A profile of violinist Angelo Xiang Yu, winner of a 2019 Avery Fisher Career Grant Award. Followed by a visit to the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling. And a conversation with artist Faith Ringgold.

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♪♪

Coming up on 'NYC-Arts,' a profile of violinist Angelo Xiang Yu, winner of a 2019 Avery Fisher Career Grant award.

Receiving the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant really means the world to me, because Andre Watts, Joshua Bell, Gil Shaham -- those artists have won this award many years ago.

And I actually grew up listening to their CDs.

And a visit to the Sugar Hill Children's Museum of Art & Storytelling.

We know that children are natural artists.

And they're also natural storytellers.

And we wanted to create an institution dedicated to their creative potential.

Funding for 'NYC-Arts' is made possible by... This program is supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Additional funding provided by Members of Thirteen.

'NYC-Arts' is made possible in part by First Republic Bank.

First Republic Bank presents 'First Things First.'

At First Republic Bank, first refers to our first priority -- the clients who walk through our doors.

The first step?

Recognize that every client is an individual with unique needs.

First decree -- be a bank whose currency is service in the form of personal banking.

This was First Republic's mission from our very first day.

It's still the first thing on our minds.

♪♪

Good evening and welcome to 'NYC-Arts.'

I'm Paula Zahn at the Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center.

The ceremony for the 2019 Avery Fisher Career Grant awards took place last March at the Jerome L. Greene Performance Space at WQXR.

These individual grants of $25,000 give professional assistance and recognition to talented instrumentalists who have great potential for solo careers.

There were four recipients -- piano duo Christina and Michelle Naughton... the JACK Quartet... pianist Henry Kramer... and violinist Angelo Xiang Yu.

Born in Inner Mongolia, China, Angelo Xiang Yu moved to Shanghai at the age of 11 to study violin at the conservatory there.

Later, he moved to Boston, where he received his bachelor's, master's, and Artist Diploma from the New England Conservatory of Music.

Last February, he received a prestigious Lincoln Center Emerging Artist award.

He is currently a member of the Chamber Music of Lincoln Center's Bowers Program.

Receiving the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grants really means the world to me, because when I was little, I would skip my lunch and eat a lot for dinner, because I can save the lunch money and I could buy the CDs using that money.

And when I was a little boy, I'd just collect CDs, and listening to it hours and hours -- CDs by Andre Watts, Joshua Bell, Gil Shaham.

Those artists have won this award many years ago.

And I actually grew up listening to their CDs, but I would never, never imagine myself winning this award.

♪♪ My pianist -- her name is Feng Niu.

She's a wonderful pianist and she's always willing to be a great collaborator.

And when she has a melody, she can really sing out very beautifully, but when I have the melody, she is giving me the stage to shine.

♪♪ So, this violin is made by probably the greatest violin-maker of the violin-making history, Antonio Stradivari.

And he made this violin at the year of 1729, so she's almost 300 years old.

I said 'she' because I really think she's a lady.

I think this is not just a piece of wood.

It has lots of history, and I can almost touch the soul of the violin whenever I played it.

♪♪ The piece I played last night for the Avery Fisher Career Grant Award is called 'Chaconne' by Italian composer Tomaso Vitali.

And I love this piece because it is essentially a Baroque piece, but it has so much emotion and colors in this work.

Of course, it's been transposed a couple times, and so that it becomes, actually, a virtuoso piece.

But I can really see the simplicity of it at the same time.

The melody is so beautiful that, after the concert, people would always remember that for many, many days.

The form of the 'Chaconne' is kind of like a theme and variation.

It has a simple theme, but later on, it got more complicated, and you see all these variations.

And he would use these variations to explore the possibilities on the violin and all kinds of violin technique you can find.

And there is, of course, the grand finale, where the theme repeats, but in a higher-register octave -- very, very powerful and emotional.

And all of that actually really shows the virtuoso aspect of a performer but, at the same time, also give the emotion to the work itself.

♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ [ Applause ] ♪♪

Coming up next, we'll take a trip uptown to the Sugar Hill Children's Museum of Art & Storytelling in Harlem.

The building, which includes 124 units of affordable housing and an early-education center, was designed by acclaimed architect David Adjaye.

He is perhaps best-known for his work on the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

The Sugar Hill neighborhood of the early 20th century was home to such notable figures as Duke Ellington, Langston Hughes, Lena Horne, and Thurgood Marshall.

Today, the Sugar Hill Children's Museum celebrates that cultural legacy of the neighborhood and gives children access to the arts and working artists, nurturing the next generation of creative thinkers.

