“Harlem boasts some of the city’s most stellar arts organizations and artists, individuals and entities that are, in today’s economic climate, struggling to secure and maintain needed support,” said Voza Rivers, Chairman, HARLEM Arts Alliance. “The Harlem Arts Summit is being held to shine the light on the treasures in our midst and to help them secure and sustain the crucial resources needed to continue their missions.”
Glover received the HAA Humanitarian Award at the kickoff event on Monday and delivered an address about the importance of arts and culture to the health and vitality of communities of color in New York and around the world. "Art can be many things,” Glover said. “It can be a tool that brings us to action."
“It's important that we provide a platform for the next generation,” said Higginsen, of the Mama Foundation, who received HAA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. “I pledge to continue the work that will allow these young people to express their God-given talents."
Pioneering producer, presenter and arts consultant Mikki Shepard of the Apollo Theater Foundation, who received HAA’s 2012 Arts Leadership Award, reflected on Harlem's unique contributions to the arts and on the fact that she was being honored in the very hall (Aaron Davis Hall) in which she began her career decades ago as a presenter.
The event also included the presentation of the HAA Business Leadership Award to FrEd Powell of Barbara’s Flowers.
The launch featured remarks by Rivers and Lloyd Williams as well as speeches by Kenneth J. Knuckles, Esq., CEO of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation; Lisa Robb, executive director, New State Council on the Arts; and Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad, director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.
The Harlem Arts Summit is bringing together an exciting array of events showcasing Uptown arts institutions. Highlights include an opening reception hosted by The City College of New York at Aaron Davis Hall, 135th Street and Convent Avenue, the evening of Monday October 1, directly followed by “A Conversation with Harlem Arts Leaders: Today’s Challenge, Tomorrow’s Promise.” Noted actress and Harlem resident Tamara Tunie (Law and Order SVU) introduced the discussion, which featured Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Artistic Director Virginia Johnson; Harlem School of the Arts President and CEO Yvette L. Campbell; and Patricia Cruz, executive director Harlem Stage/The Gatehouse. The panel was moderated by Marcia Sells, associate dean, Columbia University.
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, 515 Malcolm X Boulevard, opens its doors on Tuesday October 2 for two events. At 12 noon, hosts a screening of excerpts from the film The Savoy King: Chick Webb and the Music that Changed America. This cinematic work turns the spotlight on the Savoy Ballroom, home of the amazing Lindy Hop dancers, and the first venue in America where Blacks and Whites could dance and socialize together. The film focuses on band leader and drummer Chick Webb, who led the Savoy Ballroom’s house band; Webb virtually invented modern drumming and built the hottest band of the 1930’s. The film’s executive producer, Voza Rivers, will lead a discussion with Jeff Kaufman, producer/director of The Savoy King; Dr. Richard Gale, son of Moe Gale, owner of the Savoy Ballroom; Gertrude Jeannette, actress; Norma Miller, swing dance master; and special guests. At 6 p.m., the Schomburg will hold an open house in partnership with HARLEM Arts Alliance. Schomburg Director Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad will welcome attendees preceding an open forum and discussion entitled, “The Next Generation of Voices,” a discussion featuring international journalist and playwright Esther Armah, jazz journalist and producer Greg Thomas, and others.
Harlem’s emerging role as a film and technology center will be discussed at a luncheon at Manhattan Neighborhood Network’s new El Barrio Firehouse Community Media Center, 175 East 104th Street, on Wednesday, October 3. The luncheon will begin at 12:30 p.m. and will be hosted by Iris Morales, the center’s director, and feature a talk by Alyce Myatt, Director, Media Arts, of the National Endowment for the Arts. The panel discussion will be moderated by Jackie Glover, Vice President of Documentary Films, HBO, and feature representatives of Harlem’s film and media community including Marcia Smith, Firelight Media, Moikgantsi Kgama, ImageNation, Leslie Fields-Cruz, National Black Programming Consortium, Taneshia Nash Laird, My Image Studios Harlem (MIST Harlem) and Morales.
The Studio Museum in Harlem, 144 West 125thStreet, will host a conversation with two exceptional leaders of Harlem world renowned arts institutions. Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad, director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and Thelma Golden, director and chief curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem, will come together to discuss the issues that frame today’s environment for arts and culture in Harlem.
Photo credit: Imagez of Us
Noelle Higginsen and EVy Higginsen
Evy Higgensen and Voza Rivers
Dr. Lisa Staiano-Coico, Danny Glover, and Geoffrey E. Eaton