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NYC Parks Community Celebrates Black History Month with Exhibit at Arsenal Gallery

NYC Parks Community Celebrates Black History Month with Exhibit at Arsenal GalleryIn commemoration of Black History Month, the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation is pleased to announce The March, an exhibition that includes seventeen artists at the Arsenal Gallery in Central Park. Open now through February 27, the exhibition reflects on the struggles and victories of the Civil Rights Movement past, present and future, as well as those individuals who have advanced the cause. The March is curated by NYC Parks' Ebony Society.

This year's contributions include Dexter G. Stringfellow's vivid painting, Against My Will, depicting a young man bound by chains, which was inspired by the stories his great grandfather would tell him about seeing his own grandfather in chains. Quay Quinn Wolf's September 15th, 1963, is a multimedia work that addresses the bombing of a meeting place for civil rights leaders, the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, which killed four young girls attending Sunday school at the time of the explosion. Jake Seo's photographs show piles of folded clothing at laundromats. He regards the varied textures, colors and styles of clothing as a representation of the diverse cultures, beliefs and personalities found throughout the United States.

Additional artists exhibited in this show include: Mitsuko Brooks, Gladys Carty, Tuwanda Harmon, Bill Howard, Nathaniel Ladson, Olga Matos-Castillo, Dionis Ortiz, Ansel Pitcairn, Victor Polanco, Christopher Spinelli, Mario Tavarez, Alan J.P. Thompson, and Wayne Young.

This exhibition also features a series of black and white photographs from NYC Parks' archive highlighting the African American experience in New York City's public parks. One of the photographs in the exhibit is a photograph taken in June 1990 by NYC Parks Senior Photographer Malcolm Pinckney of a joyous New York City welcome to the recently freed hero Nelson Mandela. As a companion to this section, additional photographs have been posted on the Parks & Recreation website, www.nycgovparks.org/photo/archives/the_african_american_experience

The NYC Parks Ebony Society was founded in 1985 with the purpose of unifying NYC Parks' African American community, increasing African American visibility, and recognizing those who make outstanding contributions not only to NYC Parks, but also their communities. Soon thereafter, the Ebony Society was chartered as a non-profit. The Society derives its name from the Ebony tree, indigenous to Africa and known for its unusual strength. Since 1985, the Society has increased its membership, now nearly 200 members strong, and it has become an integral part of the NYC Parks community. The Society has helped organize the annual Black History Month exhibition in the Arsenal Gallery since 1991.

The Arsenal Gallery is dedicated to examining themes of nature, urban space, wildlife, New York City parks and park history. It is located on the third floor of the Parks Department Headquarters, in Central Park, on Fifth Avenue at 64th Street. Gallery hours are Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Admission is free. For more information on the Arsenal Gallery, please call 212-360-8163.


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