AT ARTCRAWL HARLEM “BOUNDARIES & CONNECTIONS” ART HOUSE

Artist Michael Coppage will debut his community impact project entitled Black Box” on Governors Island as part of ArtCrawl Harlem’s 2022 Boundaries & Connections Residency House at 406B Colonels Row from Saturday, July 23 – Sunday, August 21, 2022. “Black Box is an engagement platform aimed at making black women and men accessible beyond the workplace and play space in an effort to facilitate authentic social and cultural connections.  The interactive installation exploring implicit biases will consists of large scale “Black Box ” Banners measuring 7ft that will be installed on the exterior facade of the ArtCrawl Harlem house in combination with an interior installation with a multi-channel audio experience sharing the perspective of black men and women ages 12-93.

The flat two-dimensional images serve as a proxy for “real” people to establish and promote healthy boundaries and connections.  There is no physicality, just a group of images, videos and warm therapeutic voices. The project is designed to be a juxtaposition of the uncomfortable interpersonal physical experience of being black in a non-black space.  Simultaneously, making connections to American enculturation and how citizens learn about BLACK in their youth and its social impact on adults categorized as BLACK.  Black Box participants are invited to offer first-hand accounts without interruption, dismissal, contention, minimization and/or comparison, Black Box is a listening tool where viewers are invited to absorb information, share personal experiences and begin conversations.  Artist Michael Coppage notes that “Small incremental changes surrounding language can lead to huge transformative cultural shifts. Ultimately the goal is to demystify, understand and connect through discourse.” 

On Saturday July 23rd at 1:00PM and 3:00PM ArtCrawl Harlem will host “Black Box” Artist Talks with Michael Coppage and facilitated by Arts and Culture Writer, Jewels Dodson.  The Artist Talk will feature the “Black Box” 26 episode podcast housing complete interviews of each of the participants, their perspectives, beliefs, barriers, and experience living in the United States.

Black Box at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts Exhibit

On Saturday, July 30 at 1:00PM and 3:00PM Filmmaker and Abstract Artists, Heather Williams will debut her short film Safe Passage III within the Black Box exhibit space.  The film is a meditation on the journey for a way forward toward safety, freedom, and humanity when paths are obscured. Heather began production on Safe Passage with her young sons in mind Heather Williams asking herself; “Is there a safe passage for the black body?” Filming began during the Covid Pandemic and Black Lives Matter Movement Protests following the death of George Floyd. Witness sculptures cast in clay, crafted by Heather Williams represent Black ancestors, bearing witness, and watching over will be on exhibit as well. Heather Williams notes; “The past haunts the present and the future remains wavering and uncertain.” 

The “Black Box” installation has appeared in Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New York, Puerto Rico, Kentucky, West Virginia and Tennessee.  Michael Coppage aims to tour the installation to all 50 states.

ArtCrawl Harlem Boundaries and Connections Art House is open to the public through October 2022 on Saturday and Sunday 12 noon – 5:00pm.

Plan your visit to Governors Island   

For ferry reservations:  https://www.nps.gov/gois/index.htm

For additional information on Art Crawl Harlem, please visit: www.artcrawlharlem.org 

ABOUT ARTCRAWL HARLEM

ArtCrawl Harlem was founded in 2008 as Harlem’s first trolley car guided art tour and later incorporated as an educational non-profit art gallery tour in 2016. ArtCrawl Harlem’s mission is to support and promote Harlem’s creative community and historical legacy through dynamic arts, cultural programs, and educational initiatives.

ArtCrawl Harlem promotes the exposure of professional and emerging artists, Harlem art galleries and cultural institutions.  The aim is to elevate Harlem on the greater metropolitan cultural map, while providing both education and quality experiences to visitors, tourists, and members of the community.

MICHAEL COPPAGE

Michael Coppage is a conceptual artist using an interdisciplinary, dialectical approach to address social issues surrounding race and language. Originally from Chicago, He has lived and worked in Cincinnati since 2007. Coppage earned a B.F.A in Sculpture from Memphis College of Art and an M.F.A in Studio Art from The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Coppage is the recipient of Artswave’s Truth and Reconciliation grant, Ohio Pretrial Justice grant, and Awesome Foundation grants in New York and Philadelphia. He completed a TEDx Talk titled “Everybody’s Racist….and it’s O.K” and he gained national attention with his recent project “BLACK BOX”: a community impact project aimed at demystifying black men and creating authentic experiences that replaces bias and preconceived notions related to the term “Black” This series was exhibited around the country and in Puerto Rico at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, 21c Museum Hotel and the Ohio Arts Council’s Riffe Gallery to name a few. Coppage has gained some attention recently with a body of work entitled “American+” after depicting white Americans as monkeys in his paintings. He has several collaborative pieces set for completion this year and also released a podcast on Spotify appropriately titled Black Box as part of his recent series.

JEWELS DODSON

Jewels Dodson is an arts and culture writer and producer. She started career writing and editing for Mass Appeal and Complex magazines. She became a content producer for the digital site The BHOLDR, which featured video content of today’s most relevant contemporary artists. She was a producer on the storied live daily arts & culture program The Leonard Lopate Show, on WNYC. She travels around the country covering contemporary art. Her work can be found in JUXTAPOZ, ART News, Artsy, and the New York Times. Most recently she has been named the editor of lifestyle platform Gallerie 88. She lives in New York City where she hustles and people watch, regularly garnering new perspectives that eventually inform her work.

HEATHER WILLIAMS

Heather Williams was born in St. Croix US Virgin Islands and raised in Brooklyn, NY. She was always interested in becoming an artist but her parents who were first generation from Trinidad and Grenada encouraged her to find a job.  She followed their advice and studied finance in undergrad but ultimately changed careers to become an Art Therapist.  She worked with the domestic violence population for over ten years providing group and individual therapy.  Later, she became a mother and a certified Montessori Primary teacher.  After several years of teaching, she resigned and returned to grad school, this time to fulfill her dream of focusing on her art.  

Heather earned a Masters in Fine Art from the School of Visual Arts in 2020 at the height of the pandemic.  She has been awarded the Paula Rhodes memorial award for exceptional achievement in MFA Art Practice. Her short film, Safe Passage was awarded honorable mention at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago. She has also been awarded residencies at EILEEN S. KAMINSKY FAMILY FOUNDATION (ESKFF) at Mana Contemporary, ArtCrawl Harlem at Governors Island, NY and a Sustainable Arts Fellowship at Gallery Aferro, NJ. She has exhibited in many group exhibitions including Peel off the Surface, Tribeca Loft, and solo shows Damage and Repair at Akwaaba Gallery and Protective Spirits at The Bridge Art Gallery.  Her sculptures and abstract paintings are in many private collections.