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Our Space & Art
Engaging Community: The Illumination Fund’s office space is also 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 shared, mission-related artwork, which is unveiled at an opening event and shared with all visitors to the foundation. The foundation also periodically hosts meetings to convene philanthropic, grantee, and community partners to discuss social needs, innovative philanthropy and fresh approaches to increasing access and opportunity. These gatherings begin conversations that have grown into new partnerships and exciting initiatives.
Design: The space was designed by BKSK Architects and features an open plan and green materials that support the foundation’s mission and commitment to being a responsible corporate citizen and a good New York City neighbor. The materials and furniture are sustainably-sourced, recycled, reclaimed or non-toxic.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.
Art: The Illumination Fund displays art both permanently and on a rotating basis. Included in the permanent collection are works by Bruce Davidson, Matt Ducklo, Edward Ruscha, and Yehudit Sasportas.
The Current Exhibit
The Studio Museum in Harlem: Framing Community: Expanding the Walls
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 presents 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.