leo Brechert and a Jewish teacher, Frank Schiffman took over the theatre after the original manger, Sidney Cohen, died.

The Apollo Theatre did extremely well with about thirty shows a week and Ralph Cooper’s famous Amateur Night running forty-five weeks a year while being featured live on WMCA Radio. The Apollo audience became famous for their ruthlessness and cruel judgments. If the audience did both not enjoy the performance, the performer would have to leave the stage. However, if perhaps the stump of the “Tree of Hope,” (a tree that once stood outside the theatre where unemployed entertainers met and now it’s stump is rubbed by performers before they go on) gave out some luck that night, the performer would have success. Those who did win on Amateur Night could have a chance at professional gigs at the theatre. This was the time when big swing bands were extremely popular. Performers such as Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Lena Horne could be seen on the Apollo stage during the 30s. The 1940s not only brought along war, but it also brought a new kind of jazz called bebop. Bands became smaller and the focus was no longer primarily on the dance floor. However, the situation took a turn for the worst when the American Federation of Musicians put a ban on recording in 1942 for two years. Harlem’s economic status suffered heavily especially after businesses on 125th Street were gutted after the Harlem Riot of 1943.

The Apollo Theatre did survive, however now whites did not want to come to Harlem due to high crime rates and the decaying neighborhood—this hit the Apollo, and other Harlem business, hard. The fifties brought about a sound from Southern gospel music, rhythm & blues. A cross between swing, blues and gospel, r&b was not mainstream, it was pure black music. Sammy Davis was a regular by this time at the Apollo Theatre. This was also when record companies realized playing discs on air was a great moneymaker and the so there was the rise of the Disc Jockey. Next came the most radical and changing decade, the 1960s. Malcolm X, who regularly visited the Apollo Theatre, preached about Black Nationalism, while boycotts, riots, and freedom marches stirred life in Harlem. And the show continued to go on at the Apollo with performances from James Brown (who broke the Apollo box-office record in 1964), Aretha Franklin, and Smokey Robinson. A Motown record label was released and in 1962 this music came to the Apollo with entertainment from Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, the Temptations, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Diana Ross and the Supremes (which were the hugest success story of the theatre). Huge profits came from this black pop music that spread around the world. Comedians also made a name for themselves at the Apollo, especially Bill Cosby and Redd Foxx.

All of this success at the Apollo Theatre was all about to end in the 1970s. Burnt out buildings became a home for drugs and crime in Harlem. There was a shooting in the theatre during a Smokey Robinson performance in 1975 that wounded an 18 year old. As disco music grew in popularity, musicians made more money from records and live performances were not as important anymore. The Apollo could not afford to pay artists the kind of money they were now making and prices for admission had to remain low because of the economic crisis in Harlem. Then, Frank Schiffman died in 1974 and his son, Bobby Schiffman closed the Apollo Theatre in January 1976. This ended an era of culture and music in Harlem. The Apollo Theatre became a National Historic Landmark in 1983. A few years later the Apollo was redecorated and refurbished for a revival of Amateur Night in the theatre, which is broadcasting on national television. Today the audience of about 1,400 is made up of the young and old, black and white. There has been an entire cultural rejuvenation going on in Harlem and that of the Apollo Theatre is what has most helped in moving it along. Surrounded by the famous Teresa Hotel, the new Magic Johnson movie theatre, and former president Bill Clinton’s New York offices, the Apollo is in the center of a busy and on-the-rise Harlem. It will never be the Apollo Theatre of decades ago, but it is the beginning of a revival of the culture and standard of living in Harlem.

Minton’s Playhouse
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by Melanie Rios

Location: 205-210 West 118th Street

Minton’s Playhouse may not be one of the biggest names in musical institutions, but for many musicians it was a place of escape and freedom. Located on 118th Street in the former dinning room of Hotel Cecil, the playhouse was a place artists went to get away from the mainstream swing music during the late 1930s. The tenor saxophonist Henry Minton opened it in 1938 and it was taken over by Teddy Hill in 1940. Hill concentrated on regular Monday-night jam sessions where visiting musicians played. Dizzy Gillespie, Hot Lips Page, Roy Elridge, Charlie Christian, and Don Byas were just a few of the guest performers that Minton’s Playhouse saw. It was here that bebop was slowly being created. Resident musicians, Thelonious Monk, Kenny Clarke, Joe Guy, and Rudy Williams were regulars at the “bop sessions,” in the playhouse. Other musicians working not far off at the Apollo Theatre came to Minton’s late at night to experiment with new sounds and music. These sessions lasted until about four in the morning. Minton’s was all about experimentation and innovation among the artists. Even the audience at the playhouse was mostly made up of musicians. These bop musicians wanted to be thought of as artists and not as just performers. In addition, there were many talented soloists from unpopular bands that took the opportunity to perform at Minton’s. Unfortunately, by the 1960s all that remained were entertainers who merely copied the acts that were highly experimental in the forties. Despite the popularity of this small getaway in Harlem, it eventually lost its edge and has been closed since the 1980s.