[ The Sugar Hill Gang's 'Rapper's Delight' plays ]

Broadway Housing Communities is a nonprofit organization in New York City, and our focus is primarily housing, art, and education.

We've been working in the neighborhoods of West Harlem and Washington Heights since the early 1980s, creating housing for people on the lowest economic bands, including formerly homeless families and individuals, and creating educational opportunity and integrating the housing and educational programs with the cultural arts.

The Sugar Hill Project is a place where all of the things that Broadway Housing has learned over 35 years has come alive.

So, we now have affordable housing, where it's a very diverse population that reside within the unit.

Welcome, my friends.

We have an early-childhood center, which is one of first museum preschools here in New York City.

And we also have a Children's Museum of Art & Storytelling.

Moana and Maui are learning how to read.

This neighborhood has a very high proportion of children that are born into poverty, it's largely a new-immigrant community, and it's one of the highest birthrates in Manhattan.

I've been living in the neighborhood for about 10 years now.

My work -- it's about responding to the places that I live in and the spaces that I walk around, the people that I see.

I'm from the Dominican Republic.

When I first came here, I did not speak English, and so I felt right at home having this Spanish-speaking community, people from Santo Domingo, Puerto Rico, Colombia.

The name Sugar Hill Children's Museum of Art & Storytelling was conceived because we know that children are natural artists.

And they're also natural storytellers.

And we wanted to create an institution dedicated to their creative potential.

The mission of the Sugar Hill Children's Museum is to nurture the creative and cognitive genius of children between the ages of 3 to 8.

We are here as an intergenerational space to place artists and storytellers and actors and writers in dialogue with children so that children are inspired to create their own art and stories.

Unlike most children's museums that are indoor play spaces, this is a contemporary art museum for children.

The focus on the arts and the seriousness with which we take the arts and the capacity of children to understand and think about the dimensions of a creative experience in art is quite expansive.

Storytelling and art experiences, not just viewing encounters, happen in lots of different ways.

We have our story hour, and then there is story time, which is a more musical- or dance-oriented production with art-making afterwards.

There's our Studio Lab, which is a space for independent tactile exploration and thinking about the materials or the colors or the concepts that are on view in some of the exhibitions.

Children have the opportunity to just engage with that.

And then, you know, we have these reading nooks, where we have a selection of books that are curated, sometimes inspired by the themes in the exhibition, sometimes inspired by the themes of the month, but parents have the opportunity to intimately share a story with their child, or children have the opportunity to figure it out themselves.

Museums should have moments and spaces where children do not only engage by looking, but, also, they are active.

They have, already, a lot of stimulation catered to them through media, through, you know, the clothes industry, the toy industry, so a museum's role is to provide those other elements that they're not getting and have this environment as part of something that they belong to and that they deserve to have access to.

The artist-in-residence has about 450 square feet of private space for 11 months, and they receive a stipend.

We ask that the artist is engaged with creating a new body of work so that visitors can encounter the freshness of what it means to have ideas and what it means to be committed to your practice.

Once a month, we ask that they open up their doors, office hours, for parents and children to just observe.

We do not look specifically for artists who work with children.

If that were the case, we'd be only looking for teaching artists.

We are looking for artists who are very committed to their practice and also have a sense of comfort in sharing their practice with children.

The kinds of materials that I use most of the time have this quality of translucency.

I use polyester thread to create lines.

I also use very transparent, kind of vellum or Mylar to create works where the lines are, like, the main element.

And I also like to combine glass, thread, and cotton and canvas and linen.

This is what I've been bringing to the children or sharing with the children.

One of the projects that we've been working on is creating images that have to do with architecture...

This building.

People in the triangle and two windows.

Two windows.

...but also thinking about how the places that we are, how they also shape the way we behave and the way that we feel.

Oh, I like that, Laurie.

They have so much to offer and so much to bring, especially with how pure they are and how honest and open they are and flexible to learning.

Thank you.

They're not fixated in one outcome.

They're not obsessing over the result of that thing that they're making.

And they're pretty much learning as they make.

They have this sense of curiosity and this excitement.

Yeah, let's unveil this masterpiece.

One of the ideas that we're always thinking about is this intergenerational idea, where you have young children working alongside adults, whether it's their parents or a grandparent or someone else who is, like, really close to them, and what's the exchange that can happen there?

Look at that.

That's interesting.

All the people represented in my work, they are all local people.

They are all people who work in the neighborhood or walk around the neighborhood or live in the neighborhood.

I'm also very interested in creating an imagery that reflects those children and sort of to change, a little bit, what my daughter sees in books, and I want her to be able to see herself in books, children that look like her.

