On Tuesday, June 20 at 7pm EST The Apollo Theater will host “CHAMP: Deaf Artists of Color Redefining the Performing Arts,” an in-depth discussion featuring the leading Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing artists, creators, and musicians working in the performing arts space today. The panelists come from all corners of the creative industry, spanning dance, theater, music, and film. Throughout the conversation, they will share their stories—their successes, their setbacks, and the steps they took to get to where they are today. Not only will this be an opportunity to connect and network with trailblazing artists, but also a chance to celebrate all of their contributions and uplift an integral but often under-acknowledged community.
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture will host its 5th Annual Literary Festival on Saturday, June 17th. Traditionally held on Juneteenth weekend, the Schomburg Center Literary Festival is held both outdoors and throughout the historic research library in Harlem, featuring discussions, workshops, and book signings with established and emerging writers across the Black Diaspora.
Claire Oliver Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new work by artist Gio Swaby, I Will Blossom Anyway. The exhibition features life-scale textile works including six self-portraits and a grid work of nine silhouettes. This new series explores the concept of dual identities and the cognizance of “other” experienced by immigrants living in a foreign culture. Through detailed sewn line drawing and quilting, Swaby conveys intimacy and beauty in the humanity and imperfection of her subjects. The artist displays the back sides of her canvases to the viewer as the finished work to showcase the knots and loose threads, which signify the sitter’s ongoing journey of life. In I Will Blossom Anyway, Swaby turns this reflection and loving gaze inward, an introspective view of her own journey. The works will be on view in Harlem May 19 – July 29, 2023.
Popping Up at the entrance to Harlem, an exhibition, workshops and music will fill an empty storefront at 301 West 110th Street (enter on Frederick Douglass Boulevard in the old Subway Shop). Opening May 7th and on view throughout the month.
The 18th edition of the Harlem International Film Festival is coming and we recently received the lineup. Taking place at AMC Magic Johnson Harlem 9 Theaters from May 18th to the 28th, it will open up with Blow Up My Life and Paris Is In Harlem on May 18th, and the world premiere of the first two episodes from the next season of STARZ’ Run the World series, and the world premiere of Clayton P. Allis and Doug E. Doug’s In The Weeds on Friday, May 19th.
1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair announced details of the 2023 annual New York edition, following the notable success of last year’s return to an in-person fair event in Harlem. The 2023 iteration will take place at Malt House in the Manhattanville Factory District, 429 West 127th Street, from Thursday, May 18 through Sunday, May 21, 2023. The fair will host VIP previews from 11am to 7pm on Thursday, May 18th. Artsy will be hosting the fair online.
On Monday, March 27, 2023, The Apollo’s Board Chair Charles E. Phillips announced that the 99-seat theater in The Apollo’s new Victoria Theater—which marks the first major expansion in the organization’s history—will be named after its current President & CEO Jonelle Procope in honor of her two decades as leader of the iconic cultural and civic non-profit dedicated to providing a platform for Black creativity. The new, 25,000-square-foot facility is under renovation and will open later this year, adding two additional stages that will be operated by The Apollo and will welcome in artists, audiences, other cultural and civic organizations and creators, and students. The surprise announcement took place at a celebration in honor of Ms. Procope at the Ford Foundation following her announcement at the end of 2022 that she will step down as President later this year.
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture will host its 11th Annual Black Comic Book Festival on April 14 and 15. The festival returns in person to the historic research library for the first time since 2020, following several years of virtual programming due to the pandemic.
This year, National Rugelach Day will be celebrated on Saturday, April 29th. We will be celebrating with The King of Rugelach, Alvin Lee Smalls ~ also known and loved as Mr. Lee, owner of Lee Lee’s Baked Goods in Harlem. It also happens to be Mr. Lee’s 81st Birthday!
City College Center for the Arts (CCCA) is marking the 60-year history of the legendary, Cuban charanga band Orquesta Broadway on Friday, March 24 at Aaron Davis Hall’s Marian Anderson Theatre, with a special concert featuring multi-award-winning flutist and educator Connie Grossman and esteemed flutist Karen Joseph. Award-winning radio host and Latin music historian Nelson Radhames Rodriguez serves as producer and emcee of the show, which starts at 7:00 p.m. EDT. Tickets are available at citycollegecenterforthearts.org.
