Studio Museum in Harlem in New York City

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The Studio Museum in Harlem is an American contemporary art museum in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, New York. It was founded in 1968 as the first such museum in the U.S. devoted to the art of African-Americans, specializing in 19th and 20th century work as well work of artists of African descent. It is located on 125th Street, between Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Blvd. and Lenox Avenue. The scope of the Studio Museum includes exhibitions, Artists-in-Residence program, education and public programming, a permanent collection, and archival and research facilities.

Since opening in a rented loft at Fifth Avenue and 125th Street in 1968, the Studio Museum has earned recognition for its catalytic role in promoting the works of artists of African descent. The Museum's Artists-in-Residence program has supported over ninety graduates who have gone on to highly regarded careers. A wide variety of education and public programs have brought the African-American experience alive for the public by means of lectures, dialogues, panel discussions and performances, as well as interpretive programs, both on- and off-site, for students and teachers. The exhibitions program has also expanded the scope of art historical literature through the production of scholarly catalogues, brochures and pamphlets.


The Studio Museum's permanent collection contains over 1,600 works, including drawings, pastels, prints, photographs, mixed-media works and installations. It comprises works created by artists during their residencies, as well as pieces given to the Museum to create an art-historical framework for artists of African descent. Featured in the collection is Terry Adkins, Romare Bearden, Skunder Boghossian, Robert Colescott, Melvin Edwards, Richard Hunt, Hector Hyppolite, Serge Jolimeau, Lois Mailou Jones, Jacob Lawrence, Norman Lewis, Philome Obin, Betye Saar, Nari Ward and Hale Woodruff, among others. The Museum also is the custodian of an extensive archive of the work of photographer James VanDerZee, the quintessential chronicler of the Harlem community from 1906 to 1983.


Founded in 1968, in a rented loft located at Fifth Avenue and 125th Streets, The Studio Museum in Harlem has supported some of the most influential American artists. The basic principle leading to its establishment was simple: to create an uptown space focused on contemporary experimental art. After two years of preparation, the museum celebrated the opening of its first exhibition, Electronic Reflections II, featuring works by artist Tom Lloyd, in September 1968.

Originally, the museum focused on workshops and exhibition programs that were designed to give artists a space to practice their craft, create works and show them. This idea led the trustees of the museum to start an Artist-in-Residence program. The Artist-in-Residence program will celebrate its 40th year in 2010. It has helped to cultivate the art making practices and careers of more than one hundred artists.

See also

  • List of African-American firsts
  • List of museums and cultural institutions in New York City