And this is a really exciting part, where all of these children start coming here and they recognize themself in the drawings.

And it's magical to see that.

To make art where the people see themselves represented, I think it has a strong impact, and it brings this sense of ownership of the creative practice of a local artist.

All of this work has to do with representation and drawing people and children sort of to create this visual archive that will allow for people to see themself in the work that I am producing.

I feel pretty strongly about that.

Many times, I think children's museums underestimate the types of questions that children are capable of asking or underestimate the types of questions that children are actually being posed, so we're looking to contemporary artists and seeing if they can help us do that in very thoughtful ways, pose questions, give them opportunities to think.

We tried to conceive of what would be the most long-standing contribution that we could make to this neighborhood, and that was the museum, because a museum is a symbol of a community that's prosperous, that's healthy, that cherishes its history and all its people.

A museum is a commitment to the future and to the future of the children of this neighborhood.

♪♪

Hello. I'm Rafael Pi Roman.

Welcome to Lincoln Center.

From January 3rd through January 7th, the New York Philharmonic will present a program that includes Respighi's 'Trittico Botticelliano' and Haydn's 'Symphony No. 96.'

Jeffrey Kahane will conduct the orchestra and will also lead Mozart's 'Piano Concerto No. 22' from the piano.

The matinee concert on Saturday, January 4th, will open with Brahms' 'Piano Quintet,' performed by the New York Philharmonic String Quartet and Jeffrey Kahane on piano.

The program will be followed by a Q&A with Philharmonic musicians.

For complete details, please visit nyphil.org.

And for even more information about events at Lincoln Center, you can visit their website at lincolncenter.org.

♪♪ ♪♪

So I said, 'Oh, boy.

I want to do 125th Street.

Yeah, I'm going to do it because 125th Street is where all, you know, the people are.'

That's the center.

And I went in there and got it.

[ Laughs ] That worked for me.

♪♪ These are people who I associate with my life growing up in Harlem -- the musicians, the artists, the politicians, all of these truly great people who influenced my life and made me know that I could do anything I wanted because they're doing it.

♪♪ 125th Street was just the center of culture in those days.

And I saw them all, and we all lived together.

You know, like, W.E.B. Du Bois lived right up the street from me and Thurgood Marshall.

Oh, my goodness.

We'd see those people all the time.

I mean, those people were -- You know, they just were neighborhood people.

We used to wait until 3:00 in the morning, and then we would go up to 155th street and catch Duke Ellington coming out of the 155th Street subway.

And he would stop into a little diner right there on the corner.

And we'd be in there waiting for him, and he would come in and he would order a pint of ice cream to go.

And we would just sit there and just drool over him.

But you couldn't run up to these people and start yelling about, you know, 'We need an autograph.'

No. They don't do that.

Just, you know, be cool, and we did, but we also got to see him.

[ Laughs ] He was so wonderful.

There's no law saying you can't get rid of perspective.

There's no law saying you can't get rid of chiaroscuro.

If you want things to be flat -- And I do.

I want to use the colors and I want them seen.

I don't want the light in the shade.

I levitate all of them.

Well, it's a certain kind of freedom, which I think is just the most important thing in the world.

It's also an interesting way to use the space.

You know, inject the people in the space, have them moving through it.

I had myself flying sometimes somewhere, you know?

Please, I don't leave myself out of anything.

[ Laughs ] That's an idea.

I should have done that.

I should have put myself over there with the artists.

Didn't give it a thought.

Next week on 'NYC-Arts,' a conversation with Jonathan Stafford and Wendy Whelan, the new artistic leadership of the New York City Ballet.

Since Wendy and I both danced that role quite a bit, we feel like we can step in there and give, you know, just those little fine-tuning details to just elevate the performance that little bit.

I wanted to help them build a landscape in their mind of where to push farther, where to soften up, where to think differently throughout, the way the music also has a landscape.

And a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a look at the museum's collection of postwar and contemporary art.

The painting serves as a kind of inventory or catalog of painter strokes -- some thick, some thin, some stable, some strong, others fluid, others weak.

Thanks for joining us this evening.

I'm Paula Zahn at the Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center.

Good night.

♪♪

Funding for 'NYC-Arts' is made possible by... This program is supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Additional funding provided by Members of Thirteen.

'NYC-Arts' is made possible in part by First Republic Bank.

First Republic Bank presents 'First Things First.'

At First Republic Bank, 'first' refers to our first priority -- the clients who walk through our doors.

The first step?

Recognize that every client is an individual with unique needs.

First decree -- be a bank whose currency is service in the form of personal banking.

This was First Republic's mission from our very first day.

It's still the first thing on our minds.