The West Harlem Art Fund and Pratt Digital Arts are pleased to present the artists Rafia Santana, Charlie Reynoso, Dianne Smith and Debra Swack for the premiere of SYNCED for Under the Viaduct on Saturday, October 3rd. This exciting collaboration involved months of planning with the assistance of professors and students at Pratt. Special thanks goes to NYC Department of Transportation’s Weekend Walks program who helped secured permits to make this all happen, the Office of Councilman Levine and the Office of the Manhattan Borough President.
WEST HARLEM ART FUND
The West Harlem Art Fund, Inc. is a seventeen year old, public arts organization. WHAF offers exhibition opportunities for artists and creative professionals wishing to share their talent with residents uptown and around the city. The West Harlem Art Fund, Inc. showcases art and culture in open, public spaces to add aesthetic interest to our part of the city; promote historical and cultural heritage; and support community involvement in local development. Our heritage symbol is the double crocodile from West Africa which means unity in diversity.
PRATT DEPARTMENT OF DIGITAL ARTS (DDA)
Enjoying a history of artistic accomplishment since its founding as the department of Computer Graphics and Interactive Media (CGIM) in 1987, the Department of Digital Arts (also known as DDA) is one of the first degree-granting programs in the digital arts. Part of the program’s strength is attributed to its interdisciplinary relationship within Pratt’s School of Art.
DDA has established itself as one of world’s leading academic digital arts programs. The faculty is composed of distinguished professionals who have achieved wide recognition for their professional accomplishments. Both faculty and alumni have been historically represented and honored in major national and international galleries, festivals and conferences. Our students have been honored with student Academy and Emmy awards for their graduating theses, and DDA alumni have gone on to be exhibiting artists, technologists, and creative specialists working as leaders in their fields.
There are approximately 150 full-time undergraduate and 60 graduate students in the department. Over 30 faculty members including full-time professors, adjunct and visiting instructors comprise the Department of Digital Arts.
SAVONA BAILEY-MCCLAIN currently lives and works in New York City. She is an independent curator and producer. The range of McClain’s practice has included sculpture, drawings, performance, sound, and mixed media. McClain is the Executive Director & Chief Curator for The West Harlem Art Fund, Inc. a seventeen year old public art organization and curatorial collective serving neighborhoods around the City. Her public art installations have been seen in the New York Times, Art Daily, Artnet, Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post among others. McClain has installed works in Times Square, DUMBO, Soho, Governors Island and Harlem. Noted works include The H in Harlem, Counting Sheep, Story Piles, East River Flows and Loosely Coupled. McClain is now developing new digital installations and location-based interventions using a tour platform.
McClain is a member of Independent Curators International and Arttable.
PETER PATCHEN is the Chair of the Department of Digital Arts at Pratt Institute and a digital artist exhibiting and lecturing nationally and internationally. After graduating from the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs he earned a Masters of Fine Art from the University of Oregon in Eugene Oregon. In 1993, he founded the New Media program at the University of Toledo. Currently, he maintains a studio in the Red Hook area of Brooklyn with recent exhibitions at Central Booking in New York City and the Louvre in Paris.
Interdisciplinary artist CARLA GANNIS is based in Brooklyn, NY, where she serves asAssistant Chair and faculty in the Department of Digital Arts at Pratt Institute. A recipient of several awards, including a New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Grant in Computer Arts, Gannis has been exhibiting her work in solo and group exhibitions, both nationally and internationally, since the late 1990s. Features on her work have appeared in ARTnews, The Creators Project, The Huffington Post, Wired, Buzzfeed, FastCo, Hyperallergic, Art F City, Art Critical, The Wallstreet Journal, The New York Times and The LA Times, among others.
I’m a multimedia artist whose work centers around mental health and reaffirming my identity & existence on earth. As a small black woman I am persistently misunderstood and underestimated so I make images prominently featuring myself, digitally altered, often in grotesque ways to express my discomfort & struggles with depression, anxiety, and racism. Along with visual art I create music and digital soundscapes.
Charlie Reynoso is a native New Yorker, born in Washington Heights and currently residing in Inwood. Raised in New York, hip hop culture and the urban environment had a huge influence on Reynoso’s love for art. He began drawing in school notebooks as a kid and overtime developed as a graffiti artist and photographer. Today, Reynoso works with I Love My Hood, a collective of artists, supporting and implementing public art that engages local communities and encourages them to take pride in their hood.