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by George Hirsch


Savoy Ballroom: 596 Lenox Avenue (between 140th and 141st Streets)

Connie's Inn: 2221 7th Avenue at corner of 131st

Dance Theater of Harlem: 466 West 152nd Street

Oberia D. Dempsey Multi-Service Center: 127 West 127th Street

In the first two decades of the twentieth century there was a large influx of African Americans moving from the southern states to New York. This migration was due to the hostile environment that existed for blacks in the south, as well as the many job opportunities for blacks in the north in industry resulting from World War I. Looking for a place to stay, these southern blacks found it in Harlem. “Harlem grew from a community of 50,000 blacks in 1914 to 80,000 by 1920 to 200,000 by 1930”. These southern blacks brought and created dances such as the Black Bottom, the Charleston, the Shimmy, the Lindy Hop, and many more in clubs and theatres throughout Harlem. Some of the more famous clubs and theatres were the Apollo Theatre, Connie’s Inn, Small’s Paradise, Leroy’s, the Cotton Club, and the Savoy Ballroom. One of the biggest crazes to hit Harlem, as well as the rest of the world, during the Harlem renaissance was the Lindy Hop. The Savoy Ballroom played a large role in the creation and perfection of this dance.

The Savoy was opened on March 12, 1926 and swiftly became the most popular dance venue in Harlem. Many of the jazz dance crazes of the 1920s and 1930s originated there. In the late 1920's in Harlem, New York, the Lindy Hop was breaking out at dance clubs everywhere, but it wasn't until the opening of the Savoy Ballroom that the Lindy Hop got its name and a home. At the Savoy, the Lindy Hop got hotter and hotter, and better and better, as the popular Saturday night competitions pushed good dancers to greatness. New steps were born every day.

The Savoy Ballroom, as well as the other famous clubs during the Harlem renaissance, really changed the community of Harlem. One change that took place because of these clubs was that Harlem became a cultural and entertainment center, where rich white people would come and watch the black dancers. Langston Hughes, writes, “The Lindy-Hoppers at the Savoy even began to practice acrobatic routines, and to do absurd things for the entertainment of the whites, that probably never would have entered their heads to attempt merely for their own effortless amusement”.

By introducing innovative dance styles to audiences that included Whites, the Savoy Ballroom help to spread Black culture to White America. The Lindy Hop became a dance trend in both Black and White adolescent culture throughout the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s. Black culture became incorporated into the national culture. In addition, because it created a sophisticated and elegant environment, the Savoy Ballroom added to the status and lore of Harlem and to the status of blacks in the 1920’s.

Most of these clubs and ballrooms shutdown after the 60’s and turned into grocery stores, nail and hair salons, liquor stores, and apartment buildings. The Savoy ballroom took up the entire block of Lenox between 140th and 141st street. In it's heyday it was a cultural mecaa.
Another club, located at 2221 seventh avenue on the corner of 131, called Connie’s Inn, where Louis Armstrong used to play, looks a lot different today then it did in the 1920’s and 30’s.

While presently, there are much fewer clubs and ballrooms to dance in, there are a lot more established schools and companies in Harlem, that teach and perform all types of dance. One of the more famous company/schools in the Harlem area is the Dance Theatre of Harlem. They are located at 466 west 152nd Street. Dance Theatre of Harlem was founded in 1969 by Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook. After the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Arthur Mitchell made this his personal commitment to the people of Harlem. The school was created so that the youth of Harlem could express themselves in a safe environment and to help them to “develop into contributing members to the community at large” Visit www.dancetheatreofharlem.com for more information. Another place where children can grow as individuals and learn to express themselves is the Oberia D. Dempsey Multi-Service Center. This center is Located at 127 West 127th street. In addition to dance classes in mainly West-African, they offer many other recreational services to the community of Harlem.

