For Immediate Release:                                Contact:
Tuesday, April 7, 2008                                 Charles Walker
                                                                        (212) 410-0030
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EMPOWERMENT ZONE AWARDS HARLEM’S STUDIO MUSEUM A MULTI-YEAR GRANT

   

New York, NY - - Today, Kenneth J. Knuckles, President & CEO of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corp. (UMEZ) and Maurine Knighton, the organization’s Senior Vice-President for Program and Non-Profit Investments, announced that UMEZ has awarded the historic Studio Museum in Harlem (Studio Museum) a $1.7 million multi-year grant. This grant will be used to support institutional stabilization by funding personnel, consultants, equipment, market research, product development and licensing.

Mr. Knuckles said, “Our grant to the Studio Museum in Harlem will help to fulfill our vision of enhancing 125th Street’s unique character as Harlem’s Main Street.  Additionally, this grant will help the Museum to strengthen its operations, in turn helping it enhance 125th Street’s stature as a premier arts, culture and entertainment destination.

        For forty years, t
he Studio Museum, located in the heart of 125th Street, has dedicated itself to exhibiting, collecting and interpreting visual art by African American artists and artists of African descent worldwide. The museum has played a historic role in addressing the lack of opportunities for black artists; consistently captured the imagination of the public and the press with groundbreaking exhibitions and programs; acted as the standard-bearer for a new generation of multi-cultural arts institutions; and spurred the culturally-driven economy that has been a major factor in the current revitalization of Harlem.  Today the museum is an internationally recognized venue for artists of African descent and a vital resource for the community.  Over 10,000 people a year attend Studio Museum lectures, gallery talks, symposia, workshops, and performances.

            “Since 1968, the Studio Museum in Harlem has been a bellwether for identifying, supporting, and promoting the work of important contemporary visual artists from throughout the African diaspora,” said Ms. Knighton. “Moreover, through its collections, exhibitions, workshops and special events, the Studio Museum has helped to educate and enlighten visitors from around the corner, around the country and around the globe.”  This investment aligns with our intention to strengthen the local cultural ecosystem as a means for revitalizing Upper Manhattan’s economy.

 “We are proud to be the recipients of UMEZ’s generous support, which will immeasurably expand our ability to serve our community and our greater public,” says Thelma Golden, Studio Museum director and chief curator. ”Not only will this grant allow the Museum to greatly enhance our programs, it will also allow the Studio Museum to continue its legacy of supporting the work of artists of African descent and presenting artwork to the Harlem community.”

 

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ABOUT THE Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone  DEVELOPMENT CORP.

 UMEZ seeks to revitalize distressed communities by using geographically targeted public funds and tax incentives as catalysts for private investment. In Upper Manhattan, the communities that lie within the Empowerment Zone's borders include Harlem, East Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood.

 

 

ABOUT THE CULTURAL INDUSTRY INVESTMENT FUND

 UMEZ’s CIIF celebrates Upper Manhattan’s rich past while creating new legacies.  The work of the CIIF is two-fold:  community building through a cultural and economic lens; and, a marketing of place that repositions Upper Manhattan as one of New York City’s primary cultural districts.  The goals of the CIIF are sustaining the local economy by promoting development, revitalization and tourism; making strategic cultural investments; and, strengthening the cultural ecosystem.

 The CIIF provides support to cultural organizations that use the arts as a tool for economic development, job creation and growth of cultural tourism, within the five communities of Upper Manhattan.  Primary means of support include funding and provision of technical assistance.

 

ABOUT THE STUDIO MUSEUM IN HARLEM

The Studio Museum in Harlem is a contemporary art museum that focuses on the work of artists of African descent locally, nationally and globally, as well as work that has been inspired and influenced by African-American culture, through its exhibitions, Artist-in-Residence program, education and public programming, permanent collection and archival and research facilities.

The Studio Museum in Harlem is committed to serving as a unique resource in the local community, and in national and international arenas, by making artworks and exhibitions concrete and personal for each viewer. The Museum provides a context within which to address the contemporary and historical issues presented through art by artists of African descent.

Since 1968, the Studio Museum has earned recognition for its catalytic role in promoting the works of artists of African descent. The Museum's Artist-in-Residence program has supported over ninety graduates who have gone on to highly regarded careers. A wide variety of education and public programs have brought the African-American experience alive for the public by means of lectures, dialogues, panel discussions and performances, as well as interpretive programs, both on- and off-site, for students and teachers. The exhibitions program has also expanded the scope of art historical literature through the production of scholarly catalogues, brochures and pamphlets.

The Studio Museum's permanent collection contains over 1,700 works, including drawings, pastels, prints, photographs, mixed-media works and installations. It is comprised of works created by artists during their residencies, as well as pieces given to the Museum to create an art-historical framework for artists of African descent. Featured in the collection are Terry Adkins, Romare Bearden, Robert Colescott, Melvin Edwards, David Hammons, Richard Hunt, Lois Mailou Jones, Jacob Lawrence, Norman Lewis, Julie Mehretu, Senga Nengudi, Chris Ofili, Martin Puryear, Betye Saar, Nari Ward and Hale Woodruff, among others. The Museum also is the custodian of an extensive archive of the work of photographer James VanDerZee, the quintessential chronicler of the Harlem community from 1906 to 1984.

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