Smith’s career as an abstract painter, sculptor, installation artist, art’s educator and Cultural worker spans over 17 years. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions both nationally and internationally.
Her solo and group exhibitions include Surface and Soul, 2012, Piedmont Art Center, Martinsville, Virginia, Connections, 2012, Art Basel, Miami, No Limits, 2013, at The Harrison Museum of African American Culture, Roanoke Virginia, and a group exhibition in Berlin, Germany at the Atelierhof Kreuzberg entitled Transformers Coiled Potentials, 2012. She is also known for her public art installations such as, Gumboot Juba, 2011, Armory Week, New York City, Organic Abstract, 2013, the New York City Parks Department, Armory Week and Bartow Pell Mansion as well as, the Andrew Freedman Houses, Bronx, New York.
In 2007, the historical Abyssinian Baptist Church commissioned Smith to create the artwork commemorating their 2008 Bicentennial. She was also featured in the 2007 Boondoggle Film Documentary Colored Frames. The film took a look back at fifty years in African-American Art. In addition, she co-produced an online radio show the New Palette, for WPS1 ArtonAir.org dedicated to visual artists of color. Her work is in the private collections of Danny Simmons, Rev. and Mrs. Calvin O. Butts, III, Cicely Tyson, George Faison, Arthur Mitchell, Terry McMillian and the late Dr. Maya Angelou.
Smith attended the Otis Parsons School of Design, the Fashion Institute of Technology, and LaGuardia High School of Music and Art. She received her MFA from Transart Institute in Berlin, Germany.
Debra Swack is a writer, software developer and new media and sound artist with degrees in art and computer science. While working for PolyGram Records/Universal Music Group in the early 90s as a Phi Theta Kappa in computer science, she began exhibiting new media art at Xerox Parc which was a cuttting edge place for technology based creativity visited controversially in 1979 by Steve Jobs of Apple fame.
She is mentioned in “Art and Innovation at Xerox Parc” published in 1999 by MIT Press. Affiliated with Rhizome at the New Museum, she particpated in XFR STN in August 2013, an artist-centered media archiving project. Her work has been presented at the 2011 Re-New Digital Arts Festival in Copenhagen, Virtual Public Art Exhibit/ the Philadelphia Festival of the Arts, Robots and Representation at Purdue University, Post Human/Future Tense at Columbia College, 25th Anniversary at Xerox Parc, Real Art Ways (Sol LeWitt Collection), Soundlab VII in Cologne, Digital Arts and Culture at the University of California, White Box Gallery, Sonic Fragments at Princeton University, Tomorrow at New York Hall of Science (curated by Anne Barlow of the New Museum), Gun Show at Aaron Packer Gallery in Chicago, Voices I at University of Illinois in Chicago, Northern Illinois University Museum, the Beecher Center for Arts and Technology and the Genomics Center in Amsterdam (Kloone4000) and Vancouver (Allegories of the Genome).
She has received three co-production grant from Banff Centre for the Arts: Carousel (2002), 95 Chimes (2005), Digital Maze Symmetry Project (2008) and was awarded a Summer Artist Institute Residency by Creative Capital/Lower Manhattan Cultural Council in May 2012.
Currently, she is working on an interactive installation “Cloud Room (Cloud Mapping Project)” that will be presented at the Transdisciplinary Conference on “Cloud and Molecular Aesthetics” sponsored by Leonardo Electronic Almanac/MIT Press at the Pera Museum in Istanbul in June 2014 followed by research as a Visting Artist at the American Academy in Rome in June/July 2014.
Her most recent article on “the Emotions (after Charles Darwin)”; an interactive project on the universality of emotions on a biological level done collaboratively with international neuroscientists (including the Brain Mind Institute in Switzerland to help them with their research in autism) regardless of cultural classifications such as race or gender was just published in Leonardo Electronic Almanac/ MIT Without Sin: Taboo and Freedom within Digital Media.
She is currently working with several arts organizations in Sweden as a Fulbright Specialist, collaborating with Google and several tech startup groups and is also employed as an Education Specialist for the SUNY Research Foundation where she does software testing and technical writing.