Meet our Artist Faculty!
Please tell us of an artist, curator, activist, or project that has influenced you or inspired you?
When I think of meeting people where they’re at, I think of Nafisa Sharriff. Nafisa teaches a free West African Dance community class every Monday and Wednesday in Harlem that is family-friendly and that truly embraces people from all walks of life. The experience is an awesome example of how art can bring people together and it has been going strong for years.
Please tell us about a place in your neighborhood that is personally meaningful to you, and why?
My first experience of Harlem was a walk down 125th street. As a college intern visiting New York, I would go to 125th street to see the sights and pick up the things I could only get in Harlem. Now that I’ve lived in the neighborhood for 10 years, I still find myself taking walks to 125th street and spending a lot of my time there. Even though it has changed a lot over the years, it’s still on my list of “must sees” when I have family or friends visiting from out of town. You have the historical venues like the World Famous Apollo, the street vendors, the abandoned and worn buildings that were once vibrant businesses, recognizable chains like GAP and Old Navy, and construction on whats to come all on the same street. And there are so many stories behind it all. For me it represents the ever-changing face of the neighborhood as a whole.
What is your favorite book, film or song about NYC?
On of my favorite books about NYC is “Uptown” by Bryan Collier. It’s a book I bought for my son so that he could have something that tells a story of where he grew up from the perspective of someone that looks like him, but I think the poetic language and images can be appreciated by anyone.