A guide to free art & architecture in NYC with families in mind.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Dos Generaciones: Mexico & New York El Taller Latino/The Grady Alexis Gallery

My recent visit to The Grady Alexis Gallery located in El Taller Latino, was to see the exhibit " Dos Generaciones: Mexico & New York."  El Taller is a cultural center located on 104th street and Broadway in Manhattan.  The exhibit displays a photographs that were made in collaboration between parents and their children.  Their objective was to document to say anything that was interesting or important in  their lives with photography.   There are four groups of parent and child teams represented in the show.  This exhibit is very empowering to the participants and the viewer. The participants were able to express their ideas and feelings to each other and to their audience in a way that may or may not ever have considered.  The viewer is exposed to a new window into a community they may not be familiar with.   Andrea Arroyo is the curator and she presents  this exhibit  in collaboration with  the group Mano A Mano: Culture Without Borders.  The subject matter varies as does the level of execution but the editing is strong and surely the best work is shown in a respectful way.   The short bios of the family members are also interesting  to read.  All of parents in the creative teams are immigrants from Mexico and the children are born in the U.S. I enjoyed the show enough to go twice and I plan to bring my daughter up to the Taller to see the show too.   I hope that she will get inspired to do the same project with me this summer.   The show is up until July 16th and I do hope they will extend it!

Guadalupe by Natalie Cortes age 12 

El Taller Latino has been long been a beehive of cultural events and performances on the Upper West Side.  It has hosted musical greats such as Pete Seeger and Philip Glass and The Beastie Boys to name just a few.  The Taller has also been of service to it's community as a Spanish language eduction center and a promoter of Latino culture enrichment programs for children and adults.  The honey from El Taller Latino has never stopped flowing but it looks like it will be in another location soon. Bernardo Palombo the gallery owner and founder of the non profit  El Taller Latino.   Mr. Palombo told me that the center will be closing in October of this year  due to an exorbitant rent hike.  Their $8,000 a month rent will quadruple and leave them no choice but to turn of the lights.  I am saddened to hear this as will many many Upper West Siders,  New Yorkers and World Wide fans.  Miraculously they have found a spot on the east side with ART SPACE PS109 http://www.artspace.org/.   The east side gains a beautiful and bountiful cultural center with very spirit centered leaders at it's core.

El Taller Latino Americano/The Latin American Workshop
2710 Broadway, 3rd floor at  104th street
212 665-9460
Photo credit top image:  Doll by Rosali Arteaga   age 12

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Art on Astor Row: "Sum of Histories" a pop-up exhibit

clockwise from top:  "Lover's at the Temple," Anthony Smith Jr.,  "Botanica, " Kathleena Howie,
"Island Gurl", Leenda Bonilla,  "Frog King, " Copie Rodriguez,  " "Mem's Friends," Laura James.

A "pop-up" art exhibit has a very short shelf life, here to day gone tomorrow.  Nevertheless,  today is a great day to take a stroll up Lenox Avenue in Harlem and stop in at 48 Astor Row on 130th street and see the art exhibition entitled "Sum of Histories."   A group show consisting of five artists, whose artistic endeavors are at a mid-career point.  Their individual creative paths are not similar but their desire to communicate a narrative with their audience naturally ties them together in this strong exhibit of their work. 
The artists,  Leenda Bonilla,  Kathleena Howie aka LadyK Fever,  Laura James, Anthony Smith Jr and Copie Rodriquez invite you to see to their stories today from 3-6pm

