History In Da Key Of G

Building a “Recovery for All of us”, is the intention of this transformative, intergenerational, collaborative engagement called “History In Da Key Of G”. Led by stage actress Cniambi Steele, this creative workshop, will equip participants with simple tools with which to empower themselves. Participants are encouraged to delve into their personal universe of the family, uncovering treasured memories. Participants utilize data they cull from history geography, and personal P.O.V. Music in a lively experience.

Make Some Noise!
Interactive Percussion Dance Workshops 
All are welcome to the series of interactive Percussion Dance Workshops. We will be using rhythmic steps, clapping, and an occasional shout out to explore sounds and create new dances or re-invent old ones. No previous experience required. No tap shoes required. Stop by and make some noise!

Each day we will be presenting the workshop twice–1:00-1:50 pm and 3:00-3:50 pm.

Sunday 10/3
Percussive Dancing to 1930’s Big Band music

Saturday 10/9
Making music with “stuff”–combining percussive dance steps with sounds made from every-day stuff–paper bags. spoons, household containers, etc.

Sunday 10/17
Percussive Dancing to 1950’s – 1960’s early rock and roll / rhythm and blues 

Workshop leaders Megan Haungs and Toes Tiranoff combine elements of jazz tap percussion, swing dance, vaudeville, comedy, and puppets in their shows. They have performed at LaMaMa E.T.C., Town Hall, NYU, Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park, Dixon Place and Bryant Park’s Piano in the Park. While touring the Pacific Northwest they performed in theaters and community centers and led dance workshops in Washington State, Oregon and Idaho. They were long time students of Chuck Green, the “Godfather of Tap” and were mentored by Buster Brown, who performed with Duke Ellington. Megan was a member of Frankie Manning’s “Wednesday Night Hoppers” and performed at the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of the City of New York. Toes was a member of Mama Lu Parks Jazz Dance Theater Company and tap danced at Carnegie Hall.

Intensive Natural Dye Workshop
September 18th & 19th, 2021
11am – 5 pm

Artist Gabriel Rodriguez will be offering natural dye workshops on Governors Island at The West Harlem Art Fund building situated in Nolan Park (Building 10B). The workshops will be open to the general public, no experience necessary. During the workshops participants will learn the basic techniques, materials, and processes of natural dyeing. They will each dye and leave with an organic cotton mesh shopping bag that will be provided to them. Alongside learning about the craft of natural dyeing I will impart the ethics, impacts, and philosophies of natural dyeing by touching upon subjects of sustainability, circularity, environmental consciousness, and material origins. The workshop will also take advantage of its location at Governors Island by getting to know the various dye plants that are being grown at Nolan Park. 

This FREE workshop is a great opportunity for NYC residents from different boroughs to gather and view the NYC environment as a shared place to care for. As we’ve become more aware of the growing strain on the environment we live in, my intention with the workshop is to not only share the pleasure of natural dyeing but also focus on the positive ecological impact we can make with our choices as citizens of this magnificent city. Offering this workshop at Nolan Park provides a Covid-19 safe environment with the ability to work outside in the open air. All materials will be included for the workshops. Some light snacks and refreshments will be provided.”

West Harlem Art Fund is pleased to present Elements, an exhibition that features up and coming artists in September to the public in the historic district of Nolan Park (Building 10B) on Governors Island.

Drawing inspiration from the Native American proverb, We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children, curator Savona Bailey-McClain, carefully selected artists for this show with a light touch. Nature is blended throughout the entire exhibition with paintings, digital mapping, sound, sculpture and design.

The artists are Sagarika Sundaram, Yi Hsuan Sung, Yalan Wen, Valerie Hallier, Michele Brody and mural artists Kraig Blue.

Hours are 12 pm — 4 pm by appointment only per Mayoral Executive Order. Please email to schedule time and share proof of vaccination.


This August, West Harlem Art Fund, Visual Muze Storytelling Residency and Katharine Pettit Creative present Uptown Pops — a dance series that will be performed in Nolan Park and Castle Williams on Governors Island. The works-in-progress are a part of a new interactive initiative designed to engage public audiences as they respond to developing dance.

Performance dates are August 15th and 22nd in Nolan Park with a special performance in Castle Williams on August 29th. Island visitors can see the works at 1 pm and 4 pm.

Special repeat performance on September 26th in Nolan Park.

Funding for UNTITLED GIRL NARRATIVE was made possible by a grant from City Artist Corps. Special thanks to National Park Service for permission of Castle Williams.



Friday, July 23, 2021 & JULY 30, 2021
6-9 pm

The West Harlem Art Fund is starting a FREE membership club for new collectors. Meet artists and talk with them about their practice. Sign up for gallery tours and art fairs. Meet art dealers, develop your own collecting style. Share your finds with other collectors in a relaxed environment.

Come on Governors Island to our exhibition space in Nolan Park, Building 10B (NP/10). Enjoy light salads. Hang out in our backyard, view sculptures or sit on our porch.

We hope to see you there!

