New Pledge of Allegiance Rooted in Historical Truth and Inclusion

N ovember 2, 2020. New York City. Bronx-based conceptual artist Tasha Dougé, is releasing her timely work I Pledge Allegiance , a reinterpretation of the Pledge of Allegiance on the eve of the US Presidential election.This new performance is a followup to Dougé’s 2016 work “This Land is OUR Land” an American flag made out of black hair, chicken wire and cotton, she refers to as “Justice.”

Quoted in the New York Times about the piece, Dougé says “ I want people to see the amount of labor and the level of commitment that is needed when striving for justice. And there are so many more layers to explore because she speaks to many facets of our existence and exploitation.” This performance builds off of the momentum and the message behind “Justice” by giving her a voice…the voice of Tasha Dougé.

The performance begins with Tasha describing what she will no longer pledge allegiance to, while listing off detailed historical context as to why. P ointing out the many hypocrisies and atrocities suffered at the hands of white supremacy, the re-imagined pledge of allegiance demands not only that the nation holds itself accountable to its claims but that it also acknowledges and atones for its horrid past and present. Tasha beautifully describes that we cannot move forward without acknowledging the past and present harm and also highlights the continued presence of resistance and resilience. Dougé offers us a new pledge. A pledge that will create a new outcome that includes us all.

The Healing Dome Project by Dr.Drum

T he Healing Dome is a sound/vibration listening station designed for relaxation, releasing stress and mental wellness. It includes a pop up tent, sound chamber, padded mat and a Bomba Drum. The Bomba Drum produces sounds that correlates with frequencies that impact the Brain and Body Cells. The sounds are transmitted through a 6 foot 18-inch diameter tunnel produced by the Bomba Drum and Bomba Practitioner to the participant laying in the Dome. A process of various drum strokes/vibrations combined with Yuba or Cuembé “Bomba rhythms” designed to energize participants.

MoMA PopRally x The Bronx: Beauteous

P opRally ad the Andrew Freedman Home Beauteous, a site-specific, immersive theatrical presentation of the original play by Craig muMS Grant. Beauteous explores issues of perception, community branding, and the dynamics of hype, incorporating narratives of LGBTQ subculture, rap, hip-hop, and DJing to reflect the cultural evolution of the Bronx. Guests will experience an imagined urban future through theatrical vignettes, musical performances, and art installations set amid the faded glamor of a Gilded Age mansion located on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx. The evening will commence with food and music in the garden and culminate in a rooftop party with DJ sets. September 2019

“Re-Writing History” with Fabiola Jean Louis at The Andrew Freedman Home

R e-Writing History: A Black Ancestral Narrative” is an exhibition by Fabiola Jean-Louis on display at The Andrew Freedman Home until June 29th, 2019

This mini-documentary explores the history and 
mission of The Andrew Freedman Home, a landmark Italianate villa built in the 1920s and restored in recent years as a vital community space for the South Bronx; and features a conversation between resident artist Fabiola Jean-Louis and singer/performer Helga Davis (WQXR) about the series of photographs and sculptural paper constructions currently displayed in the “Re-Writing History” exhibition. Video produced by Awen Films for Alessandro Cassin.

Visual Activism and Women in the Art

A rtists Fabiola Jean-Louis, Vanessa German, and Ayana V. Jackson discussed visual activism, and the role of history and identity in their work. Moderated by Elia Alba. 

These three artists discussed the common themes and overlapping narratives in their work. Through photography, multi-media installations, sculpture, and film, they explore historical and contemporary social issues: racism, immigration, and social unrest, often connecting threads of the past to realities of the present. In each artist’s work, women of color play a powerful role as both transformative force and spiritual presence.

P ress: Widewalls:  Women of Graffiti, Street Art and Hip Hop Culture Gathered in a Unique Group Show by Elena Martinique – October 21, 2019

The Andrew Freedman Home now celebrates these women with a group show curated by Alice Mizrachi. Titled Evolution, the exhibition chronicles the progression of women artists with roots in graffiti, street art and/or hip hop culture who have flourished across decades. This is a truly unique opportunity to see works by artists such as Lady PinkMartha CooperIndie 184, Queen Andrea, Erotica 67, Jenevieve, Jane Dickson, Janette Beckman, Miss VanVexta, Imagine, Pau Quintanajornet, Herakut, Nani Chacon, Diana McClure, Lady K-Fever, Sarah C. Rutherford and Swoon – all at one venue.” Elena Martinique

P ress: White Hot Magazine:  Review: Natalie Collette Wood “Splendour” at Freight+Volume by By Anna Scola – September, 2019

“Natalie Collette Wood’s new body of work questions how the spaces we inhabit and the stories we are told become an intrinsic part of who we become. Through this series of collages, Splendour at New York City’s Freight+Volume examines the transcendental quality of memory and history.”