Fine Art
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by Julie Solovyeva

The Studio Museum in Harlem: 144 West 125th Street

When it comes to assessing the state of fine art in Harlem, one is bound to make an instant reference to the Harlem Renaissance. However, this literary, artistic and cultural movement is a phenomenon of the past, specifically - the Roaring 20s. Still, its impact on the community and the African American culture was so significant that people cannot help but praise its contributors for uprooting African American heritage and advancing the arts.

However, the Golden Age of Harlem has long since passed and what remains now is a community that is slightly behind in the visual arts. Harlem, where literature of Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison and others, prospers, but other talents remain unseen. It is true there are two prominent museums – Museo el Barrio, which is a part of East Harlem, and The Studio Museum of Harlem, on 125th Street, off of Amsterdam Ave. The Studio Museum, located in the populous area of Harlem, has the potential to represent the entire artistic genius roaming through the streets of the community, but such cannot be done behind closed doors. A closed door is precisely the barrier that I encountered during my trip to Harlem. Closed for renovation, even indefinitely? Shut out, it left me to wander the streets in search of artistic spirit.

A list of art galleries, provided by www.hometoharlem.com (an informational website), could have been my guide, except that none of the galleries listed seemed to exist. I rushed from one boarded up door to the next, from one lost street address to another, just to find there was no gallery that existed, or was open. This concerned me. Was it the financial inadequacy that kept Harlem art from its people? It seemed absurd that what was once Florence of the Harlem Renaissance has lost its artistic heritage, or was forced to resign into a dubious state.

Street Art
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y Katrina Yee and Julie Solovyeva

Where galleries remain closed, I found that people of Harlem found another way of expression – that is through street art, or Graffiti. Graffiti, to some, is considered vandalism of public property, a rebellious action to deface communal spaces. However, I would strongly disagree, as would the residents of the Harlem community, where graffiti is as much a part of its environment as the extensive religious organizations. Residents find that graffiti provides them with a voice to speak out about community concerns. Their canvasses are used as visual petitions to make the government see what the community goes through. Perhaps, it is a form of anarchism, but it is also an effective way to make your voice heard and beautify the destitute community.

Location: 125th Street (between Malcolm X Blvd and Amsterdam Ave.)

The first graffiti artwork that I came across is also the most recently created. This mural was located conveniently on the side of a retail store, H&M, which caters to the younger generation. It is impressively large, painted elaborately in a diverse color palette. The theme of this mural seems to be women’s health and contribution of women to the community. It pays respects, honors, praises and draws attention to the women population of Harlem. The main three figures prominently divide the canvas into three parts. One, on the left, appears to be an athlete. She is suspended into slumber, or silent prayer, against a serene background of jungles and night sky. The second woman, in the middle of the mural, is praying to the image of an athlete – another female. She is dressed in ethnic clothes of vibrant and soothing green tones. The third female is depicted with her bare back to the viewer. She covers her chest with her hands. This may be a reference to the victims of breast cancer, as one of the inscription on the bottom right corner of the mural reveal a dedication to cancer patients of Harlem. A pink ribbon ties the three women together and their thoughtful, strong facials expressions evoke a sense of unity, pride and dignity. The muralist also chose to such include symbolic words as ‘balance,’ ‘fear,’ ‘resilient spirit,’ ‘balance,’ and ‘God’ throughout the image. Overall, it represents a Harlem that overcomes struggles as a unified community unit where women play a prominent role.

Location: Corner of 133rd Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard

Another mural that decorates the dismal walls of the less fortunate parts of Harlem is the “Community Struggles” artwork. Once again, it is figural and highly active both in the way it depicts the residents of Harlem as well as the ideas behind the surface. The figures are large, with strong features and imposing body language. They carry signs that call for ‘Better Housing,’ ‘Education,’ ‘Unity,’ and ‘Community.’ They represent the working class population of Harlem, some – Hispanic, some – African American. Clad in colorful clothing, they embody the heterogeneously rich population. Men, women and children march through the streets of their neighborhood in an attempt to raise awareness and support for the issues of the community.

Location: P.S. 129 at 425 West 130th Street

It seems as though the Harlem Community has adopted street art as a way to beautify itself. The background of P.S. 129 is a remarkable example of community improvement through encouraging of children to express themselves through art rather than violence, which haunted Harlem in the past. These murals defy the public notion of what a school should be as they are made by kids and for kids. P.S. has managed to allow children to create a beautiful world within the bounds of this playground and, perhaps, carry these notions of how a community should look outside of school.