May 1, 2021 — June 25, 2020
Gallery Exhibition and public art on Governors Island at NP/10 (Nolan Park, Building 10B)
Spring exhibition that features the artists Dario Mohr, Kraig Blue and Jannette Jwahir Hawkins. Outdoor sculptures feature Gilbert Boro, Michele Brody and Conrad Levenson.

Enjoy our audio We Are In Reach where you hear from the artists directly. Download the FREE app Otocast. It’s best to hear it on the island but you can hear it from afar. Many thanks to Eric and Otocast.


Outdoor classes on Governors Island at NP/10
May 22nd — Intro to Botanical Drawing
June 19th — Intro to Still Life Drawing
Two hour instructions; Reservation is required. Donation $35 (includes drawing pad and pencil set)

Purchase tickets here




Literary Reading with NY CLASSICAL THEATER

New York Classical Theatre in partnership with the West Harlem Art Fund presents a dramatic reading of Antíkoni adapted from Sophocles’ Antigone by Beth Piatote, directed by Jen Olivares at 12:00pm on Sunday, June 27, 2021.
In Antíkoni, Beth Piatote’s retelling of the Greek tragedy, Antigone, a Native American family is torn apart over the fate of ancestral remains held by a museum. As Kreon, the museum director, and Antíkoni, his fierce opponent, argue over the terms of repatriation, a chorus of Aunties comments on the conflict through mythic storytelling and gossip. Set in a museum and exploring contemporary struggles over human remains, the play sheds new light on the questions posed by the original: What do the living owe the dead? What are the limits of human laws in the face of eternal values? And what is the price of sacrifice?


December 18, 2020 — April 11, 2021
MEMORY OPUS I  (our 1st museum exhibit)
Presented at the Museum of the City of New York in New York Responds: The First Six Month — Museum of the City of New York, 1220 5th Ave, NY, NY 10029

Purchase Tickets Here

Memory Opus I is a sound work derived from COVID Diaries POC, an ongoing oral history project conceived by the West Harlem Art Fund and artist Nadia DeLane. Capturing the voices of people of color in quarantine, Memory Opus is a collection of poignant interviews touching on events surrounding the pandemic, identity and global calls for social justice. Music is by Caleigh Drane.


Curated by Linda Griggs & M. Charlene Stevens – University of Massachusetts Amherst Hampden Gallery

On view here: February 1 – May 14, 2021

CURRENT UNDERCURRENT is a visual conversation relating to current events such as COVID-19, gender (LGBTQIA+, masculinity) racial justice (Black Lives Matter), and climate change. The show addresses these issues through the shared anxiety of a divided nation and a partisan political climate. There are no clean divisions in these issues. COVID-19 and climate change have more devastating effects on Black and brown people. A California wildfire began with a gender reveal party’s pyrotechnics. Toxic masculinity has fed the anti-masker movement. The boundaries are permeable and the issues intersect and overlap.

Artists: Wide Awakes, Savona Bailey-McClain, Kimberly Becoat, Sanford Biggers, Linda Byrne, William Camargo, Renee Cox, Nadia DeLane, Patricia Fabricant, David Rios Ferrera, First Americans Art: Masked Heroes: Roberta Atabaigi; Doloros Gull; Pilar Agoyo, For Freedoms, David Frye, Allen Hansen, Rashid Johnson, Jamian Juliano-Villani, Lisa Levy, Pamela Longobardi, Steven Mallon, Christina Marsh, Jamie Martinez, Steve Mumford, Sherilyn Neidhardt, Shellyne Rodriques, Katarra Peterson, Duke Riley, Ricardo Robinson (La’Vender Freddy), Arlene Rush, Kathleen Vance, Jeff Vespa, West Harlem Art Fund, Adrian White, Avivia Rahmani & Dr. Jim White.

January 29, 2021
Artists of African & Mulatto Descent — 18th to 19th Century

Free Zoom event
11 am
See video here

A panel discussion led by Savona Bailey-McClain, Executive Director and Chief Curator of the West Harlem Art Fund. Joining McClain is William Keyse Rudolph, Ph.D, Deputy Director, Curatorial Affairs, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; Virginia Anderson, Ph.D., Curator of American Art, Baltimore Museum of Art; Paul H. D. Kaplan, Professor of Art History at Purchase College, SUNY, Daniel M. Fulco, Ph.D., Curator for the Museum of Fine Arts — Washington County and Philippe Halbert, Ph.D. candidate, Yale University.

This virtual discussion will spotlight the talents of seven mixed-race artists who lived and studied in either the United States or Europe. Panelists will discuss what influenced these people to become artists and what their impact on world politics entailed.

The artists are Prince Demah Barnes, Grayton Tyler Brown, Robert S Duncanson, Julien Hudson, Joshua Johnson, Mary Edmonia Lewis and Eugene Warburg.

First Lady Jill Biden selected artist Robert S. Duncanson and his work as the inaugural painting. See here.

