Page 11 - Mar2019
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                                  THE HARLEM ART SCENE
 artists, writers, and musicians to continue to create and has still impacted us today.
In 2002, Jacqueline Orange moved to Harlem for a job at a bank in the city. But after getting laid off, she was unsure of what to do next. She came up with a business idea to do food tours in Harlem. This allowed her to get to know the community better and meet many gallery owners in the area.
“The gallery owners were kind of struggling to get people to come into their galleries,” said Orange. “Their galleries weren’t your typical Chelsea or Soho galleries either, it was in the bottom floor of brownstones or the lobby of an apartment building, all unusual places.”
She suggested doing an art crawl and teamed up with Averlyn Archer, who owned a gallery in Harlem at the time. In April 2008, Art Crawl Harlem was established. It was a success. Its most prominent tour was a themed tour celebrating 100 years of Romare Bearden’s life. Two hundred people attended the tour, which was split into two days.
One of the many galleries and museums featured on the Art Crawl tours was the Essie Green Galleries. Before relocat- ing to Harlem, Essie Green Galleries was called Park Plaza Gallery in Park Slope. Edmiston and his wife, Essie Green, had been collecting pieces before they were married. He turned the ground floor of their house into an art gallery, which opened to the public in December 1979. They began hosting art shows primarily of artists’ contemporariness of
Sherman Edmiston and his wife, Essie Green, have been collecting for four decades to create one of Harlem’s premier art venues.
the 80s. That’s where they met and connected with Romare Bearden and his wife, Nanette.
“He was impressed with what we were doing, but he gave us the advice that we should concentrate on showing the work of the Black Masters,” said Edmiston. “At that time, Black people not only didn’t know much about art, they didn’t know who Romare Bearden was or the concept of there being ‘Black Masters.’”
And that’s been their mission ever since.
After a decade in Brooklyn, Edmiston moved the gallery to its home in Harlem in 1989.
“We always focus on clients being from the Black commu- nity because we always thought it was vital that in order for Black artists to be able to succeed, Black people have to become collectors of their work,” continued Edmiston. “If we don’t appreciate it then we can’t expect other people to appreciate it, so that’s always been our focus.”
Over the years, Essie Green Galleries has been able to expand its audience beyond Harlem and NYC. Their clients come from all over the country and the world. Edmiston says the success of his gallery comes from sticking to its initial mission.
All throughout Harlem, you can find local galleries celebrat- ing Black art. Whether it’s a pop-up gallery or in someone’s home, if you search, you will find a place where Black artists are showcased.
Just off the 2/3 subway line at W 135th Street and Lenox is the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. It is a

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