The murals of these walls are eclectic and reflect different aspects of children’s lives from their heritage to nationalism. When you
first walk into the playground, there is a cute painting of the statue of liberty character and a huge American flag, with smaller flags of other nations below it. This signifies how proud the students are that they live in America, but that they are also proud of the countries that they come or descend from. As you continue to walk through the playground to the basketball courts, there are several other paintings of different animals, such as fishes, cats, and dogs, and creative little houses with windows as the center. The paintings are all very colorful and simplistic; though beautiful in this simplicity. There are also several phrases on the walls that promote unity and friendship, such as “Can you make friends? Can you play with me?”

The Studio Museum
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by Jacob Winger

Location: 144 West 125th Street and Amsterdam Avenue

As a result of the rapidly changing face of Harlem and the flow of capital that has continued to rise even in the months following September 11th, the rise in ourism has begun to once again nurture the vibrant arts of the rich cultural eighborhood. As Manhattan suffered in its tourism trade following the World Trade Center tacks flocks of people began to reinvigorate the long standing Studio Museum in Harlem, which has continued to experience rising attendances despite the allings in most other Manhattan museums. Much of the space of this museum is devoted to the artwork of people from throughout the African Diaspora as well as native African art. The Museum is located at 144 W. 125th Street where large public spaces are used for many movies, displays and exhibitions of prominent and rising artists. The current display is by the activist and artist Fred Wilson and features objects and installations constructed between 1985 and 2000. The aim of the exhibit is to explore the role in the museum itself in the perpetuation of racist beliefs.

One of the major ways in which the face of Harlem has been changed by the rising interest in art coupled with the rising wealth of residents has been the large number independent galleries that have begun to set up shop. One of these art spaces to recently open in Harlem is the P.C.O.G. Gallery, which was founded in 1991 by Paula Coleman and Ousmane Gueye. As established professionals in the fields of business and sculpture, respectively, the aim of the P.C.O.G. Gallery is to blend the traditions of African and African-American artists and to provide exhibition space to as many rising talents as possible. The works of world-renowned sculptor Gueye remain on permanent display while accompanied by the works of artists in the fields of painting, photography, and mixed media. The current featured artist is native New Yorker Taijay, whose intricate ink drawings are described as a blend of “Afro-Asian-Euro-Indo-Latin aesthetics”. P.C.O.G. also remains active in the Harlem community by reaching out to youths in order to teach them artistic creativity and appreciation at an early age through the weekly art classes of the Emerging Young Artists (EYA) program.

Through established artistic devotion of institutes such as these other independent galleries have begun to view Harlem as an environment vibrant with art and history. Galleries such as Exhibit “A” and Project Space offer trendy new areas to display rising talents. Much of the arts still aims, however, at preserving the heritage of Harlem and African people. This support can be clearly seen in the rapid growth of the Jazz Museum, which celebrates the musical explosion of the Harlem Renaissance and beyond. Exhibits feature photographs, antiques and extensive history.

The Jazz Museum is located at 104 E 126th Street, and currently features the exhibit “Harlem Speaks”, a tribute to the voices that keep jazz alive in Harlem.

Artists In Harlem
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by Aubrie Dillon

Aaron Douglas (1899-1979) was from Topeka, Kansas and went to the University of Nebraska for his bachelor’s degree of fine arts and Columbia University for his master’s degree in fine arts. Moving to New York City in 1925, Douglas met artist Winold Reiss. Reiss became his teacher and a source of influence as he encouraged Douglas to pursue African-American and Black heritage as subject matter. Douglas researched African art and combined it with his training of classical art to become one of the first American painters considered and Africanist. He also painted African-Americans with dignity and pride and became one of the leading artists of the Harlem Renaissance, illustrating the works of authors Du Bois, Hughes and Cullen. Later in his career, Douglas painted panels and murals, which included stylize, geometric figures similar to those of African sculpture. In 1939, Douglas joined the faculty of Fisk University, for which he created several murals. He retired in 1966.

