Black History Month Advocacy: African American Artist and Educator Selma Hortense Burke’s Home at 88 East 10th Street

88 East 10th Street (l.); Selma Burke.

We are thrilled to share our recent research uncovering and documenting that trailblazing African American sculptor and educator Selma Hortense Burke lived, worked, and taught at 88 East 10th Street, a building within our proposed historic district South of Union Square for which we have been seeking landmark designation. Burke was one of the most acclaimed American sculptors of the 20th century, and she opened groundbreaking schools and completed internationally recognized works of art while she lived here, from 1944 to 1949.  Read our letter here to the Landmarks Preservation Commission calling for landmark designation and of this building and the rest of our proposed historic district, and documenting Burke’s incredibly life and accomplishments.

Village Preservation had already documented the extraordinary significance of this 1844 former rowhouse as part of the legacy of the Stuyvesant family and the home and studio of artist Willem de Kooning from 1952-58, as well as serving as the center of the 10th Street Galleries, which revolutionized art and the art world in the mid-20th century. Selma Hortense Burke’s presence here only adds to and multiplies that extraordinary legacy, and speaks to the rich heritage of this area south of Union Square in relation to African American historywomen’s history, and art history.  

February 18, 2021