The Illumination Fund’s office is an extension of the foundation’s mission and values, with contemporary art, exhibits by our grantees, and furniture that supports community artisans and social enterprises. The space was designed by BKSK Architects to “illuminate” community and social justice issues and to spark creativity.
The Illumination Fund’s office space is used to support initiatives and programs that inspire innovative thinking about issues in our communities. Each year, the foundation hosts two art exhibits in collaboration with grantee organizations on mission-related artwork, which is unveiled at an opening event and shared with all visitors to the foundation. The Fund also periodically hosts meetings to convene grantees and partners to build collective capacity and share learn from each other. These gatherings begin conversations that have sparked new collaborations and exciting initiatives.
The office and gallery spaces were designed by BKSK Architects and feature an open plan and green materials. The space is illuminated by a stainless steel and glass canopy pendant light designed by Ingo Maurer. Suspended from the light are inspirational quotes that resonate with the foundation’s giving philosophy and speak to the core mission of access and opportunity.
The Illumination Fund displays art both permanently and on a rotating basis.
The art on view in the newly renovated offices of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund has been selected to reflect and advance the foundation’s mission.
Works such as Nari Ward’s specially commissioned Common Good, Jack Pierson’s Help Others and Glenn Ligon’s With Hope spell out inspiringly the Illumination Fund’s imperative to improve access and opportunity for all New Yorkers.
The interlocked children’s hands of John Ahearn’s Headstart – originally part of No Longer Empty’s exhibition, This Side of Paradise – tellingly reflect the passion for community and connectivity, and Rico Gatson’s totems to movement and spiritual health speak to the inspiration and progress the Illumination Fund’s support provides to its many grantee organizations to help them improve the well-being of the people they serve.
Additional selections of works are by artists who were a part of specific grantee projects, such as photographic works commissioned through Aperture Foundation and featured in the Museum of the City of New York’s exhibition, Moveable Feast, about the NYC Green Cart initiative.
Individual furniture pieces for the offices have been made by social enterprises that are helping to improve lives among the City’s most vulnerable populations, and by New York City-based designers and makers. The coffee table was built by participants in Refoundry, which provides formerly incarcerated people with skills and opportunity to achieve financial independence and become entrepreneurs and leaders in their communities. The credenza was designed by trainees at The Alpha Workshops, the nation’s only nonprofit organization providing decorative arts education and employment to at-risk youths and adults with disabilities or other vulnerabilities.
John Ahearn – Headstart AM, Matt Ducklo – Touch Tour Pictures (The Burghers of Calais, 1888, The Brooklyn Museum), Nari Ward – Common Good, Jack Pierson – Help Others, Glenn Ligon – With Hope, Yehudit Sasportas – The Dream of the Unspoken, José Emilio Fuentes Fonseca (JEFF) – New York, Aithan Shapira – You Can Grow an Orange on a Birch Tree
Nov 2017 – Aug 2018
DreamYard is a Bronx-based organization that collaborates with youth, families and schools to build pathways to equity and opportunity through the arts. Since its inception in 1994, DreamYard has created and grown an ecosystem of sustained learning opportunities along an educational pathway: inside 55 partnering public schools, with DreamYard Prep High School and the DreamYard Community Art Center in Morrisania.
DreamYard believes that young people in the Bronx need consistent supports to help them grow as collaborators and critical thinkers: they need access to creativity and opportunity, and they need vibrant places in which they will dream of wondrous ways to shape their communities. DreamYard has been able to expand the learning experience beyond the four walls of the classroom to create public art collaborations that serve as platforms for student voice, writing the story and future of our community.
The beauty of community art is that, for so many reasons, its creation and existence is a near-impossible act for one person alone to execute. The confluence of necessary elements is an act of community-building in itself: the artists, the installer, the very space in which the art lives. Likewise, community art belongs to everyone: experienced and interpreted differently by all who pass. Though work can represent the voice of one, it cannot live for one person alone. Rather, it serves us all.
“The Bronx is Being …” showcased the vibrancy of the Bronx and collaborative projects that have grown out of DreamYard’s community.
June 2017 – October 2017
The Studio Museum in Harlem’s Expanding the Walls: Making Connections Between Photography, History and Community is an annual, eight-month residency in which New York–area high school students explore the history and techniques of photography. The program provides a vital link between the Studio Museum’s permanent collection and exhibitions and offers a unique blend of perspectives designed to foster inquiry and dialogue. Students build an enduring relationship with the arts as each explores and defines his or her practice through experimentation, discussion, gallery visits, workshops led by contemporary artists and intensive photography training.