B ronx Borough Night | The Andrew Freedman Home Tour hosted by Troy Press with NYCFC defender Sebastien Ibeagha – April 23, 2019

To celebrate this first Borough Night of 2019, NYCFC in-stadium host Troy Press took defender Sebastien Ibeagha on a tour of the Andrew Freedman Home: A historic building in the shadow of Yankee Stadium which serves as an interdisciplinary artist residency, incubator space, workforce development and community service hub for the Bronx community. Freedman Home Director Walter E Puryear III, artist Kelly “LuzeOne” Covington and Brazilian rapper Eli Efi & Phes are our guides as Seb and Troy learn more about the history of this incredible building, as well as the exciting future ahead and the role NYCFC plays in the community.

P ress: amNew York:  Arts hub’s $1.7M grant will help restore historic mansion and ‘revitalize’ Bronx neighborhood by Sarina Trangle – August 1, 2018

In 2012, five years after the MBSCC’s own adult home closed in the landmarked mansion, the space was transformed into a cultural art center. After operating on a roughly $700,000 annual budget, the home is now slated to receive $1.7 million in state funding for infrastructure improvements that will open swaths of currently uninhabitable space.

“This really should be something that helps revitalize this part of the Bronx … that serves both the neighborhood and the larger community — that’s what we’re looking to do,” said MBSCC’s executive director Jeanette Puryear, noting the home is looking to secure more funding. “It’s going to need more than $1.7 million.”

P ress: The New York Times:  What to See in New York Galleries This Week by Roberta Smith & Martha Schwendener – June 1, 2017

“Nicole Fleetwood became interested in prison art in the 1990s after her 18-year-old cousin was sentenced to life in prison, according to a wall text in “State Goods: Art in the Era of Mass Incarceration” at the Andrew Freedman Home. Now Ms. Fleetwood, a Rutgers University professor, and Walter E. Puryear, executive director of the Andrew Freedman Home, have organized this terrific exhibition of art by those currently or formerly incarcerated” Martha Schwendener 

P ress: IndieWire:  ‘The Get Down’: How Baz Luhrmann and Flash Recreated Hip-Hop in the Bronx by Bill Desowitz – June 1, 2017

“Then came location scouting. But because the South Bronx has changed so drastically, Murphy and the team had little to choose from. They managed to use St. Mary’s Park in Mott Haven and the Andrew Freedman Home on the Grand Concourse. “It has a lot of history,” said Murphy. “We used the interior and exterior and put graffiti all over it and made it into an abandoned-looking squat.” Bill Desowitz

P ress: Gothamist:  Bobcat Stew & A Human Chalice: Inside NYC’s Wildest Dinner Party by Jake Offenhartz – May 15, 2017

“It’s been raining for nearly 24 hours when I arrive Saturday night at the gates of the Andrew Freedman Home, a sprawling mansion in the South Bronx. A former senior center, the mysterious estate has been described by the NY Times as “the Grand Concourse’s grandest building” and, later, following years of decay, “like I was in ‘The Shining.” Tonight, the venue plays host to a bizarre sort of supper club: The Annual Bronx Pipe Society Small Game Dinner.

Photo Credit: Times Herald Record

P ress: Times Herald-Record:  Photographer’s Iraq images tell award-winning story – May 4, 2017

Photographs taken in Mosul, Iraq, by Byron Smith of Warwick will be on display May 6-June 15 at the New York Public Library’s Mid-Manhattan branch, 455 Fifth Avenue. Smith has been freelancing for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the NY Daily News since 2011. Additionally, Smith won a 2017 Photography Fellowship from En Foco for his photojournalistic work in Mosul. An exhibit of six images from Mosul will be on display at the Andrew Freedman Home 1125 Grand Concourse, Bronx, May 19-June 17.

Photo Credit: Conde Nast Traveler

P ress: Condé Nast Traveler:  What to Do in the Bronx, According to Locals by Billie Cohen – April 25, 2017

Walk through the halls of a landmarked mansion with a very strange history, the Andrew Freedman Home. “Commissioned in the early 20th century to resemble an Italian palace, guests could live there for free, forever, and be treated to all amenities on one very odd condition,” says Goodman. “You had to prove you were at one time a millionaire who was now destitute. It lasted from 1922 to approximately 1970, and then the endowment Freedman had left expired.” Today, the landmarked mansion serves as a community arts hub, and there’s even a bed and breakfast.