William H. Johnson (1901-1970) was from Florence, South Carolina and went to the National Academy of Design in 1921. At the academy, Charles Harthorn became his mentor and arranged for him to spend two summers at the Cape Cod School of Art. Graduating with eight awards in 1926, Hawthorne went to Paris to explore new artistic freedom. Borrowing from the styles of Cezanne and Chaim Soutine, Johnson used “topsy-turvy” forms of Soutine to paint landscapes. Six of his paintings were featured in the Harmon Foundation exhibition in 1930 and he won the gold medal. Returning to the south, Johnson painted the Jacobia Hotel on the streets of Florence, South Carolina. It was at this time he was jailed, probably because he was an African-American painting openly in the streets. This incident of blatant racism embittered Johnson and he held an exhibit at the local YMCA before returning to New York. Johnson visited North African in 1932 and produced watercolor paintings while there. Returning to the States for lack of finances, Johnson tried to sell and exhibit his paintings, but had little success. Moving to New York City in 1938, Johnson painted religious works with serious tones, signifying a major shift in his work. In the early 1940s he was hired as a mural painter for the WPA and taught at the Harlem Community Art Center. With the death of his wife in 1943, Johnson arranged her funeral and afterwards he remained in New York until his own death.

!!!!!!!!!! Click here for a slideshow of works by William H. Johnson !!!!!!!!!

August Savage (1900-1962) was born in Florida to a family of fourteen children. At age six she began modeling clay and taught clay modeling to other students while she was in secondary school. With plans to enter teaching she enrolled at the Tallahassee State Normal School but transferred to school in New York to pursue art, becoming one of the first women to attend Cooper Union. Threatened by financial trouble the board of trustees lobbied for financial aid on Savage’s behalf and a librarian at the New York Public Library obtained a commission for Savage to produce a bust of W.E.B. Du Bois. This bust was considered the finest portrait of Du Bois and Savage was commissioned to produce busts of other African-American leaders, including Marcus Garvey. In 1930 Savage went to France on a scholarship from the Julius Rosenwald Fund. Returning to the US in 1932, she taught art classes at her Savage School of Arts and Crafts. Savage joined the WPA in the mid-1930s and was commissioned to do sculptural grouping for the New York World’s Fair in 1939-1940.

Jacob Lawrence is one of the most well known contemporary artists. Lawrence worked at community workshops and became affiliated with Utopia House, where he studied with Charles Alston. In the 1930s he visited Augusta Savage’s sculpting studio and met other artists involved in the Harlem Renaissance. Lawrence credited much of his success to Savage because he felt she played a key role in helping him obtain his first WPA assignment. Lawrence’s painting style resembled printing because he used primary colors and pictorial organization. His approach involved penciling in scenes and then applying color and he developed this style while he was still young. His panel series of Toussaint L’Ouverture appeared in an exhibit of African-American artists in 1939. He also created the Migration series reflecting the African-American experience in the racist society of the US.

Keith Haring was the creator of the Crack is Wack Mural at the Crack is Wack Playground in Harlem. Born May 4, 1958 in Reading, PA, Haring had his first experiences with at before he was a year old. He would scribble with crayons and his father showed him how to make simple shapes and then how to make objects from those shapes. His love of drawing continued and in high school he knew he wanted to become an artist. Graduating in 1976, he attended the Ivy School in Pittsburgh and quickly switched to the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. From 1978 to 1980 he studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York and at that time he was a theatrical performer and created live video art, often performing at Club 57. Leaving SVA in 1980, Haring started drawing graffiti on the streets of New York and his symbol became a baby with rays around it. He started selling art out of his studio and began associating with the Tony Shafrazi Gallery. Haring started to gather international attention and won several awards while showing his work all over the world. At this time, he started creating murals and opened his own store, selling shirts and hats with his designs on them. In 1988, he learned that he had contracted AIDS, and while it didn’t affect his work initially, he eventually grew weaker. In 1990, Haring died of AIDS at age 31.

Overview of African-American Art
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by Aubrie Dillon

Crafts were a large part of African-American art when Blacks forcibly migrated to the US during the Slave Trade. Slaves produced craft articles for personal survival or because whites demanded them. Some personal creations had mythic properties and their creators often kept their meanings secret. The crafts took various forms such as patchwork quilts, pottery, dolls, bone carvings, staffs, gravestones, baskets and shell beads.

Following emancipation, many former slaves were solely concerned with finding work and surviving in a racist society. As a result, many Blacks were not trained as artists but many still expressed themselves creatively. Art was either modeled after African traditions, a practice called Africanism, or it was modeled after European styles. The latter method predominated and African-American artists’ paintings and sculptures were judged as to how well they fit into the European categories and styles of art. Whites’ art often disparaged Blacks, depicting them as inferior beings.