Since the program’s founding in 2001, the James VanDerZee (1886–1983) archives—housed at the Studio Museum—have been the primary catalyst for the students’ critical reflections on the representation of culture and community. VanDerZee, the iconic chronicler of the Harlem Renaissance, documented cityscapes and social groups, and cultivated a thriving studio practice that represented an emergent black middle class. The Expanding the Walls program and exhibition continue to be impassioned considerations of VanDerZee’s timeless themes, and testaments to the Studio Museum’s commitment to young emerging artists.
Framing Community: Expanding the Walls presented a selection of photographs from 2012 through 2015. The works showcase students’ particular interests in contemporary concerns, including teen culture and social life, neighborhood and high school communities, the bonds of family, and the natural and urban environments that compose the landscape of New York. By experimenting with the technical possibilities of photography, students develop personal narratives in their images while capturing the unexpected and overlooked. Though much of what the students learn in the program is focused on new technology, they also cultivate a deep appreciation of traditional photographic methods through their work with the VanDerZee archive. The students’ works focus attention on the nuances of Harlem and other neighborhoods to capture the diversity and energy of visual life in New York.
March 2017 – May 2017
How do grocery stores get sited?
What rights do rent-regulated tenants have?
Do migrant workers have to pay taxes?
The places where we live are shaped by many decisions—decisions that determine what our day to day lives are like and who has access to goods, services, and opportunities.
The work of the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) is about making those decisions visible. At the heart of every project is a question about a public policy, an urban planning issue, or a decision-making process.
And each question begets another—who decides?
Working in partnership with communities most impacted by (and often least included in) these decisions, CUP creates visual explanations in the form of popular education materials. The materials are used by CUP’s community partners in their organizing and advocacy work, making sure that more people can understand the decisions that are most important to them—and have a say in shaping them.
At the invitation of the Illumination Fund, CUP organized a small selection of its work from the last several years that addressed the uneven landscape of access and opportunity and served as a resource for communities working to change that.
February 2016 – July 2016
THIS PLACE unveils twelve contemporary photographic vantage points upon Israel and the West Bank, created primarily between 2009 and 2012.
The project began with a series of extended residencies by twelve internationally acclaimed photographers convened by Frederic Brenner to explore the complexity of Israel and the West Bank.
The twelve artists spent extended periods in Israel and the West Bank, free to approach their subjects as they chose. They travelled throughout the region and engaged with a remarkable variety of individuals and communities. While the exhibition presents twelve distinct perspectives, several key themes emerged, such as family, identity, home, and landscape and the environment.
They created an enormous body of work. Frederic describes the collective work as “polyphony.” There is no single, monolithic vision, no single interpretation, and no objective reality, but rather a diverse and fragmented portrait.
Selected works by the twelve photographers were organized into a major touring exhibition, which opened in Europe in 2014 before travelling to Israel and the United States.
Concurrently with the exhibition’s New York City show at The Brooklyn Museum, the Illumination Fund hosted This Place: Prints from the Archives, featuring a selection of prints from the project archive, which includes more than 500 photographs.
Frederic Brenner — Wendy Ewald — Martin Kollar — Josef Koudelka — Jungjin Lee — Gilles Peress — Fazal Sheikh — Stephen Shore — Rosalind Solomon — Thomas Struth — Jeff Wall — Nick Waplington
July 2015 – February 2016
Since 1981, the Bronx Museum of the Arts has supported New York’s artist community through the Artists in the Marketplace (AIM) Fellowship, which offers career management resources to guide emerging artists through the opaque professional practices of the art world.
AIM is structured as a “collaborative residency” in which participants work directly with established artists, collectors, art critics, curators, dealers, lawyers, and other art world professionals. AIM sessions provide information, instruction, and professional guidance by addressing areas of practical concern to artists; among them are curatorial practice, copyright law, exhibition and public art opportunities, gallery representation, grant writing, income taxes, and marketing.
Since its founding, the AIM Fellowship has provided pivotal career support to a diverse roster of over 1,200 of New York’s most promising artists.
AIM: 35 Years was a specially developed exhibition that brought together a selection of artworks by AIM alums.
February 2015 – June 2015
I was a double was curated by the Tang’s Ian Berry and composer David Lang. First presented at the Tang Teaching Museum from July 5, 2014 through January 4, 2015, the exhibition explored musical interpretations of artworks and the intersection of music and the fine arts more broadly. For this version of the exhibition, Turner Prize-nominee Ciara Philips created a new work based on her exhibition at London’s Tate Modern.
The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College opened in October 2000. Designed by architect Antoine Predock, the 39,000-square-foot building is sited dramatically on Skidmore’s scenic Saratoga Springs, New York campus. The Tang invites curiosity and collaborative learning through active engagement with ideas, artworks, and exhibitions. Programming tailored to foster formative connections between contemporary art and students of all ages is central. Critical to this end are direct experiential opportunities for Skidmore students to participate in integral aspects of museum practice.
May 2014 – January 2015
No Longer Empty’s This Side of Paradise was an exhibit introduced in 2012 at the Andrew Freedman Home in the Bronx. Situated on the Grand Concourse, the Andrew Freedman Home was once a symbol of paradise for the formerly wealthy that lived there from the 1920s to the early 1980s. Built to mirror a grand palazzo, the Home provided the accoutrements of a rich and civilized lifestyle for the elderly who had lost their fortunes—white glove dinner service, a grand ballroom, and a social committee who organized concerts and opera performances. The home was empty for years.
This Side of Paradise referenced this quixotic history and reconnected the vision of Andrew Freedman to today’s Bronx and its realities. The exhibition and its extensive public programming onsite and offsite drew together the economic and social history of the Home with the realities of the Bronx and its residents at the time of the exhibition.
The selected artists worked in a site-specific manner and responded to such issues as memory, immigration, storytelling, aging, and the creation of fantasy that the original concept of the Home, “being poor in style,” suggests. This Side of Paradise celebrated human ingenuity, the strength of the human spirit, and the resilience needed to fashion beauty, hope, and rejoicing.
At the invitation of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, No Longer Empty presented A Glimpse into This Side of Paradise, a mini-retrospective featuring a selection of works from This Side of Paradise. Artists represented included Sylvia Plachy, Nari Ward, John Ahearn, Melanie Crean, Martine Fougeron, Alina and Jeff Bliumis, Lisa Kahane and Jordan Parnass.
The Whitney Museum of American Art houses one of the world’s foremost collections of 20th century American art. The Permanent Collection of some 12,000 works encompasses paintings, sculptures, multimedia installations, drawings, prints, photography and is still growing.
One of the Museum’s flagship education initiatives, Youth Insights, is an after-school and summer program that connects New York City high school students to art and artists. Youth Insights brings teens together with contemporary artists, providing opportunities to work collaboratively, discuss art critically, think creatively, and make art inspired by this exchange. Participants then can apply to join the highly competitive Youth Insights (YI) Leaders Program. YI Leaders work closely with Whitney artists, organize public programs and interactive guided tours for other NYC teens, and develop online materials for their peers that document their experiences.
In 2013, Youth Insights Leaders met over the course of the semester with artist Fred Wilson. They began by visiting Wilson’s studio to learn about his working methods, ideas, and inspirations. The teens and Wilson discussed what it means to be a teen in New York City today. Together, they decided to create “Am I As Much As Being Seen?,” a photography project that explored the theme of observation in the teens’ lives. Using large-format film or digital cameras, YI Leaders captured images of their neighborhoods, families, and communities. Wilson led the teens in a studio critique and helped them select the final images for display.
November 2012 – May 2013
The Marlene Myerson Jewish Community Center in Manhattan (JCC) creates opportunities for people to connect, grow, and learn within an ever-changing Jewish landscape. Thousands of people participate in activities as diverse as swim lessons, nursery school classes and film festivals. The building features numerous spaces for learning and countless opportunities to build more meaningful and healthy lives. However, there is only one place where all these people, with all their differing impulses and agendas, intersect: the art gallery on the main floor known as The Laurie M. Tisch Gallery.
Intersections: Art and Community at the JCC in Manhattan was a retrospective of four artists, each of whom had presented solo exhibitions at the JCC’s Laurie M. Tisch Gallery. The show demonstrated how community and art, when paired, can foster dynamism, generate more thoughtful discourse, and engage more deeply with a wider audience. The exhibition included selected works from:
While these artists work across a variety of media and are concerned with differing subject matter, when presented together shared messages emerge. Emblematic of each of the artists’ styles, the works in Intersections: Art and Community at the JCC in Manhattan offered viewers synopses of larger projects that address feminism, identity, and the merging of cultural and personal histories.
