(New York, July 21, 2020)—The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced today three new Civic Practice Partnership Artists in Residence: Jon Gray, of the artistic and culinary collective Ghetto Gastro in the Bronx; Mei Lum, of the W.O.W. Project, a community-organizing and arts space in Manhattan’s Chinatown; and musician and composer Toshi Reagon, of Crown Heights. The Museum has also extended the residencies of the Civic Practice Partnership’s two inaugural artists: choreographer and performance artist Rashida Bumbray, working in Bedford-Stuyvesant, and multimedia visual artist Miguel Luciano, working in East Harlem.
Max Hollein, Director of The Met, commented: “The Civic Practice Partnership is a vital part of the Museum’s commitment to support current artistic practices and to foster and deepen connections within communities across the City. I’m thrilled to welcome Jon Gray, Mei Lum, and Toshi Reagon to the program—and to continue our collaboration with Miguel Luciano and Rashida Bumbray—and look forward to experiencing their immensely creative and boundary-pushing work.”
Launched in 2017, The Met’s Civic Practice Partnership is a collaborative residency program for artists who are socially minded in their practice and will implement creative projects in their own neighborhoods across New York City. These dynamic artists will develop their ambitious projects over the next two years while also participating in Met programs.
Since being named Civic Practice Partnership Artists in Residence in 2018, Rashida Bumbray and Miguel Luciano have conducted research and critically examined the Museum’s collection and also collaborated with curators, conservators, and educators in departments across The Met. In 2019, Bumbray choreographed and performed a new piece, Braiding and Singing a Point, based on the ring shout, tap dancing, and other African American dance and song traditions, which she performed with collaborators in The Met’s Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas galleries, where their work lent vibrant cultural context to the objects on display. Working with The Met’s curatorial staff and Imaging Department, Luciano created a 3D-scanned model of a Zemí figure in The Met collection with the intention of using it in community-based programming in East Harlem, where it will find cultural resonance with the Puerto Rican community that shares its Taíno (Indigenous Caribbean) ancestry. Additional programming for all five artists will be announced throughout their residencies.
This initiative is made possible by The William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust and was launched as part of their unprecedented commitment to the collective action of 21 cultural organizations. The Met and New York University's Tisch School of the Arts serve as anchor institutions for the group, which continues to work and think together as the Collaborative for Creative Practice and Social Justice.
2020 Civic Practice Partnership Artists in Residence
Rashida Bumbray is a curator and choreographer and the Director of Culture and Art at the Open Society Foundations. She was guest curator of Creative Time's public art exhibition Funk, God, Jazz, and Medicine: Black Radical Brooklyn in 2014. From 2006 to 2011, Bumbray was Associate Curator at The Kitchen, where she organized a number of critically acclaimed projects and commissions, including works by Leslie Hewitt, Simone Leigh, Adam Pendleton, Mai Thu Perret, Derrick Adams, Sanford Biggers, Kalup Linzy, Mendi & Keith Obadike, Alicia Hall-Moran, LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs, Marc Cary, and Guillermo E. Brown, and dance works by Kyle Abraham, Camille A. Brown, and Jason Samuels Smith. Her choreographic work Run Mary Run made The New York Times list of Best Concerts for 2012 and was most recently performed as part of Jason Moran and Alicia Hall Moran's BLEED at the 2012 Whitney Biennial. Bumbray is a recipient of the Harlem Stage Fund for New Work and was nominated for a Bessie: NY Dance and Performance Award for Outstanding Emerging Choreographer for her work Little Red Rooster in a Red House. Bumbray earned her BA in African American Studies and Theater and Dance from Oberlin College and her MA in Africana Studies from New York University with a focus on Contemporary Art and Performance Studies.
Jon Gray is the cofounder of the Bronx-based collective Ghetto Gastro. Founded in 2012, Ghetto Gastro honors the block-to-block shifts and overlap in international cuisine and culture that happen in Gray’s borough. The collective is committed to feeding, inspiring, and growing young entrepreneurs in the Bronx while establishing the locale as a culinary destination. The collective’s work to explore global food traditions through the lens of the African diaspora has led to its masterminding events for fashion designers, artists, entrepreneurs, musicians, and organizations, including Virgil Abloh, Rick Owens, Tom Sachs, Martha Stewart, Flying Lotus, Vic Mensa, the Serpentine Galleries, and the Museum of Modern Art. Event themes have ranged from the Black Panther future-world of Wakanda to the colonization and re-appropriation of the yam. In initiating conversations about inclusion, race, and economic empowerment through food, the group occupies the crossroads of fashion, music, film, visual art, and cuisine.
Miguel Lucianois a multimedia visual artist whose work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including in exhibitions at the Mercosul Biennial, Brazil; La Grande Halle de la Villette, Paris; El Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City; the San Juan Poly-Graphic Triennial, Puerto Rico; and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C. He is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award Grant and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Award, and he was a fellow of the smARTpower Program, an international, community-based art initiative of the Bronx Museum of the Arts and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State. His work is featured in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, El Museo del Barrio, the Newark Museum, and the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico. Luciano is a faculty member of the School of Visual Arts and Yale University School of Art. He received his MFA from the University of Florida.
Mei Lum is the founder of the W.O.W. Project, a community initiative in Manhattan’s Chinatown that amplifies local voices and stories through art, culture, and activism. Lum is a fifth-generation owner of her family’s century-old porcelain business, Wing on Wo & Co (W.O.W.), the oldest operating store in Chinatown. In response to the rapid displacement of Chinese Americans from Chinatown, the W.O.W. Project produces women- and nonbinary-led initiatives that transform Lum’s family-owned storefront into an alternative space for community dialogue and grassroots action. Since 2016, the W.O.W. Project has offered nearly 100 programs and engaged over 1,000 community members through panel discussions about the role of art and social change, an annual artist-in-residency program, film screenings showcasing Asian American women filmmakers, and open-mic storytelling nights. In 2017, Lum was recognized as an emerging voice in the Asian and Pacific American community by NBC Asian America. She received the 2019 Community Builder Award from OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates and the Rubinger Community Fellowship from the Local Initiatives Support Corporation.
Toshi Reagon is a versatile singer, composer, musician, curator, and producer with a profound ear for sonic Americana, from folk to funk, blues, and rock. While her expansive career has earned her residencies at Carnegie Hall, the Palais Garnier of the Paris National Opera, and Madison Square Garden, Reagon can also be found performing at music festivals, in an intimate venue, or at a local club. Reagon knows the power of song to focus, unite, and mobilize people. Her latest projects include The Blues Project with Dorrance Dance, the opera Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower, Meshell Ndegeocello’s Can I Get a Witness? The Gospel of James Baldwin, and the recording SPIRITLAND. Reagon was a 2015 Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellow; a 2017 Andrew W. Mellon DisTIL Fellow; a Carolina Performing Arts Fellow, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; a 2018 United States Artist Fellow; and a 2019 Andrew W. Mellon Creative Futures Fellow, Carolina Performing Arts, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her band, BIGLovely, has been performing since 1996.
Dedicated to making art accessible to everyone, regardless of background, ability, age, or experience, The Met's Education Department is central to the Museum's mission and currently presents over 32,000 educational events and programs throughout the year. These programs include workshops, art-making experiences, specialized tours, fellowships supporting leading scholarship and research, high school and college internships that promote career accessibility and diversity, K-12 educator programs that train teachers to integrate art into core curricula across disciplines, and school tours and programs that spark deep learning and lifelong relationships with and through art.
July 21, 2020