Sitting in on the recent CB 11 meeting, Jana La Sorte, the Administrator of Historic Harlem Parks, gave an update on a plethora of good news happening in Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem.
The Park, which runs from 120th Street to 124th Street, and from Madison Avenue to Mount Morris Park West, is the home to the historic Harlem Fire Watchtower, the Harlem Drummers, the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, a swimming pool, and from what we heard in this meeting, it may be the new home of Harlem Eat Up!
Since 1934, aspiring performers have come to The Apollo to “Be Good or Be Gone!” On Saturday, March 25 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., The Apollo (253 W. 125th Street) will hold live auditions for its signature program, Amateur Night at The Apollo, the quintessential talent competition and one of the longest-running events in the world.
With its gleaming shopping centers and refurbished row houses, today’s Harlem bears little resemblance to the neighborhood of the midcentury urban crisis. In The Roots of Urban Renaissance: Gentrification and the Struggle over Harlem, first published in 2017 by Harvard University Press, Brian D. Goldstein traces Harlem’s Second Renaissance to a surprising source: the radical social movements of the 1960s that resisted city officials and fought to give Harlemites control of their own destiny. Inspired by the civil rights movement, young activists envisioned a Harlem built by and for its low-income, predominantly African American population. In the succeeding decades, however, the community-based organizations they founded came to pursue a very different goal: a neighborhood with national retailers and increasingly affluent residents.
On the heals of the exhibition, ‘Figuratively: Real and Imagined‘, Living with Art Salon will open its doors to the exhibition ‘Women Who Paint: Are Fearless‘ on March 13th, highlighting the work of three contemporary artists ~ Beth Barry, Silvia Battistuzzi and Yael Dresdner. Collectively their paintings are in conversation through color, brush stroke, shape and natural forms, interpreted by each artist.
Claire Oliver Gallery will open its doors to Unearthing Unicorns, the debut solo exhibition by artist Simone Elizabeth Saunders. Unearthing Unicorns showcases large-scale textile artworks that explore the iconography of the famed high Renaissance era Unicorn Tapestries and Art Nouveau advertising through a contemporary Black feminist lens. The artist’s sweeping art historical reframing is rendered in vibrant polychrome hand-tufted textiles that both reference the prized woven tapestries of the Renaissance as well as the more contemporary feminist craft movement of the later 20th century. Unearthing Unicorns will be on view in Harlem March 17 – May 13, 2023.
Mart 125 opened in 1986 as an indoor market providing local street vendors with an opportunity to be part of a brick-and-mortar, working rain or shine. Located at 252 West 125th Street, across the street from the legendary Apollo Theater and Victoria Theatre, it was an incubator for Black Owned Businesses selling unique items and food.
Over the years, Harlemites watched the streetscapes on either side of Lenox Avenue between 119th and 120th Streets, with the hope that the owners had a view toward lovingly restoring these treasured buildings.
Built in the early 1900s, the buildings on the west side of the street attracted businesses, owners of townhomes and renters ~ all contributing to the renovation and preservation of the buildings.
However many of the buildings along that same strip, on the east side of the street, were not maintained, eventually vacated and boarded up. This month, neighbors watched as 186 Lenox Avenue was demolished.
Claire Oliver Gallery is pleased to announce MAKE/BELIEVE a new exhibition by artist Judith Schaechter. MAKE/BELIEVE features six new stained glass artworks presented in lightboxes, installed as a debut exhibition in the gallery’s second floor space. Schaechter employs a centuries-old process of staining and enameling glass and contemporary innovations she has pioneered with engraving and layering panes to produce her epically narrative and brilliantly polychrome artworks. The works in MAKE/BELIEVE reflect myriad current events over the past few years from the pandemic to the BLM movement in Schaechter’s characteristically elliptical imagery that is deeply narrative while indirect in its references. For MAKE/BELIEVE, Schaechter has also designed a custom wallpaper that will be installed throughout the exhibition. MAKE/BELIEVE marks the artist’s eighth solo presentation at the gallery and will be on view October 21 – December 17, 2022.
