Harlem Biennale (HB), a community based arts platform, brings people together to celebrate, share and inspire.

Our challenge is to showcase and preserve Harlem’s tradition of rich culture and community by working with our local partners to strategically shape the physical and social opportunities of our neighborhood around the arts. HB animates public and private spaces, rejuvenates structures and streetscapes, enhances local businesses and brings diverse people together to find delight and new meaning in the arts. Our projects involve local residents, center on local capacity building and provide alternative references for inspiration.

Our unique model of ongoing events, exhibitions, performances, artist residencies and art education, culminates in a spectacular bi-annual festival. The festival spans across locations; from churches to local businesses, from artists’ studios to building facades, from theatres to public areas, including a varied array of galleries and exhibition venues. The rich menu of events has been conceived of as a single exhibition, focusing on the interaction of art with the vitality and history of the community. In addition, our goal is to source everything locally and encourage complete community involvement.

Providing a way for development to relate to Harlem’s arts and cultural landscape spawns numerous economic and social benefits. Maybe most importantly, this project stands as an example of how community collaboration can influence the outlook of development, providing inspiration for others to build coalitions and pursue future community based projects.

The Challenge

Providing a new way for development to relate to Harlem's arts and cultural landscape.

The Opportunity

Harlem, with its notable architecture, diverse neighborhoods and rich cultural history is ideally positioned for building coalitions rooted in the arts.

The Outcome

Revitalizating through creative initiatives reanimates places, generates economic development, improves livability, encourages innovation and creates jobs.