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Public Art Takes Center Stage in West Harlem and The Heights

Harlemites have until November 12th to see several window installations, digital projections, local tours and events taking center stage uptown. The West Harlem Art Fund will again offer its successful “Hallelujah” – Harlem Public Art Fest.

In 2006, the West Harlem Art Fund placed sculptural works in park settings and digital projections that were site specific in Central and West Harlem. This year the organization will offer installations in West Harlem and Washington Heights that do not freeze time like a painting or sculpture, but offer an experience that surrounds the viewer.

West Harlem and Washington Heights are experiencing a transformation – new restaurants, waterfront
developments, housing. Art will lead the way for a vision for Broadway that will offer more
trees, retail, plazas, culture and tourism.

Installations will include a “pop-up-shop” for emerging designers. The space will house up to
three emerging designers per weekend selling their wares on both Saturday and Sunday. The space
is being organized by Enyinne Owunwanne, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Heat
Indx. She is an active advocate for promoting arts in the West Harlem community. Enyinne Owunwanne
most recently organized a shopping event this past May, the Uptown Emerging Designers
Market
, which drew in a crowd of over 1,000 consumers from Harlem and beyond. The event was
such a success that the NY Times soon after deemed the Uptown Emerging Designers Market as
Harlem’s newest fashion retail destination! Enyinne will be launching the The Heat Indx Mrkt in
December, in an effort to bolster community support of local emerging designers.

Floral installations will be designed by Tara Simone Powell, Principal owner of Barbara’s Flowers
that create special events floral arrangements and installations for many midtown corporate and
fashion artists. Digital works will spotlight British artist Sandor Camille and East Harlem’s Julio
Valdez on 12th Avenue along Harlem’s new restaurant row. Sandor Camille, whose formidable
work includes large-scale portraits of Heavyweight Champions, owes as much to the influence of
post 1950 American abstract painters as to British figurative masters like Francis Bacon and Lucian
Freud. Sandor Camille has focused his efforts on bridging the gap between modern contemporary
art and the common man. Art can be intimidating and imposing – Camille has endeavored
to create a point of entry for all who are interested.

Julio Valdez water images references his childhood memories of the Caribbean, as well as contemporary
issues of displacement and cultural identity. Both projections are supported by the NYC
Department of Transportation and the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation.

Vantage Properties, the main sponsor of this event has donated five street level commercial spaces
for this festival. Neil Rubler, President and CEO of Vantage Properties, LLC said: “As a major
investor and believer in the future of Harlem and Washington Heights, Vantage is particularly
thrilled to participate in this exciting celebration of Uptown arts and culture. We have always
believed that neighborhoods are most vibrant when there is dynamic activity at street level, and
for this reason, we are particularly pleased that our storefronts will be put to great use displaying
wonderful works of art
to be enjoyed by local residents and visitors alike.”

The West Harlem Art Fund has been in the forefront of transforming Northern Manhattan using art
and culture. On the heels of a community planning process, the West Harlem Art Fund received
$475,000 Environmental Protection Fund award to recommend streetscape improvements on upper
Broadway and develop a cultural corridor plan in partnership with the Office of the Manhattan
Borough President and the NY Department of State as well as a NY Main Street grant and Preservation
League of NY award totaling $127,000 dollars combined to nominate Upper Broadway to
the National Registry and enhance storefront facades.

For more information about the West Harlem Art Fund visit http://www.myharlem.org/

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One comment on “Public Art Takes Center Stage in West Harlem and The Heights

  1. The Gay Recluse
    November 1, 2008

    Thanks for this info, UF! I encourage people to check out the storefronts — they’re very cool!

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This entry was posted on November 1, 2008 by in Art and tagged , , , , .
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