NAIA Photography Show
NAIA Photo Show at The Black Lady Theatre
NAIA began operation in March 2018. A small group got together to see what could be done to improve conditions and build community in the area of Crown Height near Eastern Parkway. The Association began by getting interns to pick up trash on the Avenue using an adopted trash can at the corner of St. Johns and Nostrand. Soon the organization began to form partnerships, first with the Lincoln Civic Block Association, a group of residents on St. Johns trying to make the street one way from New York to Rogers. Some merchants were especially compatible with NAIA – Fit4Dance, The Black Lady Theatre, Urban Asanas, Naye African Braiding, Met Food, Polly (a street merchant), Mercy Land, City Cleaning Laundromat, Lula Bagel, Colina Cuervo and others. NAIA also partnered with various other non-profits – Harvest Home, Little Brothers, Friends of Brower Park, Mosaic Baptist Church, Shiloh SDA Church, and The United Women of Bethany Methodist Church. Litter pickup expanded; two more trash cans were adopted from the Sanitation Dept. NAIA organized a tree care program in conjunction with the Park Stewards program in the Parks Dept. Also the organization proposed to plant trees on Nostrand Avenue in the Participatory Budget program run by Laurie Cumbo in the 35th City Council District. The proposal will be on the ballot for the vote in April. As all this went on, the NAIA staff were taking photos and they meet up with other photographers who wanted to participate. The result is that at the end of year one, we are putting on a photography show:
182 images of Crown Hieghts by 15 neighborhood photographers.
The show is at The Black Lady Theatre, Studio 1, 750 Nostrand Ave.
The show runs Feb. 26 to March 9, 11-7pm (closed Wednesdays)
There is a reception with refreshments on Sunday, March 3, 4pm to 8pm
One walks up the stairs to Studio 1 and enters an expansive space with many photographs arranged in 26 categories, such as Caribbean Day Parade (Children and Adult), store owners, store workers, religion, parenting, the homeless, gardens, tattoos, artists, elders and more. The exhibit explores the work and enjoyment and challenges of the Crown Height merchants and residents. A guide is available, and the photos are numbered with titles and information attached. The overall feeling is one of the variety and richness of life in the neighborhood. However, on wandering through the exhibit, one gets drawn in by individual photos – a mural of a girl with huge eyes at P.S. 9, a couple of comradely servers at Colina Cuervo, an elderly gentleman with his dark life story etched into his face, giggling young women holding out gum balls they won at a block party, a strong healthy biker about to run a race, a small girl running her scooter across the street. So much is familiar, and one thinks, “I know that building, that's my cashier at Met Food, that's my neighbor Jimmy.” At the same time one is struck with the realization that there is so much more to know, and one might think, when the weather warms up, “I'm going to go out on the street to see what's happening, and maybe I will take some pictures.”
– Louise Kurshan