09/27/2012 07:11 pm ET Updated Nov 27, 2012

Harlem Arts Summit 2012: Protecting Harlem's Treasures

Autumn's arrival heralds the beginning of Harlem Arts Advocacy Week in New York City's Uptown neighborhoods. For six years running the Harlem Arts Alliance (HAA) is presenting a seven day series of mostly free events, designed to elevate the platform for Harlem's illustrious arts and cultural scene and to renew enthusiasm and support for its great cultural institutions and artists. HAA recognizes the correlation between a community's vitality and economic health and its vibrant cultural life and is committed to fostering the development of Harlem's artists, arts institutions and cultural organizations for the benefit of artists, residents, local businesses and tourists alike.

This year's theme "Harlem at the Crossroads: Sustaining Our Arts and Cultural Resources," highlights the need to maintain and preserve some of the "city's most stellar arts organizations, artists, individuals and entities...and to help them secure and sustain the critical resources needed to continue their missions," says HAA Chairman, Voza Rivers. Billed as the Harlem Arts Summit, the undertaking involves the collaboration of key Harlem arts institutions, artists and arts leaders creating an exciting array of events showcasing the Uptown arts landscape. "The Harlem Arts Summit 2012 is being held to shine the light on the treasures in our "midst," Rivers continues.

Launching Monday, October 1st at 10 am with an awards presentation at Aaron Davis Hall (City College of New York), the impressive lineup of honorees includes actor and activist Danny Glover, legendary theatrical producer Vy Higginsen and pioneering arts producer and consultant Mikki Shepard. Festivities will continue into the evening when the Harlem Arts Summit 2012's opening reception kicks off at 5:30 pm followed by a 6:30pm panel discussion entitled "A Conversation with Harlem Arts leaders: Today's Challenge, Tomorrow's Promise," introduced by accomplished actress, director, producer and Harlem resident, Tamara Tunie (Law and Order SUV) and moderated by multimedia journalist, Katti Gray at Aaron Davis Hall.

The week's other highlights include a luncheon on Wednesday, October 3rd at 12:30 pm at the Manhattan Neighborhood Network's new El Barrio Firehouse Community Media Center. Iris Morales, the center's director will host a panel discussion featuring media and arts luminaries including Director of Media Arts at the National Endowment of the Arts, Alyce Myatt, Vice President of Documentary Films at HBO, Jackie Glover, Firelight Media's Marcia Smith, ImageNation's Moikgantsi Kgama, National Black Programming Consortium's Leslie Fields-Cruz and Taneshia Nash Laird of My Image Studios Harlem (MIST Harlem).

On Friday October 5th from 1:00 to 4:00 pm, Harlem converges with the national arts scene as Imagining America (IA)--a consortium of universities and organizations dedicated to advancing the public and civic purposes of humanities, arts, and design--heads Uptown. A guided trolley tour will visit three renowned arts institutions--The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and Harlem Stage/the Gatehouse. Participants will view exhibitions and learn about the impact and value of these institutions in the community while discovering how collaborations between business, education and culture are fueling Harlem's resurgence as a vital center for arts and commerce. Special guest speakers will include Patrice Walker-Powell, Deputy Chair, National Endowment for the Arts; Marcia Sells, Vice President, Columbia University; Patricia Cruz, Executive Director, Harlem Stage/the Gatehouse; and Barbara Askins, President and CEO, 125th Street Business Improvement District.

In a unified effort to continue building Harlem's legacy as a cultural Mecca, Harlem Arts Summit 2012 is presented by the HARLEM Arts Alliance in collaboration with key Harlem organizations including Columbia University, Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, 125th Street Business Improvement District, Studio Museum in Harlem, Aaron Davis Hall/City College of New York, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Harlem Business Alliance, Harlem Stage/The Gatehouse, Caribbean Cultural Center, Harlem Community Development Corporation, New Heritage Theatre Group, MIST Cinemas and Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN) - El Barrio Firehouse Community Media Center.

Major support for the Summit is provided by the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts and The National Endowment for the Arts.

For more information call HARLEM Arts Alliance at 347-735-4280 or visit their website at