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The plaza area in front of The Africa Center facing Central Park

The plaza area in front of The Africa Center facing Central Park

One Museum Mile, a Robert A.M. Stern building, was built to house The Museum for African Art and 100 luxury condos that sit above.  While the condo portion of the building vigorously moved forward in sales, the museum’s efforts were stalled and the street level space has remained unfinished.  Recent efforts to rethink the project have sprung to life with a new Board, new philosophy, creative Chief Financial Officer and a new name–The Africa Center.

We were pleased to attend “Meet The Africa Center” on September 20th, a colorful one day event at the northern tip of Central Park at 110th Sreet on Fifth Avenue. The event provided visitors a glimpse into what’s in store for the museum, with an anticipated opening date in 2016.  The stunning interior space is still unfinished but we were greeted by a colorful ball hanging from the ceiling measuring sixteen feet in diameter.

Artwork by Lynn Lieberman The Africa Center will occupy the space located at One Museumm Mile in Harlem

Artwork by Lynn Lieberman
The Africa Center will occupy the space located at One Museumm Mile in Harlem

The beautiful piece was created by Beninese artist Meschac Gaba and is striped with segments of the flags of every country in the world.  A new sound installation by Nigerian artist Emeka Ogboh  surrounded us as we moved from the cadmium yellow traditional Danfo bus of Lagos to the West African Photo Booth.

Beninese artist Meschac Gaba's 'Citoyen du Monde' hangs in the middle of The Africa Center's atrium

Beninese artist Meschac Gaba’s ‘Citoyen du Monde’ hangs in the middle of The Africa Center’s atrium

The Africa Center had an impressive day of events which also included performances by the Dance Theatre of Harlem and musical presentations by OkayAfrica. There were African-influenced tastings by Alexander Smalls – The Cecil and Marcus Samuelsson – Harlem Eat Up, and screenings of ONE’s inspirational film, The Power of Protest Music.  The evening concert was a special edition of the Festival-in-Exile, a solidarity event hosted in conjunction with The Timbuktu Renaissance initiative.

The unfinished interior space of The Africa Center

The unfinished interior space of The Africa Center

Interior view from the front door

Interior view from the front door

Model of the Museum space which occupies part of the ground level at One Museum Mile

Model of the Museum space which occupies part of the ground level at One Museum Mile

With their new Board, which includes New York’s own Chelsea Clinton, The Africa Center is slated to open in 2016, aiming to provide a gateway for engagement between Africa, New York City and the world.

Meet the Africa Center was held on September 20th. Anticipated opening in 2016.

Meet the Africa Center was held on September 20th. Anticipated opening in 2016.

You can also follow The Africa Center on Facebook and Twitter.

Contact the author at AFineLyne

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