My name is Sable Elyse Smith, and I am the new Education Assistant here at The Studio Museum in Harlem. I am originally from Los Angeles, which is one of many reasons why I'm so passionate about education and access—when I was in high school, my access to arts education became increasingly nonexistent, and I decided to commit myself in some way to arts education. My path has been long—the abridged version is that I studied painting and filmmaking at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, Georgia, and recently completed my MFA in Design & Technology at Parsons: The New School for Design, where I am currently part-time faculty.
Somewhere in between pursuing my two degrees, I did a year's long stint in London working while taking classes from time to time. There I discovered the work of Kara Walker while visiting the Tate Modern. A year later, I discussed the colonial archive, Walker’s work, and the repetition of the words light & dark in Joseph Conrad’s novel, Heart of Darkness at a liberal arts symposium held at Oglethorpe University. The archive—a subject with which I am fascinated—can be generally considered a vessel of information contributing to the construction of a particular historical narrative.
In addition to my teaching practice, which also includes an apprenticeship at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), I am a working artist. My work has been supported by institutions such as the New Museum, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and Artist Television Access in San Francisco, the International Center for Photography and Eyebeam in New York, among others. My work encompasses lectures, pedagogy and the examination of history, both personal and collective.
Through this chain of events, I find myself at the Studio Museum. I am excited to be working at an institution whose values are completely in line with my own, but more importantly, I am excited to be involved in an educational endeavor which posits access as a driving force. I am looking forward to getting to know Harlem, to familiarize myself with the Museum's permanent collection and I am especially excited about the opportunity to learn. This is a position where my hours of learning will dramatically outweigh my hours of teaching and I am grateful for that. Don’t be surprised if you find me leading your groups guided tour or workshops at the Museum in the near future!