Watch the Gap is an art exhibition curated by Annie Legnini and Shane Yelicanin that exhibited the work of local Bronx artists at Fordham University's Rose Hill campus in Spring 2016. This exhibit intended to create a more honest and respectful relationship between the university and surrounding neighborhood. During the Fall semester of 2015 at Rose Hill, there was an overwhelming amount of racially charged bias incidents, both on and off campus. The violent divide between Fordham students and members of the local community - along with the rapid gentrification of the Bronx - gave Fordham a time-sensitive opportunity. It was a time where, on Fordham grounds, members of the local community and Fordham students would be able to come together to celebrate each other’s histories, differences, and experiences through various artistic platforms.
The point of the show being on the college campus consciously identifies the impermanence of non-native outsiders (Fordham residents) in regard to the local community. This show encouraged Fordham to not take up any more space in the Bronx and to have a stronger, respectful bond with local residents and businesses. It also kept in mind the recent number of exclusive art parties that had taken place in the gentrifying South Bronx at that time: catering to celebrities and high profile names with the 'burning Bronx' as a hip background theme. Fordham constantly reminds its students that ‘New York is their Campus,’ but could fail to reciprocate that sense of community with local Bronx residents on its grounds. The show encouraged both students and Bronx residents to ‘Watch the Gap’ between – not the platform and the train – Fordham’s space in the Bronx and the local Bronx community.
Most featured works centered on the theme of the Bronx and the artists' diverse identities. Artists drew inspiration from local businesses, architecture or specific individuals.
All proceeds were donated to the DreamYard Foundation: a Bronx-based organization that provides art and school supplies to public education programs that have cut funding in recent years. A donation was suggested for entry, but not required for admittance.
Photography by Hector Nazario.
Watch the Gap Curators Shane Yelicanin and Annie Legnini.