Newburgh Barbershops Are Shaping Community

NEWBURGH – Newburgh Barbershops: Shaping Community opens at the Newburgh Community Photo Project on Sunday, March 31 showcasing photography and interviews that celebrate nine barbershops and their role as social and community anchors for Newburgh.

Vincent Cianni, photographer and director of Newburgh Community Photo Project (NCPP), along with NCPP photographers David Cordero, Therese Fischer, and Ronnie Farley documented the local barbershops as part of the Frederick Douglass in Newburgh project — a creative two-year project that seeks to commemorate of Douglass’ visit to Newburgh and the 150th anniversary of the 15th Amendment- giving black men the right to vote. The Restorative Center’s Gabrielle Burton-Hill and sociologist Richard Ocejo conducted the interviews.

The team interviewed and photographed the African-American and Latino barbers while they tended to their clients, capturing the atmosphere of their business. Interview questions ranged from first experiences and business naming to how they see their establishment witnessing and contributing to community building. The culminating photography exhibition and audio recordings explore local stories and histories, and the social impact of this service industry. The featured barber shops include Razor Sharp, Krispy Fresh Cuts, All Stars, Los Barbaros, Cross Cutters, Faded, Real G Kuts, Victor Barber Shop, and Levels.

The evolution of barbershops is an under-recognized history, especially in the Hudson Valley. In the era of Jim Crow, Black-owned barbershops were safe spaces where African American men could freely socialize and discuss contemporary issues. Today, this tradition remains. In a city that is 3.8 square miles, there are 22 counted barbershops. For many African Americans, getting a haircut is an experience that builds community shapes political actions and establishes new meaningful relationships.

We would like to thank sound editor Geremy Oustatcher of NCPP intern Ash Gonzalez and transcription volunteers from Storm King High School David Lu, Carly Neville, Carolyn Mendlewski, Noah Mendlewski, Sofia Bove, and Lisa Shrem. This project was funded by an Awesome Newburgh Foundation award.

Opening Reception: March 31, 2019 at 5pm-7pm
Newburgh Community Photo Project
102 South William Street (Atlas Studios)
Newburgh, NY 12550
Newburgh Community Photo Project
102 South William Street, Newburgh NY

Frederick Douglass in Newburgh is a consortium of the diverse organizations including: The Black History Committee of the Hudson Valley, The Restorative Center, Historical Society of Newburgh Bay & the Highlands, Newburgh Black Pioneers, Dept. of Small Interventions, The Fullerton Center, Newburgh Preservation Association, Thornwillow Press and other individuals. The group is committed to honor Frederick Douglass’ visit to the City of Newburgh in 1870 and is planning a city-wide commemoration for 2020.

Newburgh Community Photo Project (NCPP) is a grassroots, community-based arts program that teaches photography and related media to local residents in Newburgh, NY through workshops and mentorships to explore critical social justice issues directly related to their lives and their communities. Participants are trained as Citizen Journalists by professional photographers, editors, and media artists to raise awareness and become powerful voices in their community.

The Restorative Center’s mission is to develop a community-centered model of restorative justice that creates the structure and space for communities to discover and activate their ability to work together toward their own well-being.

Awesome Newburgh Foundation seeks to promote the city’s strengths and to catalyze more community projects that engage and bring us together. Each month, ten trustees give one $1,000 grant to an awesome project. Projects range from youth culinary workshop to photography exhibits to city-wide time banking movement.

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