If You Build It

Opening June in Sugar Hill, Harlem! No Longer Empty has been working closely with community partners, artists, and schools to collaboratively stage a site-specific exhibition in this rich, tight-knit neighborhood.

No Longer Empty is unique in presenting site specific exhibitions in all of our locations. We commission and select art that has a connection to the space and neighborhood as a way to connect organically with the local audiences.

1. Site Visit     

Once invited to a property, we immediately arrange several site visits to get an understanding of the space, its architecture, its history and relation to the greater area. We heighten our awareness to sense the feel and personality of any given space before deciding on the nature of the exhibition.

2. Neighborhood Research     

Research on the neighborhood's distinct history and current affairs deepens our understanding of the space, as it is then seen as a part of a whole.  In this stage we meet and listen to members of the community, from artists to residents, to organizations to businesses. The theme for the exhibition and related programming is informed from hearing the different perspectives of the neighborhood. From both the site and area research, No Longer Empty distills all information into a theme that relates to the site as well the current realities of an area. 

3. Studio Visits, Proposals and Artist Selection     

While No Longer Empty's curators and assistant curators attend as many galleries and exhibitions as possible, the majority of our curatorial work is based in studio visits which give the best insight into an artist’s work and practices.  Sometimes these studio visits result from a work we have seen in a gallery or through recommendations of other curators, organizations, or artists we have already worked with.  We identify new talent as well as established talent that resonates with the theme of the exhibition. Artists work in all medium- from visual art to performance, from local artists living in the neighborhood to international artists living abroad. 

 

4. Site Preparation and Installation

Artists, together with the curator, are encouraged to delve into the research and expand upon it. From there new commissions, projects, or programs are formed with the site and community in mind. Meanwhile, the site is prepared just like a museum: a fresh coat of paint, clean windows, or landscaped exteriors.  When the artworks are ready for installation, professional art handlers come, exhibition designers install all elements and lighting technicians create optimum lighting to show the space in the best possible light.

5. Community Collaborations

To present this art experience to the widest audience possible, we work together with local community organizations to present cultural and educational programming. All events are organically informed from the exhibition's site and theme. We always include children´s workshops, an expert panel discussion and an artist talk. In certain cases, we are able to bring the exhibition outdoors by painting a mural or collaborate with the local business improvement district. Working in a collaborative fashion, not only produces creative programming but also meaningful programs that targets both the locals and the greater New York City. We want to provide opportunities for inter-borough collaborations and tourism. 

 

6. Measure the Impacts

We are advocates for creative interim uses and urban exploration. With all the different programs and initiatives, we track the increased foot traffic, evaluate collaborations and measure the successes for each exhibition.  For instance, with our cultural map that offers special incentives or discounts to local business, we can track how these local businesses are impacted by increased foot traffic.  By studying the site, we are able to provide landlords or potential tentants feedback on the site and surrounding area. 

7. Keeping in Touch

It is difficult to move on. We make our exhibition site our home and our participating artists/organizations become like family. The best way we keep in touch is through Facebook, promoting each others works.

 

NOTE: Project Proposals 

At this time, we are not space brokers but sometimes we will consider working with projects that align with our mission. Those artists or art organizations that are interested in submitting a project for consideration should send the project description, including a timeline and budget to curator@nolongerempty.org or 150 East 58th Street, 34th fl. New York, NY 10150. (Hard copies preferred). Projects are reviewed on a monthly basis.