Photo Credit: Lev Radin

Independent curator Savona Bailey-McClain will join artists from around the City to create installations in gardens throughout East Harlem, beginning this fall. According to McClain, “I am very excited about the new art scene that’s developing uptown. Harlem is now offering artists and curators a place where they can explore global issues on a large scale that are very complex and beg for understanding”.

McClain also believes that the arts must cross racial, economic and geographic lines in order to grow. Collaborating with other artists, designers and curators can help generate some of the solutions we are seeking in this country. As a woman of color, she feels this is immensely important. McClain has been asked to curate through a narrow lens, though she never bowed down to that pressure. She has always worked with artists of different backgrounds and race. The series Play (LABS) would validate her creative vision which encourages meaningful alliances across neighborhoods and boroughs without any demands.

“I fell into public art fifteen years ago because I moved to Harlem and wanted to engage my neighbors in the arts. It was difficult getting anyone to come with me to a museum or gallery and so I thought if I brought the arts to my neighbors, they wouldn’t be intimidated but be inspired”. McClain has produced several works around the City. Her practice has included sculpture, drawings, performance, sound, and mixed media. Installations have been seen in the New York Times, Art Daily, Artnet Magazine, Los Angeles Times, DNAinfo, among others.

She found a kindred spirit with artist Badder Israel. She asked him to take a leap of faith with her and visualize new possibilities. Both realize that New York’s real estate has become too expensive for most artists to fabricate. And because creative professionals have to concern themselves with keeping a roof over their heads and making it day to day, important dialogues don’t take place. Artists and curators are fighting for basics and politically that can put you at odds with your neighbors when resources are scarce.

Executive Director & Chief Curator for the West Harlem Art Fund further shared, “We are thrilled to be working with NYRP and the “Art Kartel”. Open spaces are so important in urban places. To add creativity and room for exploration will help spark the innovation we are looking to stir in this country”.


BADDER ISRAEL “Art Kartel” was born and raised in Puebla, Mexico. Israel was born into Mexico’s graffiti scene. His dad is the legendary old-school graffiti artist, Mosh. Israel began to graffiti professionally when he was 15 years old. His dad used to own a graffiti store where Israel helped out. His dad was also the one that coordinated the Graffiti Expo in Mexico where the elite of the elite would show up and put it down for their crew and country that they were representing. Later on, the artist name Badder was given to Israel after paying his dues in the street scene. Badder is now 27 years old and lives in Brooklyn, New York. Badder’s historical graffiti pieces have given him a name in New York since his roots are represented through his artwork. Since his move to New York, Badder has mastered many different skills including air brushing and tattooing. Badder is tattooing more than ever but still has a crew based out of Brooklyn, New York.

The official members of *”The Art Kartel”* provide a home base for all freedoms of expression. Live canvas painting, live body painting, live tattooing, live graffiti art, finger nail art, make-up shows, to classic black book battles and dance are just some of the creative activities the founding members have nurtured through this unique outlet. All backed by resident and celebrity guest DJ’s bridging all cultural, traditional & non-traditional musical gaps and supplying our fans with no limited concept of conventional space or time. Basically in a nutshell, *”The Art Kartel”* has become an escape for artist, art fans & party goers from the hustle and bustle of boxed-in city life & the working man(s)/woman(s) regular 9-5 work schedule, and if that wasn’t enough, it’s all topped off with the most delicious & tasty BBQ delicious and tasty bits catered by our partner & celebrity chef “Hood Chef” along with his company & team *”4 fun.”*

Past Works


baddder grafitti

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