Monday, April 28, 2014

Francine Perlman: " Lost in Infinity "at the NYPL Morninside Branch

Lost in Infinity 2,  mixed medium 23"x28"
Francine Perlman

  One of my favorite things is to come across art work in unexpected places.  A few days ago I stopped at the my local library the Morningside Branch on 113th street and broadway,  to drop off some books.  Since I can never leave the library without taking out a book, I decided to take the stairs up to the second floor and browse around.  As I looked up at the sun drenched staircase, I was immediately greeted by the art work of Francine Perlman that was on display on the walls of the staircase.  I sometimes forget that this library  has made a wonderful use of the walls of it's staircase by designating it as a mini art gallery. They have breathed life into a space that would otherwise go unnoticed, and transformed it into a visually interactive experience.  Ms. Perlman's mixed media art work is  entrancing as the soft lines in each piece buzz and whirl around each other.  I can almost hear the lines and colors play strange and wondrous harmonies within the negative spaces.  I am so glad that the visitors to this library, especially the children,encounter art work such as Ms. Perlman's when they go to pick out books.  Not all children get to visit museums, much less view examples of  abstract art in libraries.   I often meet adults who say that their children are not interested in abstract art.  I think that exposing children to different types of art early on in their lives, may pave the way for  a lifelong interest in it.  At minimum, it will secure good memories of art appreciation with their family.
  Kudos to the staff at the Morningside Branch who are thoughtful enough to keep up this wonderful mini art gallery. They know  that early  exposure to art is the key to future appreciation of all types of art. Be sure to point out Ms. Perlman's paintings to your children as you pass them along the walls of the staircase.  I have a hunch they will be able to create an infinite amount of stories, when getting  lost in the infinity of her imagery.
 The Moringside Branch of the New York Public library  is located  at 113th street and broadway.
Francine Perlman's work will be up until May 31st  library hours M-Th 10-7, F-S 10-5.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

YOHO Artists Open Studio Weekend

Spring is finally here and that means that the YoHo Open Studio weekend event is around the corner! My family's favorite art studio tour will be held on Saturday May 3rd and Sunday, May 4th from noon to 6pm, each day. Make the trip to the historic Alexander A. Smith Carpet mills, an industrial complex in Yonkers that closed in the late 1980's and was slowly, reoccupied by artists who needed affordable studio spaces. The expansive work spaces flooded with natural light became reinvented as a hub of creativity.  Today, YOHO Artists  is comprised of more than 30 participating resident artists, artisans and digital media professionals, working in a wide variety of disciplines, who live in NYC, Westchester and New Jersey and commute to their studios. Last year, the event attracted more than 800 visitors to the studios.   This is the 11th year of this event.   
             When my daughter was younger we appreciated that all the studios were located in one factory building complex making it easy to access them with it's large elevators and wide corridors.  More importantly there were always many friendly artists eager to share their knowledge and allow visitors to watch them working up close.  Over the years the collective has added arts and crafts activities and an art theme game for children to try while on the tour.  One of our favorite artists to visit is Librado Romero.  He is always welcoming, and often invites kids to put some brush strokes on a canvas.  What an thrill that is for them and memorable experience they come away with. Their creative ideas are validated and encouraged by a wise and talented artist.
The Metro North Commuter Rail Service provides easy access to Yonkers directly from Manhattan and Grand Central Station. There is free parking on the site  and elevator access. There is live music scheduled and some refreshments served.  
578 Neppherhan Ave. Yonkers, NY.  10701 
YoHo Artists has a  Facebook page.   
photo: Librado Romero in his studio   photo credit: Mary Hardiman

Friday, February 21, 2014

Laura James: Anna Carries Water

What is the recipe for an unforgettable children's book?   Equal parts magical story and breathtaking  images.  This week a wonderful example of this magical combination arrived in local bookstores and on Amazon. "Anna Carries Water," is written by Canadian-Jamaican writer Olive Senior, and illustrated by fine artist and Bronx resident, Laura James.
Ms. James, is known for sacred art paintings that depict deities, angels and mortals as people of color. She invites viewers of all ethnicities to connect and become empowered, with spiritual narratives.  For Ms. James, illustrating a children's book felt like entering a new community, but her efforts are already receiving complimentary reviews.  Each illustration is an acrylic painting, whose images are infused with intoxicating colors.  All readers will be drawn into the world of Anna as she struggles to overcome her fear and reach her goal.  Her story is takes place in a mountain Caribbean village.  Typically her family goes to a spring to collect water.  Anna wants to carry water with her family but she is afraid of the cows she must walk past in a nearby field.  She eventually conquers her fears and takes her place in the important  family activity of collecting water.  For a look at more of Ms. James's work go to laurajamesart.com.  "Anna Carries Water,"  is a Tradewind Books publication.
For a closer look click on the images. Enjoy!