The in-house portion of the exhibit contains two images and a synopsis of the aesthetic of each of the students featured on as it is, as it could be's microsite. Conceptually and visually it is a dynamic, stunning body of work. As someone who is grateful for her broadened horizons and lauds programs like Expanding the Walls, I was thrilled and honored to behold the talent of this group of young people. Whether or not they pursue professional careers as visual artists, it is wonderful that they had this opportunity to develop their craft and an appreciation for photography and art, in general, where some of them might not have otherwise.
Along with its fine collection, the Studio Museum in Harlem's formal and informal education and outreach efforts make it a gem in the community. In addition to Target Free Sundays and important programs like Expanding the Walls, visitors are privy to free, potentially collectible printed materials like Studio, the Museum's quarterly magazine; a Lyle Ashton Harris: Self/Portrait poster; and a postcard from the current Harlem Postcards: Spring 2011 exhibit. Reflecting on my time last Sunday, I can't help but imagine that the next Lyle Ashton Harris or, heck, the first Sapphire Hilton will have been inspired by visits to the friendly neighborhood museum and/or debuted her work via one of its programs.
In the meantime, check out the work of the current Lyle Ashton Harris and Sapphire Hilton and her peers in Lyle Ashton Harris: Self/Portrait and as it is, as it could be: Expanding the Walls 2011, respectively, until October 23, 2011.
1) Lyle Ashton Harris' Untitled (Face #145 Al), 2004 (from nymag.com)
2) Detail of Sapphire Hilton's Lights, Camera, 2011 (thumbnail from http://etw2011.studiomuseum.org/)