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The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced three new Civic Practice Partnership Artists in Residence: Alethea Pace, a multidisciplinary artist working in the Bronx; Brooklyn Hi-Art Machine, a community-based public art collective in Crown Heights, Brooklyn; and OlaRonke Akinmowo, an interdisciplinary artist and creator of The Free Black Women’s Library working in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. The two-year residency program begins January 1, 2023, and ends December 31, 2024.
Launched in 2017 as part of The Met’s Civic Practice Project, the Civic Practice Partnership is a collaborative residency program for artists who are socially minded in their practice and will implement creative projects in their own neighborhoods across New York City. These dynamic artists will develop their ambitious projects over the next two years while engaging with works of art in The Met collection and also participating in Met programs. Alumni of the Civic Practice Partnership program include Rashida Bumbray, Miguel Luciano, Jon Gray of Ghetto Gastro, Mei Lum and the W.O.W. Project, and Toshi Reagon.
The Civic Practice Project is made possible by The William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust.
Max Hollein, Marina Kellen French Director of the Museum, remarked: “I am delighted to welcome OlaRonke Akinmowo, Brooklyn Hi-Art Machine, and Alethea Pace to The Met’s Civic Practice Partnership program. These inspiring artists address critical issues through creativity, and I look forward to seeing their respective projects unfold over the coming months.”
The 2023-2025 Civic Practice Partnership Artists in Residence
Alethea Pace is a Bronx-based multidisciplinary choreographer and performer. A recipient of the 2021 Dance Magazine Harkness Promise Award, she presented her most recent work, Here goes the neighborhood…, at Works and Process at the Guggenheim; the work premiered at BAAD! with support from the Bronx Council on the Arts, the BAAD! Muse Residency, and Angela’s Pulse. Her work has also been presented at the Bronx Museum, Pregones Theater, Dancing While Black, Danspace Project, New York Live Arts, and 92Y. Pace trained at Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center in the Bronx and received her BA in Urban Design from New York University and an MFA in Digital and Interdisciplinary Arts from the City College of New York.
Brooklyn Hi-Art Machine (BHAM) is a community-based public art project founded in 2010 by Mildred Beltre and Oasa DuVerney. BHAM is based in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and creates art for and with its neighbors—for example, a self-published booklet that simplifies New York State’s tenant rights through illustrations, diagrams, and information and is distributed to the community at no cost. BHAM aims to use its artistic practice as a way to engage its community. Its workshops and projects take place on the street to encourage participation by all and foster a creative and generative space on the sidewalk, thereby creating an engaging public space within communities that are often overlooked. Examples of BHAM’s works include an annual art installation known as “Fence Weaving” and an ongoing family portrait project that documents the ever-evolving families in the Crown Heights neighborhood.
OlaRonke Akinmowo is an interdisciplinary artist and the creator of The Free Black Women’s Library, a social art project featuring more than 5,000 books written by Black women and free public programming. As an artist, she specializes in collage, papermaking, printmaking, stop-motion animation, interactive installation, and creative community praxis. Since 2015, Akinmowo has installed The Free Black Women’s Library in various public spaces such as museums, art galleries, community gardens, and schools and created free public programming that engages communities by connecting them to targeted issues, ideas, or literary concepts. In 2022, she opened The Reading Room, a creative coworking space that also hosts community workshops and conversations. Through her projects, Akinmowo has provided access to thousands of books for various communities across New York City.
About The Met’s Education Department
Dedicated to making art accessible to everyone, regardless of background, disability, age, or experience, the work of The Met’s Education Department is central to the Museum’s mission to engage local and global audiences, making The Met collection accessible to all. The Education Department currently presents more than 29,000 educational events and programs throughout the year. These programs include workshops, art-making experiences, and specialized tours; scholarly talks and panels; fellowships supporting leading scholarship and research; internships at the high school, college, and graduate level that promote career accessibility and diversity; access programs for visitors with disabilities; K–12 educator programs that train teachers to integrate art into core curricula across disciplines; and school tours and programs that spark deep learning and lifelong relationships with and through art.