Photo by Samia Bouzid.

P ress: The Riverdale Press:  Musicians get together for jam sessions at Andrew Freedman Home by Samia Bouzid – April 3, 2017

P ress: Photography student’s heartfelt Bronx project lands her EnFoco recognition by Isabella Bruni – March 29, 2017

“Abigail’s photographic work on the Bronx is one of the most beautiful and sensitive documentations of a neighborhood that I have ever seen,” Belenna Lauto, professor and chairperson for the department of art and design said. “Her love of humanity is present in every image and her work makes us feel her passion as well as the beauty of those she photographs.”  

Honorees Hank Willis Thomas and Jack Shainman with No Longer Empty co-founder Manon Slome at the No Longer Empty benefit. Courtesy of Whitney Browne/No Longer Empty.

P ress: artnet news:  The Week in Art: The Frick Ball, Guggenheim Meets 1800 Tequila by Sarah Cascone – March 25, 2017

The art world headed north to the Bronx on March 21, as the Andrew Freedman Home, a retirement home-turned-cultural hub, played host to the third annual gala for No Longer Empty, which brings contemporary art to unexpected spaces. The venue had been the site of No Longer Empty’s 2012 exhibition “This Side of Paradise.”


P ress: Creators:  Off-Limits Historical Sites Reopened for a Real New York Weekend by Andrew Nunez – November 3, 2016

Heading up to the Bronx, the former home of 19th century New York businessman Andrew Freedman became another venue of cultural exploration during the weekend event. Unlike The Black Lady Theatre, Andrew Freedman’s home is still active today functioning as an emerging art space that hosts a number of artists-in-residence, rather than as a business magnate’s permanent residence. For OHNY WEEKEND, the work of the artists-in-residence was on display, accompanied by performances from Bronx Afro Caribbean rhythmic music group BombaYo.

Photo Credit:Photo: Whitney Browne, courtesy of No Longer Empty

P ress: New York Magazine:  Because a Former Retirement Home for Bankrupt Millionaires is about to become “the BAM of the Bronx” by Mark Jacobson – December 13, 2015

Andrew Freedman (1860–1915) lived the life Donald Trump might have had if he was a late-19th-century Gilded Age real-estate boy genius in league with the all-powerful Tammany Hall political machine. A pre-tax millionaire by age 30, Freedman dispensed the patronage for the building of the IRT, New York’s first subway line. In 1895, he bought the New York Giants baseball team, becoming the first in a long line of hated New York sports-franchise overlords. Baseball historian Bill James called him “George Steinbrenner on Quaaludes with a touch of Al Capone.” But then, near the end of his life, perhaps chastened by losses in the crash of 1907, Freedman did a very unTrump thing.

P ress: WELCOME2THEBRONX:  Exhibition Explores The Complexities of Dominican and Haitian Relations Through Art by Ed Garcia Conde – October 9, 2015

Tonight at the Andrew Freedman Home from 6pm to 9pm ‘La Lucha II DOM & HTI: Visions of Tomorrow, One Island’ opens up and continues the conversation it began earlier this year on the complex relationship between two countries that have similar shared histories and an island: Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The exhibition brings aboard 15 artists from the original exhibition and an additional 13 to create this dialogue through various artistic mediums such as sculpture, painting, video, screen printing, and photography which focuses on the aspect of immigration.

P ress: GOOD BLACK NEWS:  “Fall of The Kings” by Mai Sennaar Opens Tonight at Historic Andrew Freedman Home in the Bronx by Lori Lakin Hutcherson – September 5, 2015

Bronx, NY – Designated as a New York City Historic Landmark, the Andrew Freedman Home, a vibrant location for arts and culture, is revitalizing the artistic landscape of the Bronx, New York.  On September 5, New York University alumni and producer Walter E. Puryear will mount “The Fall of the Kings,” a new American drama set in the 1940s.
The play tells the story of an African-American heiress and her Caribbean (Cuban) husband fighting to sustain their family in the midst of an economic disaster. Described by the New York Times as “exactly the sort of place…that contemporary arts dreams are made of” the venue carries an undeniable palatial air and encompasses over 100,000 square feet.

