Category Archives: Featured Events

WESTBETH FLEA MARKET
Holiday Sale

WHEN:
Saturday December 5, 2020. 12pm – 6pm
Sunday December 6, 2020 12PM – 6PM

Friday December 11, 2020 12pm – 6pm
Saturday December 12, 2020 12pm – 6pm
Sunday December 13, 2020 12pm – 6pm

Where: Westbeth Basement
55 Bethune Street
corner of Washington St
New York, NY

Find treasures for the holidays in all departments: Jewelry, Linens, Clothes, Books, Notions, Holiday ornaments, Household, Electronics, Children’s.
This will be the Westbeth’s Flea Market 39th year of providing bargains galore. Proceeds go to Westbeth projects and local charities.

Open Only By Appointment

COVID Guidelines strictly in place.
1 person or 1 family per half hour
Masks required
Gloves provided
Temperatures taken before entry.

Check or cash and carry.

To make an appointment:
Ruby Ornstein
rsorenstein@gmail.com

To make an appointment for the Art Department (dates are not the same as the above sale dates)
Parviz Mohassel
bravoparviz2gmail.com

Find out more about the Flea Market and the Westbeth Beautification Committee HERE

WESTFEST DANCE 2020
Performances online!

Click link below to catch the performances!

WESTFEST Program A

PROGRAM A initially live-streamed on November 14, 2020

WESTFEST Program B

PROGRAM B initially live-streamed on November 15, 2020

Join us for the 10th year anniversary of WestFest – The immensely popular curated yearly dance event at Westbeth!
Watch cutting-edge performances by emerging and established dancers and choreographers in this live streamed event.

Click here for more information: WestFest Dance

Blood Drive
Westbeth Gallery

When: Tuesday December 1, 2020 | 1:00PM – 7:00PM
Where: Westbeth Gallery
57 Bethune Street
New York, NY 10014

December 1 is World AIDS Day. “A Day Without Art” celebrates and honors the artists lost to AIDS.

TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT CLICK https://donate.nybc.org/donor/schedules/drive_schedule/285969

    RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Appointments strongly encouraged to ensure for NYBC Safety Protocols and guarantee of donation
  • Please remember to eat, drink and bring your donor ID card or ID with name and photo.
  • Medical Eligibility Questions? NYBC Community Health -1-800-688-0900
  • Please be aware that we do NOT test for COVID-19. You should contact your health care provider if you want to be tested.
  • /

      DONORS PRESENTING
      • Must wear a mask or face covering
      • Will have their temperature taken
      • Must be 14 days symptom free if recovered from COVID-19
      • May NOT donate if they have a positive diagnostic test or experienced symptoms of COVD-19 in the last 14 days
      • May NOT donate if they are currently on self-quarantine restrictions

The Art of Community
Ralph Lee, George Cominskie, and Christina Maile

The Art of Community: a #Westbeth50 Oral History Conversation with Ralph Lee, George Cominskie, and Christina Maile

WATCH HERE:

The entire “THE ART OF COMMUNITY“evening has been posted to GVSGP channel. Hear the stories, see the images and understand why the Westbeth Artists Housing has survived and flourished for the past 50 years, and in the years to come.

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Join Explore Village Preservation on Monday Nov 9 at 6PM for an online night of recollection and celebration as we delve into the fifty-year history of Westbeth through the eyes of three long-time residents, artists, activists, and Village Preservationists.

Ralph Lee is a puppeteer known as the “father of the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade.”

George Cominskie is the former president of the Westbeth Artist Residents Council and a tireless advocate for landmarks in the Far West Village. Both are also Village Awardees and subjects of recently-released Village Preservation Oral Histories.

Christina Maile is a former landscape architect, playwright, printmaker, co-founder of the Westbeth Playwrights Feminist Collective, and a member of the original 1970 cohort of Westbeth. This conversation will no doubt be lively, full of memories, art, anecdotes, and reflections on Westbeth at 50.

Register for this free event at: Explore Village Preservation

Westbeth
Open House New York

WATCH ON YOUTUBE

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Link Here to Open House NY Video Tour of Westbeth

Experience newly filmed vignettes of Westbeth the largest artists community in the country.

