Little Haiti Country Club Brings Community to Growing Art Scene, Won't Last Forever
If these walls could talk, they'd have one strange story to tell.
All photos provided by Sarah Moody The door of the Little Haiti Country Club bears the Club's logo. It is free to be enjoyed by the public, but will close Friday, Aug. 22.
It's a story of poppin' bottles, and a story about saving souls. It's a story about music, and creativity, and at the heart of the tale, it's a story of community.
That's the vibe the Little Haiti Country Club goes for, located just off NE Second Ave. between 83rd Street and 82nd Terrace. It's a place that feels ever in transition, its future strangely unknown and exciting. But whatever it is right now, it all comes to an end Friday, Aug. 22.
The old building, now the home of a motley crew of 30 local artists, used to be a club called Chateau; more recognizably, it was a church. Art in every form imaginable is proudly displayed in the three great rooms, in the old offices and daycares, and on the altar. Sometimes bands come through to practice or perform, and the artists like to think the walls appreciate their presence.
(Left) Douglas Hoekzema's "Sixty60Seconds" uses a controlled pendulum and white paint to create visual representations of one minute 60 times, representing an hour in total. (Right) Michael Vasquez represents a space in trasition with enlarged photographs of a construction site and found objects.
"Everything was here and we didn't really change anything. We kind of fell in love with it in a lot of ways," says Sarah Moody, one of four producers of the Little Haiti Country Club exhibit. "Really it all happened really comfortably, and beautifully, and organically. Once Tara (Long) and I were given keys to this space, we made sure we burned sage and incense every single day. We're making sure that the vibes are right in here. We have done that from pretty much the first time we walked in."
The LHCC is a first and foremost a group effort. Alex Saa, a mutual landlord of many of the artists involved, mentioned to participant and long-time Little Haiti resident Bhakti Baxter an intention to create a large exhibit focused on Little Haiti artists. The name and logo of the LHCC was already being kicked around jokingly for a while at Baxter's studio.
The guys talked to Moody, Long, and her associates, about creating a grand month-long exhibit featuring artists working and living in Little Haiti, and they loved the idea.
"I really like curating shows," Moody says. "I like making shows happen. I like bringing people together. I call myself a connector of sorts. I like to make sure that we get the right things and people here that should be."
With the idea, producers, and a long list of artists young and old in mind, the last thing they needed was a space. Just in the knick of time, the old church "serendipitously" fell into their hands. They worked for about a week putting it all together, all the artists moving in their work - some painting, or sculptures, or rooms covered with zines - and everyone fell into the vibe rather nicely.