P ress: YouTube:  Mai Sennaar x Walter Puryear from “The Fall of the Kings” on The Show hosted by Craig Stokes – August 26, 2015

P ress: The Baltimore Sun:  Baltimore playwright gearing up for premiere in the Bronx by Tim Smith – August 3, 2015

Baltimore-born and -raised playwright Mai Sennaar is gearing up for a significant new step in her blossoming career. The world premiere of Sennaar’s ambitious drama “The Fall of the Kings” will be held Sept. 5 at one of the New York City’s historic landmarks, the Andrew Freedman Home in the Bronx. The plot of “The Fall of the Kings” involves “a former field hand from the Caribbean who marries into the family at a time when the patriarch is dying,” Sennaar says, “and he has a confrontation with the patriarch’s attorney. The play is about class and differences within the diaspora, about colorism within the African American community. The issues are very complicated.”

Jose Ortiz, a Puerto Rican bomba musician known as “Dr. Drum,” playing during a blessing ceremony at the Andrew Freedman Home in the Bronx.Credit…David Gonzalez/The New York Times

P ress: The New York Times:  A Beat Calls Puerto Ricans to Their African Roots by David Gonzalez – June 7, 2015

Jose Ortiz stood on the steps of the Andrew Freedman Home on the Grand Concourse, a gorgeous Bronx palazzo bathed in sunshine, his barrel drum by his side. Before him, on the lawn, a circle of people gathered, passing a calabash or sage leaves as they blessed one another. As the faint scent of gardenia and lavender wafted through the air, Mr. Ortiz straddled his drum and played.

This was not a performance. It was life. In his case, this instrument of wood, metal and hide had transformed him into Dr. Drum, a man on a mission to reconnect Puerto Ricans with their roots, not just on their island, but in Africa. He is a leader of BombaYo, a troupe that plays bomba, one of Puerto Rico’s traditional musical forms.

P ress: New York Daily News:  Online directory Bronx 200 designed to connect Bronx artists by Denis Slattery – December 15, 2014

“I hope that it encourages people to come to the Bronx to experience the changing environment,” said Walter Puryear of the Mid-Bronx Senior Citizens Council, which owns the historic Andrew Freedman Home. “It will make it easier to access artists from the Bronx.”

P ress: artnet news:  Terence Gower Finds a Use for Modernism by Blake Gopnik – October 29, 2014

P ress: DNAinfo:  DJ Kool Herc Kicks Off Fine Arts Exhibit in The Bronx by Eddie Small – October 22, 2014

The man who pioneered hip-hop is helping local artists build The Bronx’s reputation for another art form. DJ Kool Herc will rock the mic Oct. 24 at “Quintessential,” a new exhibit by TAG Public Arts Projectfeaturing fine art pieces from across the borough. The group, which has already been working on creating murals, will display more than 30 pieces from artists such as J. “SinXero” Beltran, James “Sexer” Rodriguez, Luis “Zimad” Lamboy, John “Crash” Matos and COPE2.

Tammy Wofsey, among the 80 artists featured in the photography exhibit “The Bronx Artist Documentary Project,” unrolls one of her linoleum-cut prints.Credit…Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

P ress: The New York Times:  At Work in a Bronx That Brims With Creativity by Winnie Hu – September 15, 2014

A new photography exhibit at the Andrew Freedman Home on the Grand Concourse highlights this growing Bronx arts community. Called “The Bronx Artist Documentary Project,” the exhibit, which runs through Oct. 8, features the work of 30 photographers who recorded 80 artists as they engaged in their creative process over the past year.

Participants in the Bronx Artist Documentary Project in front of Andrew Friedman House in the Bronx. VIOREL FLORESCU

P ress: The Riverdale Press:  Bold show celebrates Bronx-bred art by Tanisia Morris – September 10, 2014

Both Ms. Allan, 51, and Mr. Fass, 56, are participating in the Bronx Artist Documentary Project, a borough-wide collaboration that brings together 80 Bronx-based visual artists and 30 photographers, who are tasked with documenting local artists as they work in their studios. In celebration of the Bronx centennial, photographs from the project will be presented in a show opening on Saturday at the Andrew Freedman Home.

P ress: DNAinfo:  Bronx Hosting its First Fashion Week in Historic Freedman Home by Eddie Small – September 3, 2014

P ress: Tech.Co:  Mass Mosaic Hosts a Hit Festival in the Bronx by Amanda Quick – August 18, 2014

Jameson and Doriean hosted an open event for the public called the “Bronx Pop-Up Festival” at the 60,000-square-foot Andrew Freedman Complexin the Bronx, NY. According to the cofounders, this was a great location to start because it’s home to many first-generation low-income families who are highly capable, but have a hard time living in abundance due to limited opportunities in the neighborhood and communication challenges. This complex is providing educational, creative, and employment resources that Mass Mosaic saw an opportunity to amplify.

