"We are Queensbridge"
In the 1930s, New York City began building public housing to provide low and middle-income families with affordable homes. In the 1970s, the City could no longer afford to care for the apartment buildings and they fell into disrepair. Today, the City's public housing is synonymous with poverty, drugs, gangs and violence.
The Josephine Herrick Project's "F-Stop Project" uses photography to empower communities along New York City's F subway line. For 9 months in 2019, I was an artist-in-residence with the "F-Stop Project." I taught photography to over 150 youth, seniors and English language learners at the Jacob Riis Settlement House in the Queensbridge Public Housing Project in Long Island City, New York. The Queensbridge Houses have their own designated subway stop on the F line.
While working with the community, I made portraits of my students, their friends and their family. I met people eager to share their life experiences, hard-working parents and grandparents and young people with dreams and aspirations.
At the end of the residency, I curated a public community-wide exhibition of over 130 large-scale photographs made by my students. Entitled "We Are Queensbridge," the exhibition was hung throughout the Queensbridge Houses and in neighboring Queensbridge Park. Together, the images portray a diverse, compassionate and sympathetic community striving to overcome the challenges confronting public housing.
g Island City, New York. Home to over 5,000 people, the Queensbridge Houses are the largest public housing project in the nation.
In October 2019, I curated a community-wide exhibition of over 130 large-scale vinyl photographic murals that were hung through the Queensbridge Houses and neighboring Queensbridge Park. Entitled "We Are Queensbridge," the exhibition enabled the community to project an image of itself free from the stereotypes that often define public housing project residents.