Even in the best of times, it is never easy for our artists in this society, and the challenges they face are more daunting when their economic situation reaches a critical point.
Sculptor extraordinaire Gabriel Koren—widely heralded for her statue of Malcolm X, which stands in the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center in Washington Heights, and her statue of Frederick Douglass, located at 110th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard—has reached that point in which she has to find studio space to complete her commissions.
“I have many life-sized sculptures in my studio, and I am currently working on the life sculpture of a very important client,” she said in a recent email. “The money I am earning with this commission is being paid by progress payment, and I do not get paid if I am not progressing.”
There is no need to go into the financial details of her dilemma. It boils down to an artist in need of a place to work to finish her assignments.
When Koren isn’t in her studio working on a project, she is often at events in support of other artists and activists or helping to spread the word about pressing social and political issues. These moments are often translated into her work.
At the moment, she has no money to move or pay a security deposit if she were to find a new studio.
“I am searching for solutions and writing letters for help,” she said. The least you can do is send her a note of encouragement, a word of support if you can’t afford a small donation.
Among those who have provided her with inspiration, she said, are the late Dr. John Henrik Clarke, Dr. Ben, Dr. Leonard Jeffries, Dr. James Small and the late Elombe Brath. “I attended many of the history lectures sponsored by the Patrice Lumumba Coalition at the Harriet Tubman School in Harlem,” she said. “And all of my work flows from those meetings and lectures.”
Those interested in helping her can write to her at Gabriel Koren, sculptor, 68 Jay St. #605, Brooklyn, NY 11201 or by calling 718-625-1229. Some of her work can be seen at gabrielkoren.com.