Artwork by Suzanne LaFleur

The Harlem Experience Part I

I have been working in my Harlem studio for a few years now.  About a year ago, I made the complete move to Harlem from the upper west side.  This part of the city has been undergoing a kind of renaissance over the past few years – the local arts community counts many great museums, workspaces and studios for artists, galleries, and cultural organizations to its credit.  Great restaurants are opening up. And of course, there is the legendary Harlem Jazz scene.  I love the fact that there is as much focus on enriching the lives of residents through the arts as there is on promoting the scene at the commercial level.

I have been lucky enough to be presented with numerous opportunities to be part of the area’s artistic activity.  As a member of the steering committee for the non-profit organization, Arts Horizons, I have seen first hand the amazing work that the organization is doing to empower local youth through the arts.  Based in New Jersey, Arts Horizons heads the LeRoy Neiman Art Center, which offers classes, workshops, and special events.  Chashama is an amazing organization committed to supporting creativity in NYC by turning unused properties into creative spaces for artists and creative activity.  It has numerous locations throughout the city, which include a Studios/Exhibition space in Harlem.  And there is the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Jazz Museum in Harlem.

I am also very much looking forward to the reopening of the Dance Theatre of Harlem.  Founded in 1969, the pioneering dance company has been on hiatus since 2004, and is set to reopen in 2013.  This is important for so many reasons.  The Dance Theatre of Harlem will once again bring the diverse landscape of local dance talent to a grand stage.

Stay tuned for Part II to read about some of my favorite local spots to grab a drink and bite to eat.


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