Gates: Borders: Barriers

Spring 2022

Over the course of 2022, More Art will be addressing concepts related to gates and borders, physical and imaginary, including, but not limited to, mass incarceration, criminal justice reform, policing, gated communities, immigration, border security, and COVID-related barriers in anticipation of Fred Wilson’s project “Mind Forged Manacles/Manacle Forged Minds” opening in downtown Brooklyn on June 21, 2022. This spring we will hold a series of three At The Table conversations titled Gates, Borders, Barriers, respectively addressing Mass Incarceration, Immigration, and Gender Barriers. 

Gates: On Policing, Mass Incarceration, and Community Response with guest artist Shaun Leonardo

March 30, 2022

We were joined by guest artist Shaun Leonardo for the first conversation in our Spring series On Policing, Mass Incarceration, and Community Response.

A 2022 $465 million dollar NYPD funding increase has reversed the minor progress made in New York City’s 2021 budget, leaving the NYPD more robustly funded than the military of some global nations. Pushes to build more prisons and to re-adopt inhumane practices like solitary confinement linger in the hands of our local officials, including former police officer Mayor Eric Adams. For a city that has, for decades, witnessed unchecked police brutality, an abusive prison justice system, and innumerable instances of unnecessary death and violence at the hands of systemic failures, how do artists, activists, and citizens stay informed, supported, and make tangible progress towards abolition? The momentum built in 2020 towards justice cannot fall to the wayside–what is the role of the artist, community members, and organizations to support justice?

Borders: On Immigration, Invisible Lines, and Indigenous Rights with guest artist george emilio sanchez

May 9, 2022

We closed our Spring series with guest artist george emilio sanchez in a discussion On Immigration, Invisible Lines, and Indigenous Rights.

New York City, marked by the Statue of Liberty and the dense history of Ellis Island, sits on the traditional, unceded lands of the Lenni-Lenape people, known as Lenapehoking. Here many citizens face the financial toil and emotional uncertainty of immigration and visa processes, while countless others live in fear that their undocumented status will leave them uprooted and criminalized. De-facto red-lining continues to leave Black and POC communities at a disadvantage, and ownership of land disputes have left countless others homeless and evicted. Political tensions around borders and who controls them hang over the heads of all citizens, documented or otherwise. 


More or Less: Notes to Our Next Mayor


During the fall of 2021, More Art hosted More or Less: Notes to Our Next Mayor — a series of three conversations inviting community members to discuss the most pressing needs of New York City residents: shelter, food, and health. As new leadership enters City Hall, these conversations have culminated in an open letter to the new administration, providing a list of demands in order to prioritize underserved populations in New York City. As part of our At the Table – Dialogue + Art series, the conversations — On Food with guest artist Candace ThompsonOn Shelter with Betty Yu; and On Health with Jeff Kasper — brought together activists, artists, and community members across the five boroughs to craft this document to Mayor Adams.

Read and sign our Open Letter to Mayor Adams here.

Screenshot of At The Table with Betty Yu

On Food with guest artist Candace Thompson

October 26, 2021

As part of our first At the Table gathering in our More or Less: Notes to Our Next Mayor series with Candace Thompson of  The C.U.R.B., we spoke On Food (access, justice, sustainability). Food is often the center of a community, of a neighborhood, of New York City, yet New Yorkers already living precariously prior to the pandemic were hit particularly hard by the 2020 pandemic. How do we ensure the integrity of our communities and their access to this basic need?

Thank you to Essex Street Market for hosting our On Food conversation. 

On Shelter with guest artist Betty Yu

November 14, 2021

For our second segment of More or Less: Notes to Our Next Mayor, we were joined by artist and activist Betty Yu to speak On Shelter. We discussed community land trusts, preventing tax breaks for luxury developments, and what a livable NYC could look like.

On Health with guest artist Jeff Kasper

December 6, 2021

We wrapped up our At the Table fall series by speaking On Health with guest artist Jeff Kasper. From community health clinics, specialty care centers, and the nation’s first supervised injection site, we discussed that many New Yorkers are unaware of the care available in their own neighborhoods. Where do you go for care? Is this well-publicized and accessible? How can the city and our individual communities inform us and our neighbors about what’s available to us?


open letter.

As new leadership enters City Hall, the above conversations On Food, On Shelter, and On Health have culminated in an open letter to the new administration, providing a list of demands in order to prioritize underserved populations in New York City.

From the letter: “We are writing today after many conversations over many months with our community of artists, activists, educators, community organizers, immigrants, new New Yorkers and lifetimers to address the crucial, intersecting issues of guaranteed access to food, health and housing for all New Yorkers. Inspired by the grassroots efforts of organizers, activists and artists to provide much-needed care for their communities during the pandemic, we are determined to continue advocating for the City’s underserved populations and demand your new administration prioritize their well-being with a series of policy reforms.”

Read more and sign our Open Letter to Mayor Adams here. 

culminating panel discussion.

February 10, 2022

To wrap up our fall series of At The Table, More or Less: Notes to our Next Mayor, we hosted a culminating panel discussion following the launch of our open letter to hold Mayor Adams and his administration accountable for ensuring access to basic needs for all New Yorkers.

We were joined by guest artists Candace Thompson, Betty Yu, Jeff Kasper, Nathan Hunter (Bronx based educator and land steward), Amy Ellenbogen (therapist; founder – Conspiring for Good; Center for Court Innovation), Michael Higgins (Senior Housing and Sustainability Organizer, Brooklyn Movement Center) in a discussion of the open letter, our process, and the work that needs to be done to ensure an equitable future for all New Yorkers.

Watch the panel below. 

Have thoughts, suggestions, or feedback? We want to hear from you! Click here to let us know what you think. 


Find more information on the guest artists and organizations mentioned in our At The Table discussions and culminating panel at the links below: 

Candace Thompson

The C.U.R.B.

Bronx River Foodway

Betty Yu

Chinatown Art Brigade

Brooklyn Movement Center

Jeff Kasper

Conspiring for Good

Center for Court Innovation 

past guests.

Past guest artists of At The Table: Art + Dialogue have included: