The BID ON CULTURE Project, a partnership of the 125th Street Business Improvement District (BID) and the Harlem Arts Alliance (HAA), announced at a news conference on Thursday June 10, 2010 the winners of the 2010 Banner Design Competition for 125th Street, and showcased their award-winning designs. The street banner design competition is intended to advance the branding of 125th Street as a premier cultural corridor. The competition theme for 2010 was Music, and beginning in late June 2010, as part of the annual Black Music Month observance, 19 banners will be hung from street light poles along 125th Street from Morningside Avenue to 5th Avenue. The 3 selected artists whose street banner designs will be displayed along 125th Street are Nicole Brown (Harlem), Laura Gadson (Hip Hop) and Beatrice Lebreton (who will have two banners on display, In The Rapture and Solo).
Voza Rivers (Chair, Harlem Arts Alliance) and Vincent Morgan (Chair, 125th Street BID) presented the artists while Barbara Askins (President and CEO of the 125th Street BID) gave an overview of the BID on Culture Project and solicited ideas for themes of future street banner designs. Present at the unveiling were representatives of the banner sponsors, Curtis Archer (Harlem Community Development Corporation), Stephanie Kinlock (Con Edison), Vincent Morgan, TD Bank, Herb Boyd representing the Amsterdam News. Also attending were several of the 2010 BID on Culture review panelists: Wayne Benjamin, AIA (Harlem Community Development Corporation) and art historian and curator, Debra Vanderberg-Spencer. Also in attendance were Shelly Williams representing City Councilman Robert Jackson, Dani Tyson of Community Board 10 and Jeffrey Hamer of NYC Business Solutions. The unveiling news conference, at the Hip Hop Culture Center in Harlem, preceded the 125th Street Business Improvement District’s 17th Annual Meeting.
Barbara Askins, President and CEO of the 125th Street Business Improvement District (BID) said that “125th Street is the perfect canvas to showcase arts and culture through streetscape elements. This is our second year offering pole banners to artists as an avenue for their artwork to be seen. We look forward to continuing our work with the Harlem Arts Alliance and identifying other opportunities for artists.”
BID ON CULTURE, which began in 2009, is a campaign to help build a community-based vision of Harlem’s heritage, its role as a vibrant cultural center, and to promote the continued revitalization of 125th Street as the commercial and artistic heart of Harlem. In 2009, the first BID ON CULTURE banners were displayed as a Women’s History Month tribute and featured the artists Andrea Arroyo, Laura Gadson, Wilhelmina Obatola Grant, Sharon Lewis, and Shimoda.
The important role played by arts and culture in urban revitalization is well established, and is documented in the study, Creating a Cultural Destination, commissioned by the 125th Street BID in 2007, and available online at www.125thstreetbid.com
Photo: Pictured at the January 10th news conference at the Hip Hop Culture Center in Harlem are the BID ON CULTURE sponsors and award-winning artists whose banners will hang on 125th Street (L to R): Herb Boyd (Amsterdam News); Curtis Archer (Harlem Community Development Corporation), Stephanie Kinlock (Con Edison), Nicole BrownHarlem), Beatrice Lebreton (artist: In The Rapture and Solo), Vincent Morgan (TD Bank), Laura Gadson Hip Hop), and Wayne Benjamin (Harlem Community Development Corporation). photos by Kwame Brathwaite.