Opened in October, 2001 (great timing!), the Sugar Hill Art Center was the creation of Donald Weiss. It was located in the apartment house owned by Mr. Weiss. It consisted of 4 separate retail stores that were connected to 4 apartments and a 14,000 sq. ft. Roof Garden - Scuture Park (about 10,000 sq. ft. + the Roof Garden Sculpture Park).

Mr. Weiss’ idea was to bring a new presence of art to Harlem. Located in what was once know as the Sugar Hill area of Harlem, the surrounding neighborhood is chock full of significant venues: The Hispanic Society Museum & Audobon Terrace, The Church of the Intercession, Trinity Church Graveyard are the three significant ones.

The original presentation was primarily French art (a questionable choice, especially today!) with the highlight being a major selection of work by Moreno Pincas shown in Gallery Donald Weiss.

In addition, a 9 ft. marble sculpture, Nathanael, by a renowned sculptor, Pollès, was flown in from Pietrasanta, Italy has the “focal point” of the Sugar Hill Art Center.


Work by Moreno Pincas

Many other first class artists were shown at the Grand Opening. In Gallery Place des Vosges a wide range of work was shown including the following artists: Magni, Tolla, Ruth Block, Jalin Paul, De Keiser, Marziac, Nissan Engel, Howard Daniels, Roger Milinowski, Fifax as well as glass from the Venetian factory of Berango. In Gallery Pierre a brut style art was shown including works of Pierre Mathieu, Berkouk, Mulheim, Gosti, Diazdel, Dubeau & Blanpain.

Gallery Donald Weiss was a 2 level gallery and connected to The Sculpture Site Gallery where the brilliant metal furniture (truly sculpture!) of Jean Jacques Argueyrolles was shown. Gallery 1 was 2 apartments in the lobby of the building that were combined. There work of Rose Jacobson, Julie Oaks, Nina Melandri, Roger Milinoski were shown. Grace Knowlton’s piece, especially made for the Sugar Hill Art Center and titled “A Harlem Gathering” was shown on the Roof.

The Sugar Hill Art Center's Grand Opening was a “grand event”. On Friday night all VIP Guests were invited to theater and a rally in Times Square.

125 tickets were obtained for The Producers. Bill & Hillary were invited but came on their own that night. Others saw 42nd Street and other Broadway hits.

Saturday was a big day with hundreds of people coming to the Sugar Hill Art Center to view the art and to spend time on the Roof Garden. The Roof Garden was landscaped and a buffet lunch was served.

Sunday of the Grand Opening weekend was slower. The next weekend lunch was bought for an anticipated large crowd. A very small number of people came. Business was verrrry slow. Money was not available for promotion and getting people to come to Harlem is not easy. It was decided that a future show should highlight an African American artist and arrangements were made with Danny Simmons for a 1 person show in Gallery Donald Weiss. A hugh opening was reported in the New York Times - limos, important people, including his brother Russell Simmons. For the final show, the Director, Marilyn Rosenberg, curated a wonderful show called “6 American Masters.” The show focused on African American Abstraction with work shown by Ed Clarke, Howardena Pindell, Al Loving, Frank Bowling, Nanette Carter & Bill Hutson. The show was well reviewed by Holland Cotter in the New York Times.

Metal furniture of Jean Jacques Argueyrolles

Slow sales and a renegotiation with the new mortgagee on the building required the closing of the Art Center. But art lives! Sugar Hill Art Center will be moved to courtyard and interior space facing the courtyard on 151 St. It is hoped, once financing is finalized, that this space will be ready by the Summer of 2004. Nathanael, the sculpture by Pollès, is now in storage in the Bronx. He will return to be placed in the courtyard and continue to be the focal point of the Art Center. There will be direct access to the Roof Garden - Sculpture Park from this space.

14,000 sq. ft. Roof Garden

Sculpture by Grace Knowlton "A Gathering in Harlem"

Sugar Hill Art Center is now being moved along with the help of Sandra Oei. It is anticipated that Cafe Nathanael will be a place for light food during the day. At night, entertainment is planned. This space will also house the new Gallery “Artists of Harlem”. One of the artists to be shown is Donald Weiss ( Nepotism at it’s purest form! In addition, Harlem Crafts will be housed in a part of the new space.

Anyone interested in showing work should contact Sandra Oei at

Anyone with a background suitable to being the Director of Artists in Harlem should contact Donald Weiss at

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