Original document found at Andrew Freedman Home, inside welcome packet for new residents, c. 1960

in collaboration with Carmen Julia Hernandez
April 4 – June 5, 2012

In the 1930s, during the heyday of the upscale Andrew Freedman Home, a retirement community for the formerly wealthy on the Grand Concourse in the South Bronx, residents self-organized affairs by committee, which included the Plant Care, Menu, Reading-Discussion, and Game Room committees.

To connect the past with the present, and to bring the community now living in the surrounding neighborhood into the Andrew Freedman Home, Activity Committee resurrected the committee system, including the Welcome Committee, the Bird, Plant & Fish Committee, the Eating Committee, the Entertainment Committee, the Games Committee, The Tea Committee, the Reading-Discussion Committee, the Sculpture Committee and the Committee Ideas Committee.

Activity Committee headquarters were in a room on the ground floor with chairs and tables, and historical materials posted on the wall along with a calendar. Anything we found, created, or thought about during our activities went on display. Exhibition visitors, community groups, and workers were invited to use the space. The space also included a suggestion box and a lost and found.

See activitycommittee.tumblr.com for a photo diary of the project.

Contributing artists:
Bobby DeJesus
Martine Fougeron
Kathleena Howie-Garcia
Edwin Gonzalez-Ojeda

Activity Committee was part of the exhibition This Side of Paradise, curated and organized by No Longer Empty and generously hosted by the Mid-Bronx Senior Citizens Council.

ACTIVITY COMMITTEE WAS MADE POSSIBLE WITH PUBLIC FUNDS FROM THE BRONX COUNCIL ON THE ARTS THROUGH THE NEW YORK CITY DEPARTMENT OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS GREATER NEW YORK ARTS DEVELOPMENT FUND REGRANTS PROGRAM, BRONX BOROUGH PRESIDENT RUBEN DIAZ, JR. AND THE BRONX DELEGATION OF THE CITY COUNCIL.

Activity Committee on Andrew Freedman Home steps, core group. Photo: Lisa Kahane

Activity Committee was designed primarily for groups already associated with the Andrew Freedman Home, and for communities drawn from the immediate neighborhood. Many of the core group of artists involved are educators, many born in the Bronx, and all live in the borough.

Participants included students from adult ESL and Head Start classes from the lower level of the building, seniors from Mid-Bronx Concourse Plaza center, students from International Community High School, audiences of the Bronx Children’s Museum, children from BronxWorks and P.S. 114, children from the neighborhood, No Longer Empty staff and Mid-Bronx maintenance staff. Exhibition goers were also welcome to join.