This week, NYSCA grantees are in the news with a wide range of noteworthy projects, from an arts partnership to serve diverse communities to the debut of youth filmmakers at the Tribeca Film Festival to a celebration of the Erie Canal Bicentennial.
Arts Partnership Launched for Diverse New York City Communities
“The North Carolina-based William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University have announced a $6 million initiative to explore how arts organizations can better serve diverse communities in New York City. Under the initiative, the Met and NYU will work with nineteen other arts and cultural institutions in the city to build on existing relationships within local communities, create new connections, and act as instruments of positive change. The two organizations will also document their practices and discussions as part of an effort to more broadly share lessons, outcomes, and tools with the field.” Organizations participating in the initiative include NYSCA grantees Met Museum, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the Brooklyn Museum, Harlem School of the Arts, Lincoln Center, National Dance Institute, NYC SALT, Urban Word NYC, Studio Museum in Harlem, Guggenheim Museum, BAM, and Urban Arts Partnership.
Spark Media Project’s ‘Santa Woman’ to premiere at Tribeca Film Festival
“A film created by Poughkeepsie youth is making its way from the Queen City to the Big Apple. Spark Media Project’s ‘Santa Woman’ was selected from hundreds of submissions from across the country as one of the top five finalists in the Tribeca Film Institute’s ‘The America I Am’ Competition, which is presented by the Tribeca Film Institute, the National Park Service and The Statue of Liberty National Monument. It recognizes young filmmakers ‘that express unique perspectives on the American experience.’The film will be featured at the Tribeca Film Festival and receive a red carpet premiere at Ellis Island April 19…[and] was created by Poughkeepsie youth producers Anissa ‘Tori’ Isaacs and Nyah Sharrock, with mentorship from Forge Producer Ari Williams, a former student…’Santa Woman,’ which was produced in a two-week film intensive in the winter of 2016 at Spark Media, tells the story of Christine Kringel, a young black woman entering a Santa competition, and addresses issues ‘regarding stereotypes and discrimination, while also challenging the representation of young black women in film’…The Tribeca Film Institute provided youth producers a $1,000 production budget to re-shoot the film for the festival. The Spark Media youth producers worked with Stephanie Ching, their Tribeca filmmaking mentor, over the last two months ‘to increase the production value and enhance the artistry of the story.’ NYSCA supports Spark Media Project through our Electronic Media & Film, Arts Education, and Regional Economic Development Council Programs and the Tribeca Film Institute through our Arts Education and Electronic Media & Film Programs.
Astoria museum raises $40K in 30 hours to create a permanent ‘Muppets’ exhibit
“The Museum of the Moving Image (MoMI) in Astoria asked for help from the community to make an upcoming exhibit on ‘The Muppets’ creator Jim Henson a permanent part of the museum — and 30 hours, later the museum met its goal. Organizers asked for $40,000 to help restore the approximately 175 puppets that will be on display at 36-01 35th Ave. and construct the cases that will hold the puppets…The Kickstarter campaign was supposed to run through May 11 and the museum created a video with the help of Neil Patrick Harris, designer of Miss Piggy, Bonnie Erickson and museum staff that describes how Henson personally influenced them. Now, the museum has set a new goal of $100,000…[to] restore more puppets in the Museum’s Jim Henson collection. ‘The Jim Henson Exhibition’ will feature more than 40 original puppets including Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Elmo, Cookie Monster, the Fraggles, and a Skeksis from ‘The Dark Crystal,’ as well as puppet prototypes, original character sketches, behind-the-scenes footage and photographs and interactive puppetry design and performance experiences. The Jim Henson Company will also loan artifacts for the exhibition.” NYSCA supports MoMI through our Museum and Electronic Media & Film Programs.
A New Exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum Explores Feminism Through The Lens of Women of Color
“A new exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum is challenging the traditional feminist narrative by giving voice to women of color that were largely left out of the mainstream dialogue…We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women , 1965-85 is a group show that focuses on women of color as artists and activists during a period of social upheaval that afforded drastic changes in the art world. A time that saw many artists shift from an activist approach to social issues in the 60s and 70s to a more theoretical approach in the 80s…We Wanted a Revolution coheres around significant historical events rather than a standard artist-centric group show design, meaning that the same artist [such as Faith Ringgold] is often represented in different areas throughout the show, dependent on which movements and moments they participated in…The exhibition incorporates a variety of disciplines, from the artworks themselves to photographs, ephemera, audio, interviews, and a selection of publications from the period republished in the form of a sourcebook.” NYSCA supports the Brooklyn Museum through our Museum and Arts Education Programs.
Albany Institute marks Erie Canal’s 200th birthday
A new exhibit at the Albany Institute of History and Art, “Spotlight: The Erie Canal,” will celebrate the canal’s history through Aug. 20. “Among the many items making up the canal exhibit is an 1850 painting by folk artist John Wilson showing the New York State Agricultural Fair from that time period located somewhere just north of Albany on land adjacent to the canal. Another painting from 1852 by William Rickerby Miller shows the Erie Canal out in Little Falls. ‘The Wilson painting was recently donated to us, and there’s only one other work known by him,’ said [art director Tammis K.] Groft. ‘We have original drawings done in 1853 as well as some wonderful images on ceramic bowls and plates…We also have a book celebrating the opening of the Erie Canal and a portrait of DeWitt Clinton.’ Groft also has a small commemorative medal celebrating the opening, as well as a larger cast stone version that may have had some practical use on the canal.” NYSCA supports the Albany Institute through our Museum and Arts Education Programs.
A wake-up call: Show uses 1,500 coffee cups to fight waste
“A dance performance [by the Vangeline Theater] featuring 1,500 coffee cups littered across its set will spill onto the stage of Greenpoint’s Triskelion Arts on April 20–22. The director of ‘Wake Up and Smell the Coffee’ says that it aims to confront people with the amount of waste they produce by drinking out of disposable drink vessels…The Vangeline Theater company specializes in a type of Japanese theater called butoh, an avant-garde dance form meant to startle the audience and bring them face-to-face with issues they would otherwise ignore, according to the group’s founder. [First performed in 2015, the show] features a topic that many have closed their eyes to — global climate change. Dancers will wade through a sea of coffee cups as they act out a story set a few years in the future, when global warming has become so serious that mankind is on the verge of extinction. Vangeline and her dancers collected the coffee cups from trash cans around the city, washing them in the sink before they became a part of the set.” NYSCA supports Triskelion Arts through our Dance Program and Vangeline Theater through our Special Arts Services Program.