The Cultural Museum of African Art (CMAA) – The Eric Edwards Collection received $1 million from the New York State Assembly, thanks to the leadership of NYS Assemblymember, Stefani Zinerman, and NYS Assembly Speaker, Carl Heastie.
Founded and Curated by Mr. Eric Edwards over the course of 50 years, CMAA has amassed more than 3,000 African Artifacts, from all 54 countries on the African continent, spanning more than 4,000 years of human history. It is the most comprehensive collection of African Artifacts. BSRC will serve as home to CMAA’s “Survival Exhibition” which will feature approximately 220 artifacts, jointly curated by Eric Edwards and the multidisciplinary artist, Sanford Biggers, whose work was installed at Oracle, Rockefeller Center, 2021 was also inspired by artifacts from the Eric Edwards Collection.
The Restoration Plaza museum location is being designed by world-renowned architect Rodney Leon. Mr. Leon is the architect of the African Burial Ground National Monument (ABG) in Lower Manhattan, as well as the “Ark of Return,” a permanent installation at the United Nations Plaza.
“This grant makes it possible for me to gift this collection of African artifacts, which has taken me 50 years to amass, to my community. The collection illuminates our stories and journeys over thousands of years to the beginnings of man and womankind.” – Eric Edwards, Founder & Executive Director, Cultural Museum of African Art
“The 56th District represents the historic neighborhoods of Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights. We are honored to assist in this first step to bring the rich truth of our culture, accessible to the largest concentration of the African diaspora in New York.” – Stefani L. Zinerman, New York State Assembly
“The preservation of history, specifically African American history, has oftentimes been overlooked. Investments like these ensure that African art and its rich history can be studied and enjoyed by future generations. I am honored to have worked with Assemblywoman Zinerman to make this grant available to the Cultural Museum of African Art (CMAA), and would like to thank CMAA for their efforts in keeping our legacy alive.” – Carl E. Heastie, New York State Assembly Speaker
THE MUSEUM OF THE FUTURE
CMAA is in the process of creating a permanent Museum of the Future in lower Manhattan. A Resolution of Support by Community Board 1 (CB1) for the designation of a specific site, puts CMAA closer to its larger goal of having the Museum of the Future serve as the anchor tenant in a new and expansive Cultural Heritage and Education Center. The establishment of this comprehensive site would allow CMAA’s remaining 3000+ African artifacts to be displayed within close proximity to ABG, the sacred site where more than 15,000 African ancestors are interred. New Yorkers will recall discovery of the ABG site during David N. Dinkins‘ term as the 106th Mayor of New York City. The Honorable David N. Dinkins was also a supporter of CMAA and its long-term goals.
Paired with its physical exhibition, CMAA, in partnership with MASK Consortium, is in the process of developing the first-of-its-kind, 3-dimensional, digital experience for each of the 3,000 African artifacts held in CMAA’s Collection. This digital experience will offer the only fully interactive and immersive VR museum on a global scale.
VITAL SIGNIFICANCE OF LOCATING CMAA AT 22 READE ST. LOCATION:
- Proposed Permanent Home 22 READE ST. sits atop hundreds of African remains
- Adjacent to the African Burial Ground, near Foley Square and Black Lives Matter Plaza
- Remains of ~15,000 African Americans lay in rest under the aforementioned African American Heritage District
- These were the people who built the literal Wall known as Wall St., while still under Dutch rule in the 1600s. The financial foundation of our nation
- They were the people who made commerce move on the docks all through the 17th and 18th Centuries
- And were literally traded as slaves on these same docks
- This is HISTORIC and SACRED LAND for African Americans
- This physical location begins the Origin Story of the African American Experience
- This area is Ground Zero for the African American Experience
JOIN US AT OUR MICRO-EXHIBITION. IN OCTOBER 2021, CMAA will extend its request for support to the Global African Diplomatic Community at the United Nations. RSVP LINK
ABOUT THE GRANT NYS Assemblymember: Stefani L.Zinerman was elected to the 56th District in the New York State Assembly on November 3, 2020, to represent the historic neighborhoods of Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights in Brooklyn. Zinerman is on the Standing Committee on Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Developmentandis the Co-Supporter of $1MM State Assembly Allocation to CMAA for its move to BedStuy Restoration Plaza with longtime CMAA Supporter Speaker Carl Heastie. CMAA’s Eric Edwards addressed the assembly requesting support at the end of 2019: 12-12-19 Public Hearing on Capital Funding for Arts and Cultural.