Central Park


Thursday, January 17, 2019
No. 3

“Power to the People” on display at the Arsenal Gallery through February 28th

In commemoration of Black History Month, NYC Parks is pleased to announce the exhibition “Power to the People” at the Arsenal Gallery in Central Park. The show includes artworks by eleven artists that offer broad interpretations on the theme of public demonstration and protest. This exhibition was curated by NYC Parks’ Ebony Society, and will be on view through February 28th.

“Parks are crucial to the fabric of New York City and the way its many residents and visitors express themselves,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “The vivid images in this exhibit are a powerful reminder of the importance of democratic public spaces and the right for all voices to use them for advocacy.”

Since the American Revolution, New York City’s parks have played host to countless public demonstrations and protests. Colonists gathered at what is now City Hall Park and toppled Bowling Green Park’s statue of King George. Since then, people have taken to the city’s streets, plazas, and parks to voice their dissent during periods of unrest. Today, our parks continue to serve as places of assembly and calls to action. NYC Parks Ebony Society’s exhibition “Power to the People” shares artists’ interpretations of public demonstration, representing a rich history of protest and advocacy through photography, painting and drawing, and mixed media.

In their works, the artists address both historical and contemporary movements including an anti-Apartheid Rally in Central Park, Occupy Wall Street, the Women’s March, and the NFL protests, among others. Artists included are Kathleen Celestin-Parks, Mira Gandy, Suprina, Burroughs Lamar, Myrna Marrero, Kirk Maynard, Marilyn Nance, Malcolm Pinckney, Victor Polanco, Mario Tavarez, and Steed Taylor, as well as historical images from the NYC Parks Photo Archive.

The NYC Parks Ebony Society was founded in 1985 with the purpose of unifying Parks' African American community, increasing African American visibility, and recognizing those who make outstanding contributions not only to 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 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 through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free. For more information on the Arsenal Gallery, please call 212-360-8163.

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