Artist talk by Dianne Smith


, , , , , , , ,

This video spotlights DianneSmith, a Central Harlem based artist, and her talk at Governor’s Island. Dianne discusses her paper installation that she did for the exhibition Loosely Coupled and the West Harlem Art Fund, curated by Savona Bailey-McClain. Her sculptural work has evolved where she repurposes everyday materials like butcher block paper.


Gallery Talk by Iliana Emilia Garcia

Last Sunday, the West Harlem Art Fund had two gallery talks with sisters Iliana and Scherezade Garcia at Governors Island. We had a good crowd for both talks. This pictures show Iliana giving her talk to friends and guests. Her photo installation Homeland deals with bridging her native home to her chosen home in New York City. A favorite installation by children, Iliana warmly discusses how she developed each shot that look aerial and how she used the beaches in her native home, the Dominican Republic to tell her story and her sometimes torn allegiances.

VIP Guest on Governors Island


, , , , , ,

Sylvia is our neighbor from next store. She belongs to the curators at Empire Art which is a great exhibition on vintage fashion and hats. She is so accustomed to us now that she comes over by herself and will sleep on our porch or crawl in the lap of one of the artists. Isn’t she lovely.




West Harlem Art Fund Showcases Exhibit on Governors Island — Press story


Works by Luke Schumacher and Colin Chase. (West Harlem Art Fund)

HARLEM—The name for the West Harlem Art Fund’s show at Governors Island  — “Loosely Coupled”— borrows a concept from the software world, according to the group’s executive director Savona Bailey-McClain.

“It’s a software term that means getting different elements to work together without overwhelming one another. In the exhibit, different artist’s styles compliment but not overwhelm one another,” said Bailey-McClain.

Now in its 13th year, the group assembled nine artists for the free exhibit that will be in the historic Nolan Park neighborhood through Sept. 25.

The Governors Island Art Fair exhibit displays the works of artists from all over the city, including Harlem, the Lower East Side and Brooklyn.

A stool made of leather trimmings by Dianne Smith. (West Harlem Art Fund)

“Often people think the art world is Midtown to lower Manhattan, the higher-end galleries. But artists don’t live there anymore. Artists live and fabricate their work in Williamsburg, Harlem and the Lower East Side,” said Bailey-McClain.

Artists such as Wayne Liu, originally from Taiwan, and sisters Iliana and Scherezade Garcia from the Dominican Republic, along with Luke Schumacher from South Dakota, and Dianne Smith from Harlem continue the diversity, which also extends to the style of work. Ceramics, sculpture, photography and paintings all co-exist.

“Our focus is on good quality art that’s accessible to the general public. Our primary goal is to connect with the public,” said Bailey-McClain.

Housed in a two-story, 14-room historic house that was built before the Civil War, the exhibit allows visitors to explore the home. They’ve even had visitors from the last military family to live in the house.

“We had people who came to see the house, but they got to experience the house and the art,” said Bailey-McClain.

The exhibit, at 17 Nolan Park on Governor’s Island, is open from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sundays through Sept. 25.

Read more:

City Arts — New York’s Review of Culture

West Harlem Art Fund at Governors Island

Posted by on August 30, 2011 ·  

By Staff

What better way to celebrate Hurricane Irene mercifully sparing New York City her wrath than taking an end-of-summer trip out to Governors Island? The best New York City day trip that you’re not taking, Governors Island comes to life every summer with art, music and just about anything else you could imagine.

Among the exhibits still on display (through Sept. 25) is West Harlem Art Fund’s Loosely Coupled, in historic Nolan Park. The 13-year-old West Harlem Art Fund has been having a stellar year this year, with exhibitions in Time Square during Armory week and now on Governors Island.

Loosely Coupled is a group exhibition of works from ethnically diverse artists Dianne Smith, Scherezade Garcia, Wayne Liu, Allen Anthony Hansen, Luke Schumacher, Colin Chase, Kurt Goodrich, Iliana Emilia Garcia and Peter Goldwater. Displayed together without a specific theme, the works are intended as complements to one another, according to West Harlem Art Fun’s Executive Director Savona Bailey-McClain. Don’t trick yourself into postponing a trip out to the Island with a month of the exhibit to go; grab your chance as soon as possible.

The exhibit is open Fridays


This weekend, The West Harlem Art Fund will host a “pop-up” film screening on Governors Island. What better way to enjoy a house but to watch movies. And these movies deal with the issues of home, memories and important places. These films are apart of a series called Upstairs inthe Basement. Read more about each individual work and the artist.

