§ The First Ever New York City Cultural Plan!

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It’s hard to imagine that a 400-year old city which has historically been a world mecca for culture and the arts has never actually thought about creating an actual cultural plan. Now’s a great time as cities and towns across the world have started to examine and promote their cultural assets and milieu. The task was correctly handed to the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs or DCLA as its known. Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl is the perfect leader for this task.

hesterstreetlogoThe Hester Street Collaborative won the contract with a team that includes James Lima Planning + Development, NOCD-NY, BJH Advisors, and House of Cakes Design. It is a massive effort working under a nearly impossible deadline but the city made a great choice. To keep up with the effort bookmark CreateNYC.

The plan public kickoff event was held in the Bronx at the Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture at Hostos Community College on October 25th. It was a rousing event and a lovely evening. As someone pretty new to NYC (1st anniversary will be December 19th) it was wonderful to see so many of the people in the NYC cultural world I’ve met during 2016 including Charlotte Cohen of the Brooklyn Arts Council, Wendy Feuer of NYC DOT, Jennifer Lantzas of NYC Parks, Susan Chin of the Design Trust for Public Space, and Shirley Levy and Tom Finkelpearl of DCLA.alicesheppard

The event was excellent and very well attended. As I mentioned to Betsy McLean of Hester Street and James Lima of James Lima Planning, it went off like clockwork. It started with a rousing hour of short speeches and beautiful performances – just long enough but not too long. While all the performers were wonderful, Alice Sheppard’s dance was my favorite.

After the performances, everybody stayed for the after event with various informational tables, food, and conversation. I got to make a number of new friends and learned more about the process. It was a tremendous start! Here are a few photos I took:

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FYI, the next big workshop events are in Queens,

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Come to an event! Through the spring of 2017 there will be borough-wide workshops, focus groups, round table discussions, and community-based meetings convened by local organizations. Keep up at Create NYC!

§ Street Art & Graffiti in Dumbo

Here is more Brooklyn street art and graffiti, but I’ve expanded my horizons to DUMBO. I went to Dumbo for one of the Open House NYC Oct 16 venues at Kings County Distillery in the Paymaster Building at the old Brooklyn Navy Yard. FYI: it’s a fun visit.

I went early so I could walk around Dumbo and decided to look for street art. I headed to a less visited area, more industrial and residential than Brooklyn hipster. Most of these are on John and Plymouth streets going north out of DUMBO.

Many of these are closer to graffiti than street art though I mostly ignore that distinction. There were a fair number of political-leaning images and some humorous and tongue-in-cheek. I’ll include a photo or two of the distillery too. Take a walk around Dumbo and check them out in person.

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§ The Fabulous Beverly McIver at the Betty Cunningham Gallery

Detail of a Beverly self-portraitBeverly McIver at Betty Cunningham Gallery

I can’t believe I waited so long to post on the Beverly McIver exhibition! (At least I did publish on Tumblr a few weeks ago!) But you only have a few days left: closing on October 15th.

Beverly McIver is a wonderful artist from Durham NC. She’s honest, fierce, compassionate, and talented. She’s an academic, a mentor, and a treasure in the Research Triangle Region. She’s also a really good human being.

Her talent is undeniable. I went by and chatted with her to hear about her new exhibit. She’s put together an amazing amount of fascinating and bold work in 2016. It’s hard to imagine how someone could create this much fabulous work in 9 months, but I think she was just in one of those places that artists get artists get: where something clicks. It can be something dramatic or tragic or beautiful. In this case I think it’s a joy. What a joy this show is!

As an aside, I met Betty Cuningham (another thrill) and she could not be nicer or a better gallery owner! Here’s a link for you for the McIver show: http://www.bettycuninghamgallery.com/exhibitions/beverly-mciver3.

Here are some of the pieces in the show.

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