Weekend Update: Art in the Garden

By Peggy Roalf   Friday August 4, 2023

Sunday August 13, 1-4 pm: Life Drawing in the 6 & B Community Garden, East Village

Life drawing with a clothed model, in a sheltered pavilion, is one of the many events offered by this legacy community garden. Originating under the city’s Operation Green Thum, in 1984 the garden, with it’s hundred-some members, has flourished over the years, often against considerable odds.

The Garden contains fruiting trees, flowering shrubs and innumerable herbs, flowers and vegetables. Members cultivate raised beds of soil (plots) and stage programs of crafts, horticultural/science workshops, culinary events, films, multicultural festivals, and musical and theatrical performances from around the world. 

The invite I received says, “Bring your own art supplies—and don’t forget the mosquito repellant.”

6 & B Community Garden, Sixth Street and Avenue B, New York, NY Info



Saturday, August 12, 12-6pm: Afribembé Festival at Harlem Art Park

The Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute’s 5th annual festival harnesses the power of its theme, Black to the Future, to elevate Afrofuturism from a global Diasporic lens with Africa at the center. 

Afribembé features an artists and DJ lineup that will utilize global Diasporic rhythms and sounds to move festivalgoers through statements of Black identity, agency, and freedom. Featured artists gracing the Bembé Stage include Grammy-nominated Cuban percussionist Pedrito Martinez (presented in partnership with National Jazz Museum in Harlem), Combo Chimbita, Chimurenga Renaissance, Imani Uzuri, Asase Yaa African American Dance Theater, Chief Awosami Sekou Alaje, and DJ Bembona. Rasu Jilani will serve as the event’s MC.

Harlem Art Park, 120th Street and Sylvan Place, New York, NY Info



Art, Food and Music in Marcus Garvey Park

One of the oldest parks in the city, Marcus Garvey Park has long been a center for spiritual, cultural, and educational events in Harlem. In 2015, under the leadership of the Marcus Garvey Park Alliance, headed by Connie Lee (pictured above), it began a community-based initiative, in a grass-roots partnership that includes local institutions including the Studio Museum of Harlem, and resident volunteers. Over the years the park has become a mecca for educational programs and the visual and performing arts. 

The Culture, Creativity, & Care Initiative at Marcus Garvey Park, a two-year plan, is currently programming events and installations centered around food, culture, and visual and performing arts in collaboration with the Mellon Foundation’s Humanities in Place Initiative, Harlem Grown and partners to foster  creativity and care in this exception  public space at the heart of the Harlem community.

The lead art program this summer is an installation by Jerome Haferd, partner in the local architectural firm of Brandt : Haferd. He named his structure ‘Sankofa‘, which is an Akan tribe (Ghana) word that means ~ wisdom learning from the past, as we move forward into the future. The steel frame of Sakofa, at 32 feet in diameter, holds inviting wooden benches, with the upper portion, a printed mesh collage reflecting indigenous African textiles and images of the park created by local artists. Along with benches. the installation will include planters holding not only flowers, but also edibles to cut and take home. The current roster of artists includes Jerome Haferd, Violet Greenberg, Gabriel Moyer-Perez; Instalation support: Dominiq Oti, Pedro Cruz Cruz, Suraya Babb, and Shadeen Dixon.

This weekend’s activities include Afrobeat Jam Sessions and African Dance Lessons. See the entire schedule here

Marcus Garvey Park, 124th Street and Madison Avenue, New York, NY Info



Art in The West 132nd Street Community Garden, in Harlem

The West 132nd Street Community Garden was just a parking lot before people’s hard work that turned it into this little gem four years ago. This summer’s art program is organized by artist and @theartistgardenernyc co-founder Bruna D'Alessandro. The current “Wildflowers” exhibition, with works by 13 artists, reflects on the connection between people and the natural environment.

The Artist Gardener welcomes passionate people who want to share their knowledge, skills, or projects with the community gardens, and help to sustain and preserve green spaces. TAG was co-founders: Francine Rogers, Aubrey Jackson, Bruna D’Alessandro, Haksul Lee, Natsuki Takauji, Shantel Rose Miller. Photo by Natsuki Takauji

Located at 108-114 West 132nd Street, the garden is open to the public Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between noon and 7 pm. Info @theartistgardnernyc on Instagram

Save the date: Closing Reception, September 23