On July 11, artists Jina Valentine and Heather Hart bring their project Black Lunch Table (BLT) to the lawn on the High Line at 22nd Street, to engage cultural workers who identify as part of the African Diaspora and members of the communities surrounding the High Line in meaningful conversation.
BLT is an ongoing collaboration between Hart and Valentine initiated in 2005 at the preeminent artist residency, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Imagining the lunch table as a discursive site where social connections are made, organizing is planned, social hierarchies revealed, and power dynamics played out, BLT provides a space to discuss critical issues. The ultimate goal is to give visibility and validate shared concerns through exchange, while strengthening the bonds within the nebulous artistic community, and the larger community of neighbors and visitors.
B.Y.O. (Bring Your Own) is a new series of intimate, unscripted conversations staged in public space. Hosted by artists who center their practice on food and dialogue, these events contribute to an exploration of critical thought, creative exchange, and discourse production. BYO is inaugurated this year with McKendree Key’s The Breakfast Den, Heather Hart and Jina Valentine’s The Black Lunch Table, and Elia Alba’s Supper Club.
At the People’s Table discussions address issues affecting historically disenfranchised populations beyond the single context of art. This session is open to neighbors and community members directly or loosely linked to the High Line. The People’s Table catalyzes candid conversations amongst a diversity of people, representing a variety of backgrounds, professions, ages and perspectives. The goal is to inspire new thinking around critical sociopolitical issues by cross-pollinating discourse and collecting the people’s’ history. Light lunch will be provided.
If you live or work on the neighborhood surrounding the High Line or are in any way connected to the High Line community, and want to participate in the discussion…RSVP Now
All conversations will be recorded and photographed, transcribed, and published—both as part of the Black Lunch Table online archive, and as a booklet that will be available later in the year published by the High Line. Check back for more information.
As part of their participation in B.Y.O. (Bring Your Own) conversation series, on Monday, July 9th, 5:00 – 8:00 pm on the High Line at 16th Street, The Black Lunch Table is holding a Wikipedia edit-a-thon. In it BLT will mobilize the creation and improvement of a specific set of Wikipedia articles that pertain to the lives and works of Black artists. More information can be found
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
The Black Lunch Table (BLT) is an ongoing collaboration between Chicago-based artist and SAIC Assistant Professor Jina Valentine and New York-based public artist Heather Hart. First staged in 2005 at the preeminent artist residency Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, it has since taken the forms of audio archiving sessions, salons, peer teaching workshops, meetups and Wikipedia edit-a-thons. BLT has been hosted by the Brooklyn Museum, MoMA, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, Creative Time Summit, the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans, among others. BLT was awarded a 2016 Creative Capital Grant, a Digital Innovation Lab Fellowship from Institute for Arts and Humanities at UNC Chapel Hill, and an Artist Community Engagement Grant from the Rema Hort Foundation. Hart received her MFA from Rutgers University and Valentine received her MFA from Stanford University.
High Line Programs are supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Council, under the leadership of Speaker Corey Johnson.