Once poor, black/Latinx ignored and blighted, the Bronx is one of the more recent frontiers of gentrification of real estate and culture in New York City.
As gentrification always occurs, much of the slow but steady physical redevelopment and investment into New York City's northern most borough is done with the assumption that what is new and arriving is innately better and more valuable than that which already existed. Longtime and lifelong Bronx residents who endured the roughest of times for the region are now feeling external pressures on their community amidst a wave of "betterment" which is not particularly "meant" for them.
However, as blackness always does, it resists. Native-Bronx resident, Erin Hylton, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, is using her expertise in fine arts to connect creatives in the Bronx with one another, while simultaneously illuminating the substance of their talents for their public.
Through her website, ArtEdgeNYC.com, Erin allows for artists to learn about new events, receive recaps on past exhibits, and learn about artistic interests outside of New York City. We recently caught up with Erin to learn more about her journey as a Bronx-native, fine arts professional and blogger. Enjoy.
For those who aren't familiar, what is the objective of Art Edge and what are some of the types of exhibitions or events that your blog produces?
Art Edge is a curated experience of happenings in the arts, cultural and inspiration fields in New York City and abroad. The blog aims to shed light on design, style, or arts & culture. Led by images and experiences that inspire and fuel the creative, the blog is always mindful of art as a tool for social justice. The blog seeks to give a platform to a variety of voices in the creative community.
When did you start ArtEdge and what sparked you to create a content blog like this?
The blog began soon after I graduated undergrad, in the Winter of 2010! I found that there was great work happening that was not being covered or written about from my perspective as a black woman in the creative industry from the Bronx, and I wanted to share my viewpoint.
LtoR: First curated exhibition : "Color Between the Lines" by Artist Jonathan Joseph and Santtu Mustonen: NYCB Art Series 2017
You're from the Bronx, which is a large and diverse borough. How has the level of opportunity and achievement changed over the last 4-5 years within the various artist communities of the Bronx?
There is a unity in the artist community that has been a reaction to many issues affecting our borough, from the economic downturn in the early 2010s to the economic development boom that has been pricing out artists in the Bronx. Artists are creating economic incubators and community gathering experiences . The Bronx continues to be a dynamic place for collaboration and action.
What is the most recent and impressive art exhibit or event you have experienced and/or covered? What about the event was so rememberable and impressive?
The window and the breaking of the window at The Studio Museum in Harlem has been a remarkable experience because it is a powerful and important example of art and its connection to social justice.
Artists not only tell a story, they often uncover truths about society and capture history in an impressive way. There is a beauty and tragedy in the works because they show the raw and brave story of America from a black lens.
"[Art Egde] is always mindful of art as a tool for social justice. The blog seeks to give a platform to a variety of voices in the creative community."
What's next for ArtEdge? What are some major initiatives you are working on?
Currently working with a colleague centered on translating power in art institutions, specifically for those of languages other than English. We are focused on the experience of multilingual audiences in art spaces and how institutions present their work to those audiences.
Moderated panel on "Caribbeanness Expressed Through the Lens of Arts and Culture" featuring Suhaly Bautista-Carolina, Carlos Jesus Martinez Dominguez, Tiffani Knowles, Stephanie Cunnigham,Ni Sandy and Candance Thompson
What's is it exactly you want your blog and content to add to the lives and perspectives of your audience?
For the audience, I hope the content adds another layer of perspective, specifically about who can and is producing content. Hopefully it adds an interest in trying a gallery, listening to an artist or viewing a work that is unfamiliar. I wish to broaden the canon of what is art, who is an artist and where art can be viewed. Art is for everyone!
What's your favorite app/platform to use when it comes to the management and development of ArtEdge?
Erin Hylton is the founder of ArtEdgeNYC.com. Based out of the Bronx, Erin covers the work of local fine artists as well as sharing and curating the artistic events open to NYC-art lovers and emerging creatives. You can follow Erin Hylton on Twitter at @artactivist_ekh.
Medvis Jackson is a co-founder of The Digilogue and the curator at Kulchah and avid cricket fan. You can follow him @medvisjackson for his random thoughts. He primarily covers startup, tech and small business ecosystems and resources.