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St. Nicholas Park

The Daily Plant : Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Katherine Daniels’ Art Exhibition, St. Nicholas Park Mesh, Traces Local History In Harlem


Courtesy of the Artist

Beginning last month, park goers noticed patterns of colorful ribbon tracing the entryways along basketball courts in St. Nicholas Park, one of Harlem’s several “ribbon parks.” With the aid of KIPPS High School volunteers, artist Katherine Daniels installed this public exhibition of three contemporary weavings on view through April 20, 2013.

Daniels highlights the park’s eclectic, though largely overlooked, history through a series of abstract symbols on the court fences at St. Nicholas Terrace at 129th Street and 130th Street, and at St. Nicholas Ave between 133rd and 134th Street. On the southern end of the park, the chain link fence hosts an abstract vine design that runs horizontally along the top with vertical branches flowing down the fence gates. Based on Native American textiles, this weaving recounts the Indian path Weekquaeskeek, which passed along what is now St. Nicholas Avenue and connected Spyten Duyvil to the tip of Manhattan.

The central installation references the park’s namesake, commonly known as the patron saint of children and sailors, and (appropriately given the season) the inspiration for Santa Claus. Daniels’ series of crosiers, or hooked shepherd staffs, also pay homage to the three churches that border the park—St. James Presbyterian Church, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and St. Mark’s United Methodist Church.

Located near the Hamilton Grange, home of founding father Alexander Hamilton, the northernmost court is adorned with a zig-zag pattern of “quilt squares.” This monumental brocade represents the park’s early American history as a military campground during the Battle of Harlem Heights, where General George Washington positioned himself during the Revolutionary War in 1776.

This installation was made possible with a Manhattan Community Arts Fund Grant from the LMCC.

Katherine Daniels has been awarded Parks’ Clare Weiss Emerging Artist Award; Artists in the Market Place participation at the Bronx Museum of the Arts; Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Creative Community Grants; a PS.122 Project Studio; an Artist-in-Residency at the Henry Street Settlement; a Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation ‘The Space Program’ grant; and a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Painting. She holds a B.F.A. in Painting from Rhode Island School of Design and a M.F.A. in Painting from Johnson State College. Born in 1969 in Germany and raised in Huntington, West Virginia, she now lives and works in New York City.


QUOTATION OF THE DAY

“What we anticipate seldom occurs; what we least expected generally happens.”

Benjamin Disraeli

(1804 - 1881)

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