The Canadian artist Terence Gower, who often works in Mexico, has built  “SuperPuesto,” an open-air pavilion in the garden of the Andrew Freedman Home, a city-owned former retirement residence across Grand Concourse from the museum.Credit…Emon Hassan for The New York Times

P ress: The New York Times:  Even Utopian Citizens Like to Leave the House – ‘Beyond the Supersquare’ Looks at South American Modernism by Holland Cotter – July 24, 2014

P ress: Curbed New York:  Discover 10 of New York’s Most Charming Bed and Breakfasts by Jessica Dailey – March 26, 2014

The Andrew Freedman Home on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx isn’t exactly the most convenient of accommodations in New York City, but it’s one of the most interesting. The grand French and Italian Renaissance-style building opened in 1924 as a private residence for the elderly and remained that way until 1984 when escalating costs forced it to close. Today, the landmark complex is an arts and cultural community center that offers five programs through the Andrew Freedman Complex Initiatives, including a 10-room bed-and breakfast called Freedman on the Concourse. The rooms pay homage to the building’s 1920 heritage and feature lovingly restored furniture that was original to the house. Guests can visit the library and three event spaces, two of which host revolving art exhibits.

P ress: Untapped Cities:  The Andrew Freedman House in the Bronx by Lynn Lieberman – May 28, 2013

Getting off the B train at 167th Street and The Grand Concourse, you are greeted by the same wall of advertising and graffiti as in any other station in this City.  These days it’s all things vintage, with a view toward the era of the 1920s – the gilded age of glamour and excess when the homes being built could be as big as a city block – The Schwab Mansion at 50,000 square feet, Senator William Andrews Clark’s home with its 121 rooms and 31 bathrooms, the Cornelius Vanderbilt II mansion which is now Bergdorfs. 

“There’s a transformation going on in the Bronx,” said Marcia Fingal of the Mid-Bronx Senior Citizens Council, which owns the Andrew Freedman hotel.Credit…Yana Paskova for The New York Times

P ress: The New York Times:  Can Bronx Be a Destination? The Hope Is for Nights at a Time by Winnie Hu – February 18, 2013

The Andrew Freedman, a faded landmark named after the philanthropist who commissioned it, was reinvented in December as an upscale 10-room hotel charging between $130 and $250 for a night’s stay in the heart of a borough that is better known for crippling poverty and crime than tourism. And though it has struggled to draw guests, it is part of a crop of new hotels planned for the Bronx in the next few years that seeks to bring Manhattan-style comforts, at lower prices, to a borough that many visitors have historically overlooked — if not avoided.

Walter Puryear, Project Manager at the Andrew Freeman Home in one of the Bed & Breakfast rooms for artists and tourists. (Norman Y. Lono/for New York Daily News)

P ress: New York Daily News:  Old Bronx mansion turned haven for former socialites gets partial makeover as bed & breakfast by Tanyanika Samuels – December 7, 2012

“Each room has its own characteristic look and feel,” said Princess Alexander of the Mid Bronx Senior Citizens Council, the non profit that operates the guest rooms. “We wanted to have all the rooms with the same set up as they had in the early 1930s. Since it is a landmark building, we tried to keep some of the feel of that time period.”

P ress: New York Daily News:  Old Bronx mansion turned haven for former socialites gets partial makeover as bed & breakfast by Tanyanika Samuels – December 7, 2012

Given its nomadic nature, weaving in and out of neighborhoods and communities throughout New York City, the No Longer Empty team inhabits the space in which each project is produced, which is precisely the reason Ms. Hersson-Ringskog and I met at the Bronx’s own Andrew Freedman Home — a place for old folks who’d lost their fortunes to sustain their lavish lifestyles — and the setting for NLE’s current exhibition, This Side of Paradise.

P ress: Hyperallergic:  Rediscovering Paradise in the Bronx by Allison Meier – May 3, 2012

The curious history of a former retirement home for wealthy elderly people fallen on hard times and the contemporary Bronx community now surrounding that home provide rich material for the 32 artists in No Longer Empty’s current exhibit, This Side of Paradise. Sharing its name with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s first novel, which follows the trials of a man seeking and losing love, wealth and status, This Side of Paradise inhabits the Andrew Freedman Home on the Grand Concourse, a stately structure sitting behind a fence and broad lawn.