Resident artists lead individual video journeys around this landmarked building.

History, architecture, the arts and artists of Westbeth , and visits to artists’ studios are all a part of this online series.

More info at Open House New York

Lorraine O’ Grady
Notes on a Translated Life

Lorraine O’Grady, “The Strange Taxi: From Africa to Jamaica to Boston in 200 Years,” (1991/2019) (all images courtesy the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston and the author)

The essay “NOTES on Living a Translated Life” by Lorraine O’Grady was first published in Boston’s Apollo, Thomas McKeller and John Singer Sargent, which accompanied the exhibition of the same name at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston. The exhibition is curated by Nathaniel Silver.

Excerpt from Notes on a Translated Life
by Lorraine O Grady

Published in Hypoallergic
October 11, 2020

I’ve been invited to reflect on Thomas McKeller, my father, Edwin O’Grady, and on Boston as the matrix of their lives, and asked to suggest how my photomontage The Strange Taxi might relate to them. Since our first discussions in January 2018 of the McKeller-Sargent exhibit, the Gardner Museum curator Nathaniel Silver and his team have uncovered much new documentary evidence of who McKeller might have been, how he might have lived. Our perceptions have become more refined and changed. I also have never thought about Edwin this much before. It’s been an evolutionary roller-coaster for me. The limits of the archive are severe. And when I try to picture Thomas and Edwin, two black immigrants to the city encountering it in the 1910s and ’20s — while simultaneously thinking about my own life growing up in Boston in the 1930s and ’40s (I was born in September 1934 and graduated from Girls’ Latin in 1951) — the myopia of childhood memory intersects with all the questions I didn’t ask my parents. Who, and why, do people leave? Who, and what, do they expect to find waiting for them?

A Wilmington, NC, newspaper notice in early 1912, less than a year after his father died, announcing a court-ordered “public auction for cash” of his brother’s (and his?) land to be held in just two weeks, must have been a red flag to Thomas. Surely he was aware of the uni- directional black-white land transfers now in full sway across the “Redeemed” South since Reconstruction had been successfully rolled back. He had so many reasons to want to leave.

In the first documents I open for him, which we have since found are inaccurate, McKeller’s World War I draft card gives 1892 as his birth year, while the discharge papers indicate a birth date of 1891. This strange discrepancy makes me try to account for it. In 1912, the age of majority was still twenty-one for males. It would not be reduced to eighteen until the 1970s. Had McKeller lied about his age just as my father, Edwin, had to join the army when he left Jamaica the first time? If Thomas were born in 1892, he would have to wait a year and a half after the auction to leave North Carolina. If he added one year, claimed he was born in 1891, he could be gone in six months.

Lorraine O’Grady’s yearbook photo, Girls’ Latin School, Boston, 1951
But what strikes me most on Thomas’s World War I draft card is the Registrar’s physical description: “Tall, medium, or short (specify one)?” Short. “Slender, medium, or stout (which)?” Medium.

It is disorienting. From the John Singer Sargent frontal nude painting of McKeller in Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, I’d imagined Thomas as tall and slender. The Registrar’s answers to Question One on the draft card force me to return to Sargent’s earlier drawings of him. Looking more closely, I can see that even a hundred years ago a body like Thomas’s was not accidental. It must have taken relentless work to make a delicate frame that strong. I recall the Charles Atlas “95 lb. weakling” ads filling the magazine, newspaper, and comic-book back-pages when I was growing up and want to laugh and cry at the same time. It’s not hard to see why Sargent drew inspiration from Thomas’s body for both his male and female forms.

No one knows the reasons why Thomas left the South; we still do not have definitive information. But the psychic pressures must have been enormous. Whether the inner battles were life preserving — the need to escape social and cultural suffocation, even fear for his physical life and of other depredation — or romantic (had he met someone?), turmoil made him brave. It took courage to leave when Thomas did. He left three to four years before the beginning of the Great Migration, before folk wisdom had accumulated on where you should go and what you should do when you got there. It took even greater courage when one considers that men like McKeller wouldn’t leave the South in large numbers until more than a quarter century later.

