Year founded: 2009
Organiser: Harlem Biennale


Harlem Biennale is an international contemporary arts event located in Harlem and Upper Manhattan. It brings together artists, curators, educators and the public from Harlem, New York and around the world, to connect with the history, geography and diverse communities of Harlem through innovative explorations in contemporary art.

Combining a focus on Harlem and Upper Manhattan with socially engaged artistic practices, Harlem Biennale creates a platform for cultural production and dialogue on urgent issues for the local and global community. It’s model for cultural production is based in community engagement and collaborations between local and international artists to create a space for ongoing curatorial and educational programs, exhibitions, performances, and artist residencies culminating in the bi-annual event.

Harlem Biennale was founded in 2009 by a group of Harlem residents lead by artist Edward Hillel. Their vision is inspired by Harlem’s rich history. With its traditions of welcoming the world’s diasporas and challenging social norms, as well as its prominence as a Black and Latino Mecca, Harlem is a natural platform for the future of innovative American art.

Harlem’s cultural vitality can bring together diverse sectors into new dynamic partnerships and nourish future generations. With Harlem Biennale’s focus on showcasing place and stimulating the international exchange of current arts practices, the contemporary art biennial is the ideal framework to launch a second sustainable Harlem Renaissance.

Harlem Biennale is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization as a partner program of the Fund for the City of New York.

Board of Directors

– Leah Abraham
– Raphael Benavides<
– Edward Hillel
– Beatrice Sibblies
– Mark Smith
– Maxim Thorne

Curatorial Advisors 2009-2010
Ami Barak, Isabel Carlos, Catherine David, David Driskell, Brent Edwards, Jiyoon Lee, Alanna Lockward, Gabi Ngcobo,  Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, Bisi Silva, Claire Tancons, Barbara Vandelinden, Deborah Willis