On April 4th 2012, the idle Andrew Freedman Home will open to the public. The home, once a haven for wealthy senior citizens set on living in the lap of luxury for the remainder of their lives, will now be repurposed as the site for This Side of Paradise, an immersive art exhibition presented by the non-profit organization No Longer Empty. New life will be breathed into the ballroom, mahogany-paneled library, and 14-foot ceilings of the Italian Palazzo-style building, which has been out of use since the 1980s. NLE’s project connects the visions of the past to the new ideas of working artists from across the US, and by that redefining the site to fit the realities of the Bronx today. For the two months following the opening, the venue will also host cultural events responding to issues such as the history of wealth and poverty in the city, immigration, memories, and all things referencing the significance of the home.
The 32 or so artists involved will use a variety of media on the empty canvas that is the Andrew Freedman Home. “Some of the artistic responses to the space including where artists have repurposed furniture and found objects for their installation, compel us to confront the inequalities of our time but also the strength of the human spirit to overcome adversity” says Manon Slome curator of This Side of Paradise. In addition, the extensive cultural and educational programming that will accompany the exhibition is not limited to theater performances, cooking classes, film screenings, and community choir shows.
Check out as contributing artists Mario Chamorro and Daniel Paluska set up for their Happy Room, a collection of messages of happiness, at the Andrew Freedman Home.