Historians now divide the Migration into two phases: The First Great Migration (1916–1940), in which 1.6 million African Americans moved from the South to Northern cities, especially in the industrial Midwest. In the Second Great Migration (1940–1970), another five million people, often more urban and skilled, as was Thomas himself, dispersed more broadly, from the Northeast to the West Coast. The two phases together are considered one of the largest internal migrations in world history, and the largest not prompted either by famine or threat of genocide. At the end of it, a primarily rural people had transformed itself into a people that was overwhelmingly urban.

But Thomas made the move alone. And what we actually know about his leaving is as sad as those words sound. In an “archive failure” as extreme as the one surrounding Thomas, the answer to almost every question seems to be: “We just don’t know.” Did he buy a one-way ticket to Boston? Was someone waiting for him there? Or did he stop first in Philly or New York and then leave because they didn’t suit him? Sadly, it doesn’t take long for so many we-don’t-knows to become one big No. The life soon appears like a blackboard that has been erased too often. What is now written there can be seen only faintly. But I have to hold on to what I feel I do know. Thomas left a home where he was deeply loved. His brother even named his first son after him. And Boston, like Granada, is where the train dies. The next stop would be the ocean.

According to the birthdate given on his World War II draft card, 1890, confirmed by later information, Thomas was eight years older than my father, Edwin, born in 1898. They were both in their early twenties when they landed in Boston. Thomas is first recorded in the city in 1913. Edwin came in 1919, weeks after being mustered out of the British West Indies Regiment when its Jamaican companies returned from Europe to Kingston.

The two had grown up in overwhelmingly black worlds — Edwin in a Jamaica roughly 95% black, Thomas in segregated North Carolina — and in tropical and subtropical climates. What must they have made of a place where the population was 98% white and snow fell from mid-November to mid-March? They would stay there the rest of their lives. But they had come to different cities, I think.

Father Edwin O’Grady, 1923, this photo for Edwin’s Naturalization “First Papers” application is signed with his original British-styled name at birth in Jamaica: Evelyn James O’Grady. After legally changing his name, his final Naturalization papers would be signed with the new name: Edwin James O’Grady.

Most emigrants seem to flee from as much as they flee to. In Edwin’s case, from an insupportable home life to a place where he might reinvent himself, where, somehow, he might make things turn out better than they would have been. But Thomas’s home, despite the Redeemers’ violent threats, seems to have been filled with love. Perhaps it was a love he could not accommodate? I sense him fleeing, not so much to reinvent himself, but to become more who he was. Edwin would be joining others who had done earlier what he was doing now. His older sister had been living in Boston since before the war, and he’d arranged to meet up with mates from his old school. Edwin knew where he would stay, and his mother would telegraph money until he found a job.

The Gardner’s research shows that Thomas McKeller had no family in Boston when he arrived, and that none would join him later. But it is silent on any social circle that may have awaited him or one he might have entered after settling there. Clearly Thomas got connected quickly. Not long after his arrival in 1913, we find him employed as a bellman at the Hotel Vendome, perhaps Boston’s most tastefully appointed and well-run hotel (the manager lived on the premises). This was hardly the easiest job to get. Turnover at the Vendome was low (my father had a friend from Jamaica who’d worked there for decades), and most of the employees were older. Then not many years later, in 1917, we see that Thomas has secured an added morning job, which nearly doubles his income, as John Singer Sargent’s model. He is twenty-five, in an alien city, but in the context of that time and place, he seems a young man who knows how to take care of himself.

Read the entire essay on Hyperallergic

Karen Ludwig
Someplace in the Sun
premieres Oct 6, 2020

HOW TO WATCH “SOMEPLACE IN THE SUN” on OCTOBER 6 at 8PM (EDT)

written and directed by Karen Ludwig
starring Laura Gardner and Frank Collison (courtesy of SAG-AFTRA)

JUST CLICK THIS LINK: https://youtu.be/oLNk6eodZ3E
(AND…it’s going to be available for the foreseeable future) !!!

Once a play performed at HB Playwright’s, has now been filmed during the pandemic directed remotely with a volunteer cast & crew.

