On Wednesday, November 3, hundreds of artists, arts administrators, Harlem residents, friends and family joined Ellen Baxter, Founder and Executive of Broadway Housing Communities at Shephard’s Great Hall, City College of New York, to celebrate renowned painter, writer, mixed media sculptor and performance artist Faith Ringgold’s 80th Birthday at a benefit to launch The Sugar Hill Development and Faith Ringgold Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling. Luis A. Miranda, Jr. served as Master of Ceremonies. Special birthday guests included renowned architect David Adjaye and the Honorable David N. Dinkins.
At 7:00 p.m., 24 Students from the 2010 Broadway Housing Mentoring Program surprised Ms. Ringgold by performing an original song, With Faith.
Accompanied by her daughters Michelle and Barbara, Faith received gifts and endless birthday wishes from the assembled audience.
Ellen Baxter said, “Sugar Hill, our seventh housing site, will provide 124 affordable apartments and an early childhood center. The Faith Ringgold Children’s Museum of Art and Storytelling, a new cultural institution inspired by Faith’s creative leadership celebrating the richness of Harlem’s cultural heritage, will anchor the project. We are honored to be entrusted by Faith to bring about a museum to nurture children’s natural love of art and storytelling.”
Project design architect David Adjaye said: “To toast this women whom I love, whose clarifying vision for New York and for Harlem and this museum means so much, is a rare pleasure for me. She takes the everyday and elevates it to art and brings it back to us through the magical world of art. She realizes that art can be where families connect.”
Ms. Ringgold said she had only one birthday wish and that was to have her mother present to witness her celebration. In praising her pioneering studies at City College, she said, “this school taught me how to love the work of children.”
BROADWAY HOUSING COMMUNITIES
Ellen Baxter is Founder and Executive of Broadway Housing Communities, a not for profit organization with a 27 year track record of developing and managing nationally recognized, community-based housing and programs to redress poverty and homelessness. Its newest project, Sugar Hill, will provide affordable housing, education and cultural opportunities to the Harlem and Washington Heights communities.
Faith Ringgold, the renowned African American artist, is best known for her painted story quilts. Born in 1930 in Harlem’s Sugar Hill neighborhood, Ringgold graduated from City College of New York. Her love of children is reflected in the artistry of her many children’s books, including her Caldecott Prize winning, Tar Beach. Ringgold’s dedication to the artist in every child continues with her vision for the Faith Ringgold Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling, part of Broadway Housing Communities’ new Sugar Hill development.
The Sugar Hill Project, designed by David Adjaye and Saky Yakas, will be Harlem’s first- ever mixed-use development combining 124 units of affordable housing, an early childhood education center and a chartered children’s museum – the Faith Ringgold Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling. The $73M million, 171,000 sf development will also include nonprofit program and office space and below-grade parking. Construction is due to start by the next quarter and completion is anticipated in 2012. The project will create 300 construction jobs and 100 to 125 permanent jobs.
For more information or to join the Friends of Sugar Hill, call 212-568-2030 or see www.broadwayhousing.org/friends