Jonelle Procope, President and CEO of the Apollo, announced today that after two decades of leading the iconic cultural and civic non-profit dedicated to providing a platform for Black creativity, she will step down on June 30, 2023. Ms. Procope’s leadership, first as a member of the board and then as president and CEO, has transformed a venue that was in disrepair into an internationally recognized cultural institution, expanding it into the largest African American performing arts presenting organization with one of the most diverse boards and audiences in the country. Throughout her tenure, the Apollo has also served as an anchor for the revitalization of legendary 125th Street in Harlem and as a center for community and national discourse.
Boundless: 10 Years of Seeding Black Comic Futures, an ongoing exhibition, celebrates the tenth anniversary of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture’s Black Comic Book Festival, through photographs, memorabilia, creator highlights, comic book reading stations, and clips from past festival programs.
In addition, join The Schomburg on Wednesday, September 28th from 5:00 to 9:00pm for an after-hours preview and a movie screening of ‘Milestone Generations‘ ~ a film chronicling one of the largest Black comic book publishers in the country (partially filmed within the Schomburg Center). This is a free event ~ Register Here.
On Saturday, September 24, 2022, 1:00pm – 7:00 pm at Marcus Garvey Park | Richard Rodgers Amphitheatre, in Harlem, iconic saxophone players Bill Saxton, Alvin Flythe, Todd Herbert, Sweet Lee Odom, Patience Higgins, TK Blue and John S. Mannan join three rhythm sections to play the music of John Coltrane from the Miles Davis/Monk Era thru the Impulse Record years of Trane’s performances. Doors Open at 1:00 pm performances begin with The Reggie Workman Group at 1:30pm. Enter at 5th Ave @ W. 124th Street.
Few photographers had the insider access Oakland native Jeffrey Henson Scales did around the Black Panther Party in the late 1960s. Capturing intimate portraits and protest images of the organization and its leaders in a time of societal upheaval, Scales’s archive lay dormant and forgotten for 40 some years. Then in 2018, when his mother died and the contents of the family home were sorted, the negatives were discovered.
Join Jeffrey Henson Scales for a celebration of his book and book signing of “In A Time of Panthers”, early photographs by Jeffrey Henson Scales, to be held on September 28th at Claire Oliver Gallery.
Claire Oliver Gallery is pleased to announce When You See Them, You See Me, the debut solo exhibition by artist Robert Peterson. Featuring 13 life-scale oil on canvas figurative paintings, Peterson aims to capture time through his art, highlighting Black family life as joyous, loving, and balanced. So often Black men and women are unfairly stereotyped, and fractured family dynamics are what the media and popular culture choose to highlight. Peterson looks at his work as an opportunity to flip the narrative and shed light on the strength, resilience, and gentleness of the Black community that is hardly ever showcased.
Today, the legendary Apollo announced its upcoming fall/winter 2022 season, featuring a variety of offerings from conversations with prominent figures and acclaimed dance works to Grammy-winning vocalists, emerging comedians, and more.
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the commitment of $8 million for improvements to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem. The funding, which is being administered through the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, will enable the refurbishment of the building façade, replacement of windows and roof, and will allow for safety enhancements and energy-saving improvements. DASNY will also provide design services and construction management for the project. This announcement comes during Harlem Week, an annual celebration of Harlem’s wide ranging culture and history.
A larger-than-life outdoor public art exhibit is opening on August 12 on St. Nicholas Avenue between 120thand 121st Streets as part of the continuing Harlem is . . . Healing campaign by Community Works and New Heritage Theatre Group and in partnership with the NYC Department of Transportation’s Art Program. The installation has been extended to May 1, 2023.
The wait is over……the much anticipated Pastitalia Harlemopened to the public on Tuesday, July 5th. Located at 264 Lenox Avenue between 123rd/124th Streets, Pastitalia will serve a variety of coffees, pastry, salad and homemade pastas to go, with limited seating under an umbrella on the front patio.
Living with Art Salon unveiled its summer exhibition with the installation ‘It’s Only Natural: The Summer Salon at Living with Art,’ True to its title, the exhibition explores how nature informs the artists practice.
