FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 8, 2023
Recess Announces Lindsay Catherine Harris as Co-Director
BROOKLYN, NY – Recess announced today the appointment of Lindsay Catherine Harris to the position of Co-Director following an executive search led by a transition committee of the Board of Directors and conducted with staff over several months. Harris joins Recess from the Brooklyn Museum where they have served in various roles since 2015, and as Director of Education since 2021. Harris will replace Recess Founder and former Co-Director Allison Freedman Weisberg, who stepped down in December 2022 after 14 years of leadership.
In partnership with Shaun Leonardo, who has served as Recess Co-Director since 2020 and was cofounder of the Assembly arts-based diversion program in 2016, Harris will bring her commitment to social justice, equity, and amplification of femme, queer, and trans youth of color to the organization as it advances its mission to build a more just and equitable creative community. Through a 15-year career in civic and cultural engagement, Harris has developed and led programming for several New York-based schools and cultural institutions including the Brooklyn Museum, BRIC Arts Media, Brooklyn International High School, and Center for Urban Pedagogy. In their role as Co-Director, Harris will strategize and envision a future in line with the organization’s core values: a belief in creative reimagination toward social change, artist & youth driven initiatives and decision-making through a racial justice lens.
“I’ve followed the programming and leadership of Recess for a while and am impressed with the deep intention, care, and unrelenting commitment to abolition and arts equity that makes up the organization’s work,” Harris said. “I believe whole-heartedly in Recess’s mission and am honored to learn from and with the entire Recess team and extended community, building on this legacy as I join Shaun in supporting the organization into this next phase of being.”
“Recess was founded with a mission to clear space for historically excluded artists and communities to explore the creative process and enact social change,” Leonardo said. “Fourteen years later, Recess is positioned to dream expansively. And with Lindsay, we will deepen our practices—scaling our work in depth of relationships and support within our ecosystem.”
Camilo Godoy, Recess Assembly Artist Fellow, shared, “Lindsay is one of the most insightful and creative leaders today. Over the last decade, I’ve witnessed Lindsay in multiple roles as an artist, educator, colleague, curator, and director. Their passionate care for artists and youth is in complete synchrony with Recess. Lindsay once stated that education, storytelling from multiple perspectives, and reparations are pathways for generational healing. I am excited to witness the abolitionist pathways they will strengthen and forge at Recess.”
For more than 14 years, Recess has provided a creative space and community for underrepresented artists traditionally excluded by or suppressed within predominantly white-led and serving cultural and commercial institutions. Through its Session, Critical Writing, and Assembly programs, Recess offers a counter example to the cultural field’s overrepresentation of white male cisgender artists and writers, as well as the underrepresentation of cultural workers from diverse backgrounds within cultural institutions and arts nonprofit organizations.
To date, Recess’s Session and Critical Writing programs have offered the resources to more than 300 artists with socially engaged, community-based practices to develop their artistic vision as informed by their chosen audiences. Recess Session program artists such as Simone Leigh, Christine Sun Kim, and Jacolby Satterwhite have gone on to show at the Venice Biennale, The Museum of Modern Art, and the Hirshhorn Museum. Critical Writing alumni Che Gossett, Brooklyn White, and Vivian Crockett went on to publish texts for the Centre for Visual Culture at the University of Cambridge, ESSENCE magazine, and New Museum. Currently, 90 percent of Recess staff identify as individuals of color, 37 percent identify as LGBTQ+ and 75 percent identify as women and/or gender non-conforming.
For the past seven years, Recess has offered an inroad to art and creative expression to more than 300 system-involved youth across New York City, while serving as an alternative to incarceration and its intersecting systems of oppression. Through Assembly, Recess collaborates with young people ages 18 to 26 to create and produce work that explores the impacts of racism, poverty, and criminalization. With paid, long term engagement, Assembly also renders the creative field more economically, racially, gender, and ability diverse. Since 2016, Assembly has led to the closure of over 200 misdemeanor and felony cases, while building individuals’ empowered sense of self within a thriving community.
Saadiq Newton-Boyd, Deputy Project Director, ATI & Early Diversion at Brooklyn Justice Initiatives and close program partner of Assembly, wrote, “I am elated at the news that Lindsay C. Harris will be joining Recess! Lindsay and Shaun have been long-time collaborators and friends to Brooklyn Justice Initiatives and Project RESET over the past several years, and have directly supported diverting hundreds of individuals from the criminal legal system, while empowering them to reclaim their own stories and narratives through art. I envision great success for Recess as together they strive for equity and advancements for artists and practitioners engaged in the arts as systems intervention, center the voices and expertise of young people, and divert young people from systems into community through transformative and healing art experiences.”
Harris begins their tenure at Recess as Co-Director in June 2023.
Currently on view is A. Sef and Akeema-Zane’s Void Spa. Void Spa utilizes tactile and sonic elements to challenge and subvert the extractive and appropriative use of Black and Brown spirituality within the luxury wellness industry. A. Sef (they/them) is a somatic educator, access worker and artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Akeema-Zane (she/her) is an artist and researcher working in the mediums of literature, film performance and sound.
For more information on Recess programs and offerings, visit recessart.org.
About Lindsay C. Harris
Lindsay Catherine Harris, or Lindsay C. Harris, (they/she) is a Brooklyn based artist, social justice advocate, cultural worker, and educator. As a mixed Black queer nonbinary femme, Lindsay is committed to increasing meaningful civic engagement through the arts, challenging inequity, and amplifying youth voice—specifically femme, queer, and trans youth of color—in cultural programming in Brooklyn. Co-curator of Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall and co-founder of InterseXtions, a paid LGBTQ+ teen internship in queer art history and community programming, Lindsay has collaborated with fierce young people full-time at Brooklyn Museum since 2015. In 2021, Lindsay took on the role of acting Director of Education, leading the large team through a critical time of transition including a return to in person programming, launch of a major renovation, and an internal realignment with a new shared leadership model. Lindsay has worked in youth programs at schools and organizations across NYC including Educational Video Center, Museum of the Moving Image, BRIC Arts Media, Brooklyn International High School, and Center for Urban Pedagogy and was a Flaherty Film Seminar Fellow, Laundromat Project Create Change Fellow, Black Public Media Nonso Christian Ugbode Fellow, and NYU Critical Collaborations Fellow. Lindsay has exhibited and presented at BRIC Arts Media, Brooklyn Museum, and Istanbul: Feminist Pedagogies, and been published by The Atlantic, Blavity, and NPR, among others. Lindsay has a B.A. in Africana Studies and Art from Vassar College and M.A. in Arts Politics from NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
Photo Credit: Jessye Herrell
Recess partners with artists to build a more just and equitable creative community. By welcoming radical thinkers to imagine and shape networks of resilience and safety, Recess defines and advances the possibilities of contemporary art.
Recess programs offer space and resources to generate art, ideas, and actions that challenge dominant narratives and activate new forms of creative production. Recess is always free and open to the public to serve as a meeting place for meaningful exchange across a multiplicity of communities.