Originally, New York had the Museum for African Art; its first location was in Soho. In 2007, Mayor Bloomberg announced a plan to relocate the museum to Museum Mile at 110th Street in Manhattan; during construction, the museum was moved to Long Island City in Queens. For several years, information about the new venue was scarce.
Susan Mullin Vogel founded the Museum for African Art in 1984. The institution showed very high-caliber exhibitions, including exhibitions that were shown in various museums around the United States; it had a wonderful museum store (managed for some years by Vickie Fremont, whom we have also written about in this blog); my spouse, Epee Ellong, had participated in events about African culture and design.
The project for the space at 110th Street and Fifth Avenue was enormously ambitious. In October 2012, Phil Conte joined the museum as Chief Financial Officer. Previously, Phil Conte was involved in several financial turnarounds at nonprofit organizations such as the Museum of the Moving Image, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and the Georgia Aquarium.
In his words, "We are looking to the future. The Museum for African Art is being expanded to become the Africa Center, to better embrace all facets of the continent. The Center will still be about the art--both traditional and contemporary. Art will always be at the heart of the institution. However, we will incorporate more art forms, such as dance and music; and most importantly, we are planning two additions to the Center's offerings: a business forum, and a policy forum, to broaden the horizons of the Center and increase its reach."
Another year and a half to go--and we hope that New Yorkers will be able to enjoy the new Africa Center in a daily basis.
|Photography in the style of Malick Sidibé|
|Lagos State of Mind II by Emeka Ogboh|
|Clothing vendor Wow Wow|
|Poster to promote the new Harlem Eat Up festival|