On Wednesday, November 3, hundreds of artists, arts administrators, Harlem residents, friends and family joined Ellen Baxter, Founder and Executive of Broadway Housing Communities at Shephard’s Great Hall, City College of New York, to celebrate renowned painter, writer, mixed media sculptor and performance artist Faith Ringgold’s 80th Birthday at a benefit to launch The Sugar Hill Development and Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling. Luis A. Miranda, Jr. served as Master of Ceremonies. Special birthday guests included renowned architect David Adjaye and the Honorable David N. Dinkins.
At 7:00 p.m., 24 Students from the 2010 Broadway Housing Mentoring Program surprised Ms. Ringgold by performing an original song, With Faith.
Accompanied by her daughters Michelle and Barbara, Faith received gifts and endless birthday wishes from the assembled audience.
Ellen Baxter said, “Sugar Hill, our seventh housing site, will provide 124 affordable apartments and an early childhood center. The Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art and Storytelling, a new cultural institution inspired by Faith’s creative leadership celebrating the richness of Harlem’s cultural heritage, will anchor the project. We are honored to be entrusted by Faith to bring about a museum to nurture children’s natural love of art and storytelling.”
Project design architect David Adjaye said: “To toast this women whom I love, whose clarifying vision for New York and for Harlem and this museum means so much, is a rare pleasure for me. She takes the everyday and elevates it to art and brings it back to us through the magical world of art. She realizes that art can be where families connect.”
Ms. Ringgold said she had only one birthday wish and that was to have her mother present to witness her celebration. In praising her pioneering studies at City College, she said, “this school taught me how to love the work of children.”