Description & Building Alterations
This building, known as Henington Hall, was constructed in 1907 by architect Herman Horenburger. Originally, a large hall on the first floor was used as an auction room, a gymnasium, a meeting room, and a synagogue on Saturdays and holidays. The building has been used in many different ways over the years: in 1960, it held artist studios on the fourth and fifth floors and a plaster model and machine shop on the third floor.
Since 1974, it has also been home to the Kenkeleba Gallery, which houses the work of African-American artists as well as historic artifacts related to African-American history. About 25 artists can also rent studio space here. In addition to this building, the gallery showcases artists’ pieces in the adjoining sculpture garden at 212 East 2nd Street. According to their website, Kenkeleba was founded in 1974 by Joe Overstreet, Corrine Jennings and Samuel C. Floyd to support African American culture. Kenkeleba began its work on The Bowery near Delancey in New York City with experimental projects to assist African American, Caribbean, and African artists in developing and documenting their work. Early projects included exhibitions and experiments with poetry, music, visual arts, workshops in dance, theater, children’s programs and African markets. The name, Kenkeleba is derived from that of the Seh-Haw plant grown in West Africa, and known for its spiritual, nutritional and healing values. Kenkeleba House is a non-profit art gallery dedicated to celebrating and presenting the visual aesthetic and cultural legacy of African American artists and other artists of color that have been historically overlooked by the art world establishment and cultural mainstream. In 2013 the Wilmer Jennings Gallery at Kenkeleba House hosted the exhibition, The Old Becomes The New: New York Contemporary Native American Art Movement and the New York School, marking the first time Native American contemporary arts in New York City was defined as a movement.
Block : 385 / Lot : 063 / Building Date : 1907 / Original Owner : Solomon Henig / Original Use : Residential/Commercial / Original Architect : Herman Horenburger