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Artistic Talent Shines in the 2007 Resident Art Show

The New York City Housing Authority’s (NYCHA) 27th Annual Resident Art Show has once again transformed a community center gymnasium into an art gallery and average residents into admired artists.

NYCHA kicked off its month-long Resident Art Show at the Rutgers Houses Community Center on Manhattan’s Lower East Side on June 6th. The Center’s hallways and gymnasium were filled to overflowing with the eclectic works of resident artists from the ages of 8 and up. A panel of judges had the challenging task of reviewing more than 800 submissions, and then narrowing their selections to 250 pieces to display in the Art Show.

2007 Resident Art Show
Ceramic sculptures at the
2007 Resident Art Show.
Photo credit: Kevin Devoe

Most of the art work was created at 80 community centers through workshops conducted by Harborview Visual Arts consultants from September through June. Media used included computer graphics, digital photography, mural painting, print making, puppet making, quilting, ceramics, and acrylic, tempera and watercolor painting. For the first time this year children also had the opportunity to create comic strips, from initial concept to illustration, complete with text.

"Art can record feelings, emotions, dreams, things that have never been seen before," said longtime Harborview Visual Arts Coordinator Wylie Lucero. Mr. Lucero pointed to various works and asked the artists to briefly share the inspiration and creative guidance that brought the pieces into being. "This show is a great illustration of all the talent we have," Mr. Lucero said.

NYCHA Chairman Tino Hernandez joined Vice-Chairman Earl Andrews, Jr. and Board Member Margarita López to congratulate the artists. All three Board Members made reference to the Authority’s current budget shortfall and the importance of adequate funding so that programs like the Harborview Visual Arts Program can be maintained.

2007 Resident Art Show
Board Member Margarita Lopez admiring a complex piece at the 2007 Resident Art Show.
Photo credit: Kevin Devoe

Sixty-nine year-old Terry Hall Lloyd, of Astoria Houses in Queens, seemed unable to believe that her quilt was chosen to be on display at the Art Show. After repeated insistence that the beautiful red and black crocheted quilt hanging from the gymnasium ceiling was indeed hers, a broad smile broke across Ms. Lloyd’s face. "Let me put my glasses on," she said, reaching into her purse. "I guess they did take it," she said finally. "It looks so different up there."

Board Member Margarita López summed up the experience when she told the senior resident artists, Harborview Visual Arts Center and other NYCHA staff and consultants who gathered together in the gymnasium that day, "Last year, I thought the art was good. This year, it is exquisite."

All of the artists’ whose work is on display received medals and a professional artist’s kit. A separate awards ceremony was held for the 164 children and youth whose pieces were also selected for the exhibit. The NYCHA Senior Chorus, led by Carrie Jones, and accompanied by the Voices Across the City Band, captured the spirit of the event with a series of uplifting songs.

The 2007 NYCHA Resident Art Show is free and open to the public through June 22. For more information please contact our Creative Arts Community Coordinators at (212) 306-3527.

By Eileen Elliott
June 13, 2007