March 2012 – September 2012
For over forty years, Creative Time has worked closely with thousands of artists to produce groundbreaking public art projects across New York City’s five boroughs and around the globe. Creative Time’s work is driven by three core values: art matters to society, artists should actively participate in shaping society, and public spaces are places for creativity and freedom of expression. The projects infiltrate the public realm to foster social progress through personal engagement. Whether projects take the form of public demonstrations, cultural organizations, workshops, or performances, they offer fresh ideas about what art can be and who an artist is. These works expose imbalances of access and power in conversations between site, audience and context across a range of topics: health, disaster, politics and dissent.
Because Dreaming is Best Done in Public: Creative Time in Public Spaces was an exhibition of photographs of projects from throughout Creative Time’s history of supporting ambitious, socially engaged art in a dynamic relationship with the public.
October 2011 – March 2012
For the exhibition Brave New World, Israeli artists Assaf Evron and Oded Hirsch used photography to examine the effects of post-industrialization on marginalized communities in Israel. Both artists engage with the economic realities of disparate minority groups within Israeli society; for Evron, these are the metal scrap gatherers in his native Tel Aviv and for Hirsch, the members of Kibbutz Afikim in the Jordan Valley, where the artist was born and raised. While Evron responds to the unofficial shadow economies that have emerged through the inequities of globalization, Hirsch questions the ethos of the socialist movement pioneered by the kibbutzim. Although they employ different approaches, both artists explore themes of alienation in a brave new world of declining idealism, increasing privatization and complex power relations.
Based in New York City, Artis is an independent organization that supports contemporary artists from Israel whose work addresses aesthetic, social, and political questions that inspire reflection and debate. Artis advances opportunities for cultural understanding and dialogue through artist commissions, talks and events; professional development and research initiatives for artists and arts professionals; and project-specific grants.
May 2010 – September 2011
Aperture Foundation is a New York–based nonprofit arts organization and leading force in the field of photography. Aperture selected five emerging artists to document the New York City Green Cart initiative, a program that uses specially licensed street vendors to sell fresh fruits and vegetables in communities where access to healthy food is a challenge.
Photographers LaToya Ruby Frazier, Thomas Holton, Gabriele Stabile, Will Steacy and Shen Wei spent time in the field over a two-year period. Each photographer approached this project from a different point of view, offering a unique perspective of the Green Cart program. The commission culminated in Moveable Feast: Fresh Produce and the NYC Green Cart Program, a large-scale exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York in 2011.
November 2009 – May 2010
The product of a unique vision, Fountain House Gallery is a not-for-profit cooperative run by and for artists living with mental illness. The Gallery provides opportunities for artists to pursue their personal visions while challenging the stigma that surrounds mental illness. These gifted artists are members of Fountain House, an internationally renowned organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals living with mental illness. By exhibiting visionary art, achieving commercial success and generating public dialogue, the Gallery is making a vital contribution to the New York arts community and working to change common misconceptions about people living with severe persistent mental illness.
The exhibition featured works by Fountain Gallery artists Gary Brent Hilsen, Martin Cohen, Deborah Standard, Vladimir Nikolski, and Anthony Ballard.
May – October 2009
Artistic Noise is dedicated to improving the lives of youth impacted by the justice system through arts programming and arts therapy in residential detention settings and in communities in Boston and New York City. Artistic Noise provides continuity for youth who are often experiencing trauma and upheaval in their lives and provides an opportunity for participants to process and document their lives using the visual arts while learning valuable life and job skills.
The exhibition at the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund featured works produced by youth in the Art, Entrepreneurship and Curatorial Program, an intensive program through which participants learn artistic techniques in different media, study contemporary artists working with issues of social justice, and produce an independent body of work throughout the year. Youth in this program gain access to business training in marketing, branding, and communication, and are given an annual microgrant to develop and implement an idea or product that they can sell.
January 2008 – April 2009
The Illumination Fund’s inaugural exhibit featured the Children’s Museum of Manhattan’s (CMOM) Program for Families in Temporary Housing. The exhibition included poignant images and poetry taken from two years of the program. The installation illuminated universal truths about parenting and the unique experience of parents raising children with no place to call home. It also reflected CMOM’s commitment to make a meaningful museum experience available to all parents, caregivers and their children.