February 16, 2021
Growing Rice: A Migration Story from Seed to Plate
8pm — Zoom event

Rice around the world is thought of as Asian. But rice is just as African as it is Asian. Oryza glaberrima was cultivated from wild rice that needed humans when the Sahara was drying. That knowledge fueled the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade where Africans were brought west.

Rice dominated the United States and particularly South Carolina for two hundred years by these African slaves. When Black culture migrated north, Harlem became its capital. A mecca where traditions could be preserved and human rights championed.

Spend an evening learning about rice with curator and historian Savona Bailey-McClain, culinary historian & author Michael Twitty, JJ Johnson, chef of the rice restaurant FieldTrip, and rice farmer Nfamara Badjie. Learn how the culture of rice has impacted Black culture as we trace its roots from Africa and the Caribbean to the American South.

Savona Bailey-Mcclain (Moderator)- historian & director of West Harlem Art Fund
JJ Johnson- chef and owner of FIELDTRIP in Harlem
Michael Twitty — a food writer, independent scholar, culinary historian, and historical interpreter
Nfamara Badjie- Gambian rice farmer & owner of Ever-Growing Family Farm 
Organization: MOFAD

Event Partners

Gullah food is one of the oldest world traditions being practiced in America today. It is about ancestral ties and American living, adaptability, and creativity.

2020 EVENT

Saturday, February 22, 2020

The year 2020 is very special. Four American centennials are being celebrated across the country. Yet there’s another centennial that is not American but has impacted this nation deeply. In 1920, the Mexican Revolution ended. The government was trying to figure out how best to unify the country after the war. What was decided — bring back an art tradition that dates before Columbus and for which the people loved. Murals have depicted everything from historical events such as wars to religious ceremonies like human sacrifices.

Mexican artists like Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros revitalized the Italian fresco style because it cemented their beautiful works with powerful messages, permanently in public spaces.

During the Depression, the Roosevelt Administration created the WPA and the Federal Arts Project to also unify this country. Our government wanted to show how it could positively impact our population and get them back to work.

Many famous artists like Jackson Pollack, Arshile Gorky, Mark Rothko and including African American greats like Jacob Lawrence, Charles White, Charles Alston, Aaron Douglas, Hale Woodruff, and Elizabeth Catlett participated.

This talk will elaborate on this special time at the Throckmorton Fine Arts Gallery in midtown and moderated by Savona Bailey-McClain, Executive Director & Chief Curator, West Harlem Art Fund.

Throckmorton Fine Arts Gallery
145 East 57th Street, 3rd Floor
New York NY 10022
3 p.m.

Saturday, February 1, 2020
A ROUNDED VIEW — Artist Talk with Dianne Smith and Kraig Blue on select works being shown at Master Drawings. Hear perspectives from artists of color on European art. Moderated by Savona Bailey-McClain, Executive Director of the West Harlem Art Fund.














Governors Island
Saturdays and Sundays
August 24th — October 27th, 2019
12 pm — 5 pm

The West Harlem Art Fund is pleased to present Crossing the Sands, a contemporary art exhibition with artists representing the Caribbean, Africa, and the Americas. Located in the historic district of Nolan Park on Governors Island, visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy both works of art and the venue which is an old military home completed in 1878.

Artists include: Jasmin Charles, Chioma Ebinama, Megan Gabrielle, Iliana Garcia, Scherezade Garcia, Juanita Lanzo and Dianne Smith.

This show is curated by Savona Bailey-McClain, Executive Director & Chief Curator of the West Harlem Art Fund.












Upcoming LIVE Talks/Podcasts & Events
October Schedule

LIVE Talk w/Film Premieres
Saturday, October 5th, 2019 @ 2pm

Nadia DeLane is a multimedia designer and visual storyteller working in installation, film, digital and fine art. DeLane has produced creative content for organizations and institutions including the School of Visual Arts, Parsons School of Design, Stone Lantern Films and Turnstone Productions.  She has consulted on several award-winning animated films and documentaries and her work has been featured in online publications such as AI-AP’s Design Arts Daily (DART).

DeLane’s documentary film, HOME, tells homegrown stories of first and second-generation Latin@, Caribbean, and West Indian Americans as they reveal truths about assimilation and American culture.

UTICA is an original film about thought. A community is in turmoil as its members sort through telepathic messages. A self-hating telepath must decide whether he will protect the public or safeguard his own mind.

Three Skeleton Key
Sunday, October 27th, 2019 @ 2pm

“Three Skeleton Key” is a short story by the French author Georges-Gustave Toudouze. The January 1937 edition of Esquire marked its first appearance in English. This suspenseful tale and “Leiningen Versus the Ants” were discovered by the magazine’s editor Arnold Gingrich.

Georges-G. Toudouze (1877-1972) was born in Paris, France. His father, Gustave Toudouze, was a well-known author of the time. The younger Toudouze wrote on such topics as art, architecture, travel and French naval history. Although he penned numerous adventure novels and short stories, he is today remembered for a single work: “Three Skeleton Key.”








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