Films: “Upstairs in the Basement”: 

My maternal grandfather was a contractor and a kind of inventor and he built our two homes in Macon,GA.The first one burned to the ground as firemen and the Salvation Army watched from several yards away.  I only knew the 2nd house built in the early sixties.  It was a fascinating collage made of discarded materials from my grandfather’s job sites (he did decorative plaster work in both antebellum mansions and modern city buildings).  As a child, I was fascinated by the precarious ladder-pull attic where he kept his inventions and other antiquated curios. I had never seen a house with an attic. 

Granddaddy loved to tell humorous stories  and jokes but he also told bible and ghost stories.  An anecdote that he would laughingly recount (to my embarrassment) was the time we were in the attic and my mother was calling me from just below.  I yelled; “I’m with grandaddy– I’m Upstairs in the Basement!!” Telling this story would bring tears to his eyes.

The Maconhouse is in ruins now; our family home inNew Rochellewas sold after 40 years when my father died and my 1st apartment of my own was overtaken by developers and recently razed.  These 3 little films all have to do with movies, memories, spaces and lost or hidden images.

 Short Films

 “Leader Film (Civitella Ranieri)” (2009) video/digital animation w/Viet Le,Vladimir Pistalo & Shyam Selvadurai. Divertissement set in the Civitella Ranieri, a castle inItaly.  This “scrappy” short video emulates a reel of discarded outtakes used as film leader and filler when learning to edit.

The Lincoln Film Conspiracy Prologue (2007) 15 minute “trailer”. A multi-generic short film and multimedia installation that combines archival film footage, new video segments and digital image manipulation, collage and montage. Based on the history of African-American independent silent and sound cinema, LFC is the story of an archivist who is investigating the disappearance of a collection of technologically progressive black films (the imaginary Lincoln Film Company and a musical comedy subsidiary, Archina Co.). Did the films disintegrate or explode like many other nitrate films? Evidence of great heat was found in the vicinity of the studio’s site.  Conspiracy theories are outlined: Was there a government plot in conjunction withHollywood to destroy these “positive” movies leaving only denigrating images of black people? Or have the movies been Abducted by Aliens?

Giallo della Paine! (2011) 8m.  A “scary” montage of vanished spaces and of my garden, playfully using the visual tropes and aural cues of, 70’s, Hammer, British and Italian horror/thriller films. 

 Ina Archer — Artist

Ina was born in Paris,France. She earned a BFA in Film/Video from RISD and a MA, in Cinema Studies at NYU focusing on race, preservation, early sound cinema and technology.  Ina’s multimedia works/films have been shown, nationally including Cinema Project’s EXPANDED FRAMES: a celebration and examination of critical cinema inPortland,OR. and “Cinema Remixed and Reloaded: Black Women Artists and the Moving Image Since 1970”  at Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, GA. and The Contemporary Art Museum, Houston. Her awards include residences at Vermont Studio Center,  Blue  Mountain Centers and Civitella Ranieri inUmbria,  Italy. Ina was a Studio Artist in the Whitney Independent Study program, a NYFA multidisciplinary Fellow and a 2005 Creative Capital grantee in film and video, and 2010 nominee for the Anonymous Was A Woman award.  Ina is adjunct faculty in Foundation at Parsons The New School for Design. She is a longtime member of NY Women in Film and Television’s Women’s Film Preservation Fund and a board member of IMAP, The Independent Media Arts Preservation.  Ina’s film writing includes pieces for The NY African Film Festival, Framework, The Journal of Cinema and Media, and Black Camera and Film Comment. Ina Diane Archer was born in Paris,Franceand now lives & works inBrooklyn,NY. She is an adjunct professor at Parsons The New School for Design in the Foundation Program of the School of Design Strategies. Ina received a BFA in Film/Video from Rhode Island School of Design, a Certificate in Film Production from NYU-SCE, and a MA in Cinema Studies at NYU.  Prior to returning to school to pursue her interest in film history, preservation and archiving, Ina was a fellow at the Whitney Independent Study Program in 1996-97.

Our Sponsor Brickhouse Ceramic Art Center

Brickhouse Ceramic Art Center is located in Long Island City, Queens. The Center offers year round classes in wheel throwing, handbuilding, sculpture and glaze application for beginner, intermediate, advanced students and professional artists. The Center prides itself for offering high quality instruction and unique programming and visiting artist workshops.

Students have access to a fully equipped ceramic studio that contains electric potter’s wheels, slab rollers, extruders, a separate glaze laboratory, a spray booth, storage and lockers. And there is an Associate Artist Studio for advanced level students and clay artists who wish to work independently. 

The West Harlem Art Fund wishes to thank Brickhouse Ceramic Art Center for supporting our exhibition at Governors Island and recommending Peter Goldwater to us. Working with Peter has been a joy and we encourage folks to consider taking ceramics classes at Brickhouse.