Federal Hall to Host “harlem is… DOWNTOWN” Exhibit

Two artworks from Federal Hall's "harlem is... DOWNTOWN" exhibit, on display through April 15, 2016.
Two artworks from Federal Hall's "harlem is... DOWNTOWN" exhibit, on display through April 15, 2016.

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News Release Date: February 8, 2016

Contact: John Harlan Warren, 917-829-0425

Contact: Community Works, 212-459-1854

NEW YORK — As part of the National Park Service’s Centennial celebrations this year, Federal Hall National Memorial will host the debut of an arts exhibit by Community Works. “harlem is… DOWNTOWN” features artwork and performances celebrating Harlem’s identity as a crucible for African-American arts, culture and community activism.

The exhibition will run February 8 through April 15. Following the exhibit at the national park site, “harlem is… DOWNTOWN” will be shown at other cultural institutions, either in its entirety or in its component parts, throughout the city. 

“Partnering with Community Works underscores the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service’s commitment to preserve and interpret our Nation’s historical and cultural foundations for future generations,” said Superintendent Shirley McKinney. “‘harlem is …DOWNTOWN’ artistically offers an understanding of multiple cultures within American society from Lower Manhattan to Harlem."

Community Works will bring together materials documenting Americans of African descents’ activism, theatrical contributions, musically and through dance by presenting original artwork and performances in Federal Hall. The exhibits and timeline will underscore the interplay between uptown (Harlem) and downtown (lower Manhattan) beginning circa 1625, when 11 enslaved African men first arrived in New Amsterdam, through the development of a unique African-American cultural scene to  the Harlem Renaissance in the early 20th century and up to the present. (The exhibit is dedicated to the eleven who arrived in 1625.)

The centerpiece will be a 30-foot timeline that traces Harlem’s cultural roots, to be displayed in the Rotunda. The timeline was developed in conjunction with the Schaumberg Center for Research in Black Culture. Profiles of 30 statesmen, artists and other activists will also be featured. Short films on Harlem’s history will begin at 11 A.M., 1 P.M. and 3 P.M. on weekdays.

Exhibits on the Lower Level will explore Harlem’s rich traditions in music and theater. The Balcony Level will highlight the work of artists in dance through photographs and the words of New York City school students. The work of children’s author and illustrator Bryan Collier, plus work by Harlem schoolchildren, will appear on the Upper Level. 

For more information about Community Works, email bh@communityworksnyc.org or call 212-459-1854.
 

About Federal Hall National Memorial

For 17 momentous months, from 1789 to 1790, the location of Federal Hall National Memorial was the seat of the United States federal government under the new Constitution. Moving into the former New York City Hall, Congress passed many of the founding laws of the nation and approved the Bill of Rights for ratification by the states. The 1883 statue of George Washington commemorates where our first president took the oath of office on April 30, 1789. The original building, torn down in 1812, was also the site of the trail and acquittal of printer John Peter Zenger in 1735 and the location where the Continental Congress passed the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, defined the process of creating new states. The current building, constructed in 1842 as the U.S. Customs House, is one of the architectural marvels of New York City.

About Community Works NYC

Community Works is an award-winning nonprofit arts organization dedicated to building bridges between diverse cultures and neighborhoods, enriching the arts curricula in public schools and bringing the arts to underserved populations. Founded by Barbara Horowitz, Community Works began as a small, grassroots organization in 1990. It is now active in every borough of New York City and has provided dynamic learning and cultural experiences to more than three million people. Community Works’ historical and artistic touring exhibitions celebrate neighborhood heroes, culture and history, highlight issues of social justice and feature the work of emerging and mid-career artists.

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Last updated: February 10, 2016

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