Public Works [NYSCA FY24]

Artist-Led Workshops with Local LES Students

Jennifer M. Harley
Collective Photo Album (many images of us alone, together)
June 4, 2021 (workshop)
March 23, 2023 – January 31, 2024 (installation)
Workshop with students from PS134

“Like any roll of film, each student’s photo negatives included out-of-focus images, fingers that slipped over the lens, or where movement and light combined to create a blur. This is something that is also important to my creative practice, and it was something we spoke about in our time together. It was important to include photos that did a type of imperfect or illegible image work in the display on Essex Market alongside the portraits, stills of interior spaces, and landscapes of Chinatown, and the Lower East Side.”

– Jennifer M. Harley, Commissioned Teaching Artist

Collective Photo Album (many images of us alone, together), is the result of a photo workshop created in collaboration between P.S. 134 fourth and fifth-grade students and New York-based artist Jennifer M. Harley. In Spring 2021, Dana Miller’s students unleashed their inner photographers to notice everyday moments with their disposable cameras, inspired by analog and digital photo albums that collect small moments to tell long stories.

Project documentation

2022 Summer Enrichment Workshops
August 2022
Essex Market Kitchen (Lower East Side, NYC)
Workshops with students from District 1’s Summer Rising program

In summer 2022, New York-based artists Manuel Molina Martagon and Kemar Keanu Wynter led the workshops Spice Stories and A Survey on Sorrel: From Drinks to Dyes, collaborating with 6th-8th grade students from District 1’s Summer Rising program.

Manuel Molina Martagon (2019 LES Studio Program Resident)
Spice Stories
August 3 and August 10, 2022

Spice Stories combined world history and geography to explore the role of spices throughout different historical periods and their changing value over time. The group reflected on the importance of maritime commerce in broadening access to spices and its impact on the creation and consolidation of the colonial world.

Workshop documentation

Kemar Keanu Wynter (2023 LES Studio Program Resident)
A Survey on Sorrel: From Drinks to Dyes
August 10 and August 11, 2022

A Survey on Sorrel: From Drinks to Dyes explored sorrel, bissap, zobo and agua de Jamaica– a few of the many names for the ruddied-violet beverage steeped from the petals and sepals of the hibiscus flower. A crucial fixture within Black diasporic culinary traditions along the coastlines of the Atlantic, the brew is an essential libation through the summer months and celebrations year-round. For this workshop, Wynter provided students with a short survey on sorrel, introducing them to raw hibiscus flowers, from which they prepared his auntie’s classic recipe for everyone to sample. The students then joined Wyner in a dyeing session wherein students could pigment items they brought from home.

Workshop documentation

Mo Kong (2020/2021 LES Studio Program Resident)
Food Preservation Workshop
May 19, May 26, June 2, and June 3, 2022
Workshop with students from PS 19 and East Village Community School

The series of workshops by Mo Kong drew from their exhibition, Lounge of a Prophet, at Cuchifritos Gallery and explored the relationship between cultural tradition, celebratory customs, and food, using one of the most traditional cooking methods: fermentation. Working in pairs, students studied the changes caused by the process of fermenting food, and discussed how we might “normalize” pickled food to dispel people’s fears of unknown smells. They also learned about the origin and cultural significance of ingredients used throughout the pickling processes, and asked questions including: who has the right to claim ownership for these species? And who will take the blame for the environmental impact of removing these foods from their native territories? 

Workshop documentation