On Sunday June 6, 1999, a new performance and exhibition space opened its doors in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Its founder, Hanne Tierney, and the curator Heidi Riegler invited neighbors and artists to a performance marathon featuring more than 20 young artists, while a few barbecue experts were grilling on the sidewalk.
Ten days later on June 16, FiveMyles presented its very first exhibition, For Myles. Curated by Marian Griffith, the former director at the Sculpture Center, the show was dedicated to the memory of Hanne Tierney’s son, Myles, an Associated Press journalist killed in Sierra Leone that same year. Six emerging artists were chosen for “the elegiac and spiritual concerns that characterize their work”, in Griffith’s own words. These artists were Terry Boddie, Maria Elena Gonzalez, Cathleen Lewis, Jack Pospisil, Michael Lee Poy, and Veronica Ryan.
That first year also marked the creation of St. Johns Place on Stage, a dazzling gathering of local talents, who rivaled to interpret the plot of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet through live music, stand-up comedy, hip hop dance, and spoken word on FiveMyles’ large sidewalk. St. Johns Place on Stage became a much-anticipated annual event on the block. Over the years, glittery costumes were sown for the neighborhood girls who practiced their dances very seriously (culminating in 2007 with an invitation to perform at the Brooklyn Museum!), backdrops were built for street operas, and crowds have gathered for this un-missable rendez-vous.
Twenty years later, FiveMyles is still standing. Its walls and floors are still painted grey, and it still shows the work of beginning, emerging, and established artists who still find a home in the space. A lot has happened over all these years, and FiveMyles gained and retained a reputation for the excellent work that it shows, the eclectic nature of its programming, and the welcoming atmosphere it always maintains.
So please join us in 2019 to celebrate FiveMyles, its past and its future! This year, we will have many modern echoes from FiveMyles’ past programming, you might recognize some of the artists’ names, but we guarantee that just like every year since its first opening, the work shown at FiveMyles will live in that perfect spot where excellence and excitement meet.