Harlem is getting in the holiday windows game, and it’s all about the history. Spanning the corridor of Frederick Douglass Boulevard between 114th and the 122nd streets, eight businesses will display windows designed and executed by fifteen students from Fashion Institute of Technology’s (FIT) Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design (VPED) BFA program. The window displays will depict holiday-themed scenes from the Harlem Renaissance. The windows will be on display from November 30 to January 2. Visitors are invited to stroll through the historic neighborhood throughout the holidays and enjoy the window displays while learning a bit of Harlem’s rich history. To kick off the season, two free window tours on November 30 and December 3 will be provided by ArtCrawl Harlem, Inc. The tours will feature live storytellers and vignettes with actors and performers bringing the windows to life. The family friendly outing will also include free children’s activities and coloring books highlighting historical themes of the period. This unique approach to presenting holiday windows offers an interesting alternative to the traditional downtown windows for the holidays.
Harlem Holiday Windows is an initiative to stimulate cultural and community activity to promote tourism in Harlem during the holidays. The program is presented by Jacqueline Orange’s ArtCrawl Harlem with curator OmoMisha. It is funded by the Frederick Douglass Boulevard Alliance (FDBA), the Harlem Tourism Board (HTB) and is in partnership with Harlem Park-to-Park(HP2P). Our goal is to benefit businesses, property owners and residents; foster tourism; and showcase the vibrant neighborhood.
The FIT students will create holiday-themed scenes from the Harlem Renaissance period (1910-1940). The period was defined by the artistic, literary, and political activism of Harlem’s large African American community. The windows will offer both an educational and festive holiday experience with designs ranging from jazz and historical references to dance, fashion and prohibition scenes.
“We are very excited about working with FIT for the Harlem Holiday Windows Project. A free art installation for all members of the community to enjoy is exactly the type of event we are proud to fund,” said Susannah Koteen, Co-President of FDBA and owner of Lido Restaurant. “We look forward to welcoming residents and visitors to experience the window displays along Frederick Douglass Boulevard and all that Harlem has to offer.”
“We view Harlem as one of our country’s most historically rich communities, and its contributions to the arts are legendary,” said, Anne Kong, the faculty overseeing the design project. “When we were approached by Jackie Orange to collaborate on this project, it seemed like a wonderful opportunity for our students to learn about this period and its significance on how we view art and culture today. This is an opportunity to expose them to this wonderful community as an important part of New York’s heritage. The windows they have designed are a result of careful research to create scenes that are both historically accurate, timeless, and beautiful,” she added.
“It’s our aim to create holiday window displays that are an option to Fifth Avenue department stores while showcasing Harlem’s proud history. We want to foster support of the community, its businesses, and most importantly, our youth” said Jacqueline Orange. “ArtCrawl Harlem, Inc. and participating businesses, community organizations and sponsors are working to produce a bolder and bigger holiday window event that will yield even greater benefits for our neighborhood and its members of all ages,” she added. The unique holiday celebration is expected to draw hundreds of visitors to Harlem and participating locations along Frederick Douglass Boulevard.
Windows will be decorated at the following businesses:
- Vintage Harlem NYC Wine & Spirits, 2235 FDB
- Chocolat, 2223 FDB
- Vinateria, 2211 FDB
- Lido, 2168 FDB
- Harlem Tavern, 2153 FDB
- Silvana, 300 W 116
- Harlem Skin & Laser Clinic, 2119 FDB
- Land Yoga, 2116 FDB
Harlem Holiday Windows free kick off event will start at the Harriet Tubman Statue on 122ndStreet at 5:30pm on November 30, 2016 and will feature an interactive and intergenerational music performance by special guest Shine and the Moonbeams. The second kick off, also starting on 122nd Street, will begin at 3pm on December 3, 2016 ending at the Shop Harlem Live Harlem Holiday Expo at MIST. Produced by Harlem Park to Park, the program will include an art filled afternoon for kids and adults.
In addition to the free kick off tours on November 30, 2016 and December 3, 2016 a full schedule of paid tours and programming around the Holiday Windows, will be offered by ArtCrawl Harlem, Inc., throughout the holiday season, from November 30- December 21, 2016. Programming will include weekly tours on the following Saturdays from 3–5pm (December 3, 10, 17). Registration is available on the website. Rates are $10 per person. Call for special group rates.