We are delighted to welcome Sophie Henderson to our Board of Directors! Sophie has been a long-time supporter of The Laundromat Project, most recently as a member of our Catalyst Circle. Read on to learn a bit more about Sophie.
You’ve been a supporter of The LP for years. What excited you most about joining The LP’s board?
The tangible impact of The LP’s activities is powerful to experience, from the artists whose lives and practices are so positively changed after working with The LP, to the visitors and viewers who engage with LP projects in their own communities, and I am really excited to have the chance to expand my role in supporting this incredible organization in this new role as a board member. I’ve had the most energizing and engaging conversations with members of The LP family at events and programs, and am always inspired by the stories I hear—from the child whose life and life interests have been changed by participating in workshops, to the Laundromat owner who feels a renewed sense of connection and commitment to his neighborhood, to artists who have found new direction and inspiration in their work after being part of an LP project. Many art and community projects strive to make these sorts of connections, but it’s not easy, which makes the scope and depth of The LP’s reach all the more important. The organization’s impact is genuine and tangible, and it is a joy to experience.
You’ve worked as as a consultant with many arts organizations, focusing on development, strategic planning, and much more. Can you tell us about an organization or project that was a particular highlight of your work?
I have been fortunate to work with many organizations, large and small from across the US through my work, and it has been a privilege to support the varied missions and programs of each. What stands out are the moments of genuine impact, sometimes for a single person and sometimes for a whole community, and it’s always a pleasure to see how the larger ecosystem that is the arts—individual artists, their work, the organizations that present work, public audiences, patrons and supporters, educators, and on and on—can be transformed through engagement with the arts. When a new building opens and can offer more programs in its community—from the Museum of Arts and Design in New York to The Nelson-Atkins in Kansas City; when visitors flock to inspiring exhibitions and related programs—from major, nationally-touring exhibitions like Retratos: 2,000 Years of Latin American Portraiture to more intimate, single-venue presentations like Penelope Umbrico: Shallow Sun at The Aldrich; when an artist finds a community that opens up new opportunities to present their work and collaborate with friends—like any of the Creative Capital grantees—these are all moments that I am proud to be part of through my work.
What’s The LP value that keeps you engaged in our work?
So many of The LP values keep me engaged, and they all speak to the power and the reach of The LP for its artists, its communities, and its varied audiences. I believe deeply in the power of the arts to inspire, educate and catalyze change, for everyone who engages with art and with artists, as a casual observer or a passionate practitioner. Artists are indeed unique connectors who open up avenues of understanding between people and ideas—Creative Catalyst—and whose work can collaboratively engage and unite people—Neighborly. This work strengthens us individually and collectively, inspiring us all to greater heights and strengthening the fabric of our communities. The LP’s work is at the center of these efforts, and the tangible impact is powerful and inspiring.
What is your neighborhood? What’s your favorite thing about it?
I’ve lived in Morningside Heights for more than 20 years, and spend a lot of time in and around Harlem. These two neighborhoods have transformed since I have been here, and are now filled with so many exciting spaces—residential, commercial, public and everything in between. NYC really is a city of neighborhoods and it’s been amazing to watch and be part of all the changes in this area.
What have you been reading lately?
I’m just finishing Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan quartet, and I have Paul Beatty’s The Sellout next on my list, which I can’t wait to read!
Where do you do your laundry?
Polanco & Sons on Amsterdam and 107th—they are a wonderful and exuberant family, and their laundromat is in integral part of our neighborhood.