The National Black Theatre, in partnership with ArtBridge, RAY, and LMXD, is pleased to announce Steal Away, a public art exhibition created by renowned artist Xenobia Bailey. This 500-foot long exhibition is installed on the construction fencing surrounding the future home of the longest-running Black theater in New York City. In addition to NBT’s multi-floor space, the 21-story project, designed by Frida Escobedo Architects and Handel Architects under the direction of Ray, will include 222 units of mixed-income apartments and substantial commercial space along 125th Street. The project is Ray’s flagship location and first foray into building residential spaces that center daily engagement with art and design.
When the National Black Theatre announced its intention to develop its current site, concerns about the interior (and exterior) artistic treasurers were of great concern. The property, which was purchased by the Theatre’s founder, Dr. Barbara Ann Teer in 1969, houses the largest collection of Nigerian New Sacred Art in the Western Hemisphere. Hand carved wood totems and copper, aluminum and brass relief were created for the Theatre by traditional Nigerian artisans from the Sun-Oshogbo Sacred Grove. They carved these works using tools and methods which spanned seven generations. With its founder, Dr. Barbara Ann Teer, dedicated to the preservation of this unique spiritual tradition, it is no wonder that the upcoming project, demolishing the current structure, and creating a new, would present questions about the preservation of the artwork.
Enter ~Ray ~ a company whose mission states that it builds urban projects as vertical villages in a way that includes art along with architecture and design.