During the beginning of the twentieth century, Black artists began radically representing themselves and their newfound Americanism in their art. During the 1920s, the Harlem Renaissance marked a period of significant African-American contributions to the art field. Using Americanism along with realism and ethnic consciousness, artists of this period displayed confidence and poise, which resulted in self-respect and pride. This led to greater group awareness and artists began supporting one another to bolster and encourage visual arts. The Harlem Renaissance spread the themes of the movement to other parts of the US, encouraging African-American art along the way.

Murals were very popular during the 1940s to 1960s and American Blacks adopted Mexican techniques of using murals to cover buildings. Artists also used them to convey political, social and economic messages to other artists within the community and the US at large. The struggle for equal rights influenced a lot of the work during this period and many artist conveyed the theme of self-determination through self-expression, calling for formation of their own principles in evaluating their art instead of using the European or white standards.

Art fulfilled the contemporary community’s needs for aggressive social realization from 1960 to 1990, and many Black pursued education and training in the arts. Acknowledging that differences are valuable, artists used social realism, surrealism, abstract expressionism and conceptual art among other styles to convey this message in their art. Mediums visible during this period included mixed media assemblages, additive, subtractive, and mixed media sculpture, craft drawings, graphic art, and performance art.

Viewing Art in Harlem
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by Aubrie Dillon

The Studio Museum in Harlem

144 West 125th Street
New York, NY 10027
(between Lenox Ave. and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd.)

Directions to the Studio Museum in Harlem
Take the 2, 3, A, B, C, D, 4, 5, 6 trains to 125th street station
Take the M-2, M-7, M-10, M-100, M-101, M-102, or BX 15 to 125th Street

Hours of Operation
W-F 12-6pm
Sat 10-6
Sun 12-6
Closed Mon and Tues

Admission (Suggested Donation):
Adults: $7
Students/Seniors (w/ valid ID): $3
Members/Children Under 12: Free


This contemporary art museum focuses on work of artists of African descent and work inspired by African-American culture. Offering guided tours, readings, concerts, lectures, and workshops this institution also has an Artist-in-Residence program for emerging artists of African descent. Current exhibitions include Harlemworld: Metropolis as a Metaphor, Hirschfeld’s Harlem and Harlem Postcards Winter 2004.

Creating and Promoting Art in Harlem
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by Aubrie Dillon

West Harlem Art Fund

530 West 143rd Street
New York, NY 10031

This non-profit, community based organization sponsors Arts in the Park and advocates for the display of art in public spaces throughout Harlem and Hamilton Heights.

Children’s Arts Carnival of Harlem

62 Hamilton Terrace
212 234 4093

More Info:
Started in 1968 and backed by the Museum of Modern Art, this carnival allows youth to pain, draw, sculpt and participate in the arts by creating their own. With the help of volunteers and teachers, students learn principles of creating art while gaining valuable exposure to the community. Projects have included painting, drawing, making gingerbread houses, creating masks, and sculpting nudes.

Harlem Arts Alliance

Meetings Held First Monday of Every Month
The Theater of The Riverside Church
91 Claremont Avenue
New York, NY
(at 120th Street and Claremont Avenue)
Kicked off on December 20, 2001 at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the HAA has since been committed to preserving, promoting, and presenting Harlem’s contributions as a community to the world. This organization backs all arts including visual art, dance, theater, music, poetry and Black history.


The Frederick Douglass Creative Arts Center

270 West 96th Street
New York, NY 10025

More Info:
Founded in 1971, this institution offers writing workshops for adult students in poetry, short story, novel, screen writing and freelance. It produces the annual Black Roots Festival of Poetry, Prose, Drama and Music. There is also an after school program offering help with homework, teaching computer skills and providing photojournalism workshops for teens.


Photographic Center of Harlem

614-18 West 125 Street

More Info:
Founded in 1988, this institution provides free workshops in photography to help Harlem’s youth learn a valuable skill which will hopefully inspire creativity and positive self-expression. Many students have converted their schooling here to work and eventually careers. The center has a color lab, computer lab and photography studio and students participate in desktop publishing for community organizations.

Through Her Eyes: Women of Color Film Festival

Held By Women of Color Productions; 2004 with be the festival’s 6th yr.
Films displayed are created by or about women of color and this festival gives them a chance to display their art and convey their messages.

Held at Peter Norton Symphony Space’s Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theater
23 Broadway (SW corner of 95th)
Tickets are $10 for Adults; Students/Seniors $8; day pass is $21
Available at 212-864-5400 or symphonyspace.org

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