Guilty By Association: Origins
When I was 20 years old, downtown New York felt like a playground of vibrant kids and creatives. We’d get into trouble and wolfishly retreat back to our closet apartments. Discovering the art world was a reason to stay outside, back when me and my crew would get together and figure out what the moves were for each night. As we grew older, we learned that many of us who’d want to join this scene were not the ideal artists that the industry was looking for.
In 2020, the BLM movement forever altered my wife and kids’ worlds, as I'm sure it did many of yours. We heard the uproar from our home only a few blocks from the Barclays Center. I was changed. I’ve spent my whole life witnessing and relating to the injustices of my community. It was time to make something real happen.
I had met Karen years before around the neighborhood. After co-founding two major museum initiatives: IdeasCity Festival (focused on creative placemaking) and NEW INC (an art and tech incubator that expanded the definition of what artists could be) I knew that her experiences as a woman of color would resonate with my sentiment for this project. I knew I couldn't do this without her.
I guess all in all I wanted to make something we could all understand.
A lot of people think that artists who belong in this industry are highbrow aficionados who raise their noses at others who can't offer academic observations of their work or whatever. But most of us are really just trying to feel appreciated and seen. So I know this has to feel cool and feel right.
I'm at that age now where I know what matters.
My wife is finishing a paper for her class in the living room, our kids are asleep, and those artists are still my friends. Everything feels right.
So much to come, such great heights. We’re only getting started.
We appreciate you all.