The summer-long program offers free film screenings and music in outdoor venues including a new series held in partnership with the Frederick Douglass Blvd Alliance (FDBA) themed “The Soul of Harlem” primarily featuring films about Harlem or by local directors such as the Aretha Franklin biopic Respect directed by Harlem-resident Tommy Leisl (July 9); Forty Year-Old Version by Harlem’s own Radha Blank(August 27); a talkback and special advance screening of Stanley Nelson‘s Becoming Frederick Douglass (September 10).
In celebration of the Apollo’s Spring Benefit on Monday, June 13, the non-profit announced today it will release a limited edition non-fungible token (NFT) commemorating the annual event. Approximately 400 NFTs will be issued through Ticketmaster. The special NFTs will be given to each person who donated to Apollo’s Spring Benefit. The commemorative NFT will be a digital keepsake celebrating the world-renowned organization’s largest annual fundraising event.
As the 25th season of NYC Parks’ Citywide Monuments Conservation Program (CMCP) commences, a team of skilled conservators and trainees have started making the rounds to clean, recoat and treat several major monuments throughout the five boroughs. On Friday, this year’s three new seasonal apprentices worked with staff using ladders and a boom lift to preserve Richard Hunt’s Harlem Hybrid along with other sculptures in Harlem.
MASC Hospitality Group, producers of the Uptown Night Market and the Bronx Night Market are proud to announce their most ambitious project yet, Harlem Bazaar. The brand new monthly series aims to bring creativity, originality, and pizazz to the neighborhood; by showcasing NYC’s visionaries, creators, inventors, and artists all in one inclusive space. Patrons can expect the most banging flavors, the hottest merchandise, incredibly crafted items, exquisite art, fresh designs, and much more. Harlem Bazaar will take place at the State Building located on W 125th Street from 3-9pm.
The Season Finale, and final installment of Harlem Bazaar will take place on Friday, October 21, 2022.
We call him Mr. Lee, but his name is Alvin Lee Smalls, and he is a true Harlem institution, known for decades as The King of Rugelach. This April 29th, National Rugelach Day, Mr. Lee turns 80 years young!
This month marks the launch of New Black Fest at the Apollo, a festival celebrating contemporary Black playwrights from across the nation. On April 22, 23, and 25 at 7pm, audiences will have the opportunity to see original works by 18 playwrights, each commissioned by the Apollo and New Black Fest co-founder Keith Josef Adkins. These commissions focus on how the artists of the Harlem Renaissance responded to their historical landscape, as well as how contemporary creatives are dealing with today’s issues in their own work. The festival also marks the first public presentation from the non-profit theater’s Apollo New Works initiative, a groundbreaking series of commissions dedicated to the creation of a diverse, 21st-century American performing arts canon. Tickets for each evening are $25.
A Conversation Between Women is an unexpected dialogue that takes place across mediums of twenty contemporary female artists. The artists are multigenerational and culturally diverse ~ what they have in common besides their gender is that they are part of a community of artists that works collaboratively with the curator, and nonprofit organization, Art Lives Here.
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the legendary Hip-Hop showcase the Lyricist Lounge, the Apollowill bring together iconic producers, DJs, and rappers of the 90s to today, live and in-person on Saturday, April 16 at 8:00pm EST. For one night only, the concert will feature a slew of iconic artists, including KRS-One, Kid Capri, Talib Kweli, Grand Puba, Rah Digga, Buckshot, Mr. Cheeks, CL Smooth, and Bahamadia-among others to be announced. Lyricist Lounge began in 1991 as a regular gathering of some of New York’s best underground MCs and has grown into one of Hip-Hop’s most recognized platforms, showcasing newcomers and veterans on national concert tours, albums, documentaries, and the popular 2000 MTV sketch comedy series, The Lyricist Lounge Show. Tickets are on sale now at www.ApolloTheater.org.
Claire Oliver Gallery announces inaugural exhibition Who That Is? by artist Stan Squirewell, marking the artists’ debut at the gallery, on view March 25 – June 11, 2022. Through a ritualized process, Squirewell’s work examines who curates and controls the narratives that become accepted as history; from what perspective is history written, whose stories are told, and whose are neglected? Featuring more than 15 new works by the Louisville based artist, Who That Is? showcases works from Squirewell’s series While Shepherds Kept Their Watching, the creation of which is a summation of the multimedia artists’ practices of painting, photography, sculpture, and performance.
