Magazine article Black Masks

Cinque Gallery: Surviving in Tough Economic Times

Magazine article Black Masks

Cinque Gallery: Surviving in Tough Economic Times

Article excerpt

Cinque Gallery: Surviving in Tough Economic Times

The Cinque Gallery was founded in 1969 by the late Romare Bearden, Ernest Crichlow and the late Norman Lewis to create gallery space for minority artists and to assist in their growth and development. I first became aware of this nonprofit gallery during the mid-1980s when it was located on West 72nd Street near Central Park West. The location was great but the gallery space was four small cramped rooms on the first floor of an apartment building. At the opening reception, people filled the lobby and spilled out onto the sidewalk, drinking wine, socializing and talking about art, artists and happenings. The members of the Artistic Committee and the Board of Directors present were all professional people striving to get ahead in the business world but they were also avid supporters of the arts and most importantly, supporters of Cinque. I remember feeling proud that the gallery seemed to be doing well.

Cinque is now located in the area of New York known as Soho, the place for art, artists, galleries and specialty shops. From the outside, Cinque seems to be doing well -- or at least surviving, while expanding its programs in accordance with the vision of the three founders. The exhibition space is much larger and brighter now, but the problems are more complex than they ever were before.

Ruth Jett has been the director of Cinque for the past seven years. She feels now more than ever that there is a scary chance the gallery could close its doors forever. "In the mid-80s," she notes, "we had difficult times even though grants and gifts were more available for smaller institutions such as Cinque, but it was nothing like it is now...Many funding sources just don't exist any more, and others have cut the amount of grants and gifts they give. Many corporate sponsors will only give for special programs but will not fund daily operations. …

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