On March 14 (Pi day!), we all traveled to Sugar Hill to see the construction site of the Sugar Hill Complex, which will provide affordable housing, a children’s museum, and an early education center for the neighborhood. We went inside the housing complex with our hard hats, passing through the dry walls and the sounds of construction to the early childhood center/teacher area, where teens will have their artwork shown alongside professional artists!
Seeing the space raised questions such as: what color the walls will be; the exact dimensions of the rooms; and, especially, which rooms will have what kind of art. Prior to visiting, when we met the artists, one wanted to make a sculpture, another a large scale painting! Afterwards, we discussed the role of a curator. Above all, we learned that they write, A LOT. They perform extensive research to provide literature about what’s on view including description panels and press releases. Curators also decide the theme and title of an exhibition–something we have yet to choose but have interesting ideas about. So far, we came up with Syrupy Sweet Dreams (Sueno Suave, from an excerpt from a Langston Hughes poem), Rise from the Concrete (from 2pac) and Renaissance/Gentrification?. We have yet to come up with a an exact theme, but the words education, hope and freedom circle around us.
I’m glad we went to visit the site. Seeing the space under construction, I imagined what it would be like when it is finished and filled with artwork, video and sculpture installations. Interestingly, going to Sugar Hill brought me flashbacks. I used to go there a lot, several years ago; but I didn’t even know it was called Sugar Hill. As far as the title goes, it’s hard to pick just one! All three relate to education, hope and freedom. The syrupy sweet dreams of success, rising from a concrete jungle, and the saucy renaissance/gentrification can raise eyebrows, on whether the gentrification of Harlem is the new renaissance.