Karen Ludwig- a Westbeth resident since 197-…known for work as an actor in the theater with Wally Shawn & Andre Gregory to Broadway with Joan Rivers, in films with Meryl Streep in Manhattan and Kevin Costner in 13 Days and TV as Ethyl Rosenberg in HBO’s Citizen Cohn & many episodics— to her 2017 solo show at Joe’s Pub-
with years of Westbeth performances with Shami Chaikin and Stories Around the Table, a director/teacher at HB Studio and the New School- now presents free access to the premiere of her new 7 minute film !

Susan Berger
Mid Hudson and
Albany exhibitions

2020 Exhibition by Artists of the Mohawk Hudson Region
Albany Institute of History and Art.
September 19, 2020 – January 3, 2021

Susan Berger. Cruise Ship Family Voyage

Celebrating its eighty-fourth year, the 2020 Exhibition by Artists of the Mohawk-Hudson Region, hosted by the Albany Institute of History & Art, highlights the work of the best visual artists in the region. This juried exhibition is sponsored jointly by the Albany Institute of History & Art, the University Art Museum, University at Albany, The Hyde Collection, Glens Falls, New York, and Albany Center Gallery. The exhibition is open to all visual artists residing within a 100-mile radius of the Capital District and Glens Falls.

Juried by Susan Cross, Senior Curator at MASS MoCA, the exhibition features 73 artists and 108 works ranging from paintings and drawings to prints, photography, collage, sculpture, textiles, and installation works. A catalogue of the exhibition will be available.

Plan your visit! Be sure to check out our Visit section for up-to-date information about timed tickets and new policies and procedures, such as wearing masks and practicing social distancing while at the museum.

More info: Albany Museum

Arts Mid Hudson, Poughkeepsie, NY
Online Exhibition,
“Look Back in Wonder”

Susan Berger
My Page from the Yearbook.

Look Back in Wonder is an online exhibit hosted by Arts Mid-Hudson and curated by Elisa Pritzker and Greg Slick.
Look Back in Wonder deals with the constant human quest through time and how artists respond to it. Whether personal, social or anthropological, the artists’ approach to the past through various media has one thing in common: who are we and where do we come from?

More info at

Susan Berger Bio

Susan Berger was born in New Haven, Ct and was educated at art school there. After receiving her certificate in fine arts received a scholarship at the Art Student’s League and later decided to go for a special certificate at the School of Visual Arts in film. She had exhibited at the Judson Church, which was known for reaching out to young artists living in lower Manhattan. She became very interested in using fiber and switching from the traditional art form of painting. She had lived in a small loft in “Little Italy” which was tenuous and learned of her acceptance to Westbeth Artist Complex in the Far West Village. She was 21 years of age and one of the pioneers of its beginnings in 1970. Susan did exhibit around the country of her tapestries, which was more accepting outside of New York City. Susan decided to pursue more academic studies, which was library school at Columbia. She became a school librarian for many years with New York City Board of Education until she retired in 2009. During the 1970s and 1980s she exhibited at Art Centers in Scottsbluff, NE, St Louis, MO, Springfield, IL, Scottsbluff, NE, Monterey, CA and Westport, CT. During the early 2000s, Susan participated in special fiber oriented national exhibitions like Blue Door Gallery in Yonkers, NY; Craft USA at the Silvermine Arts Center in New Canaan CT, and Monmouth Museum of found objects incorporated into fiber type work. Since she had a studio in Hudson Valley in NY and was honored in being accepted to special exhibitions in Albany and Glenn Falls, NY called Artists of the Mohawk Hudson Region and received special recognition of awards. She has been on special online exhibitions at White Columns called “Wise Child”, Ely Center for Contemporary Art; Arts Mid Hudson Gallery called “Look Back in Wonder.” Susan has been accepted at various Artists Residencies at Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans, LA, Brydcliffe Art Colony, Woodstock, NY; Hambridge Center for Arts, Hambridge, GA, Art Park, Lewiston, NY; Cummington Artist’s Community, Cummington MA and very early at the MacDowell Artist Colony, Peterborough, NH. Along the way, in helping her create more of her work she was honored by receiving grants such as Puffin Foundation, The Pollack-Krasner Foundation, Joan Mitchell Foundation and New York Foundation