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
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
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.
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
lunch was served.
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
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone with a background suitable to being the Director of Artists
in Harlem should contact Donald Weiss at DWeiss5348@aol.com.