Harlem’s vibrant history and influence stretches far beyond the five boroughs. The music, art, culture, social life, food, fashion, politics and businesses that have originated in Harlem have had a profound impact on the world stage for generations. This is the magic of Harlem –it’s Fire & Soul. Even when the world is dim, bleak and uncertain, the hearts, souls and resilience of Harlemites burns bright. Our Fire & Soul 2022 exhibition exemplifies this very statement. The exhibit features 10 multi-generational artists whose work embodies the notions of beauty, joy, and connection. Let this exhibit provide you strength, optimism, connection, and hope during these remarkably challenging times wherever you find yourself.
Hailed as “our most vital public intellectual” (Vanity Fair), MacArthur “Genius” Fellow Ta-Nehisi Coates is no stranger to the Apollo stage, as he serves as the Theater’s inaugural Master Artist-in-Residence, an initiative that deepens the Apollo’s relationship with an influential artist whose work aligns with the Apollo’s mission. His work with the Apollo includes the theatrical premiere of the staged adaptation of his seminal work Between the World and Me, as well as conversations with Oprah Winfrey about his debut novel The Water Dancer;and Lupita Nyong’o and the late Chadwick Boseman about Black Panther. As part of his multi-year residency, Coates will be joined by multi-talented rapper, singer, and actor Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter of the Grammy Award-winning band The Roots on the Apollo stage on Wednesday, March 30 at 7:00 p.m. EDT to discuss their work, what inspires them, and the ways in which they are reimagining their artforms for the future.
BET, a subsidiary of Paramount Global, announced today that the Harlem Entrepreneurial Microgrant Initiative, a $100,000 program created to provide support to small Harlem businesses in partnership with the 125th Street Business Improvement District (BID) and the Apollo Theater, will be accepting applications as of March 1, 2022 until March 31, 2022. Established in 2020 in response to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black communities, this third round of the microgrant initiative will continue to aid in small business recovery.
The Africa Center and Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD) will kick-off Black History Month with the opening of African/American: Making the Nation’s Table. This exhibition will highlight the many ways African culture has influenced African American Cuisine, and how those traditions have blended to create the foundation for American food.
In perfect timing for Black History Month, Claire Oliver Gallery will open its doors to the New York debut exhibition A Contemporary Black Matriarchal Lineage in Printmaking features 21 works by nine contemporary Black women printmakers. Curated by two artists, founder of Texas-based nonprofit Black Women of Print, Tanekeya Word and member Delita Martin, the exhibition explores the depth and breadth of printmaking through the lens of Black women and their myriad narratives.
Founded in 1904, the New Amsterdam Musical Association (NAMA) is the oldest African-American musical organization in the country. It was founded at a time when the musicians union didn’t admit minority musicians, and the law stated that one had to be in the union in order to perform in New York City!
The Apollo announced details of its Winter/Spring 2022 season, with an array of free and ticketed programming in-person at the Apollo’s historic theater and online on the Apollo’s Digital Stage Highlights include the long-anticipated return of the Amateur Night at the Apollocompetition on Wednesday, February 16 at 7:30pm EST; Apollo Master Artist-in-Residence Ta-Nehisi Coates and The Roots’ Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, in conversation; the Lyricist Lounge 30th Anniversary Concert featuring hip-hop trailblazers to be announced; the premiere of The Gathering: A Collective Ring Shout, co-presented by the American Composers Orchestra and the Apollo and co-curated by National Black Theatre; the return of Africa Now! featuring East African jazz vocalist and Grammy nominee Somi; and more. The non-profit Apollo’s season centers Black artists and voices from the African Diaspora with myriad opportunities for artists and audiences to come back together at the iconic theater.
Living with Art Salon will open its doors to the first annual ‘Members Only‘ exhibition showing over 75 works of art created by 15 visual artists ~ all members of Art Lives Here, a non-profit arts organization, creating opportunities for emerging artists. Opening on December 8th, we couldn’t wait, and got a sneak-peek today.