Founded in 2000, The Marcus Garvey Park Alliance (MGPA) was formed to restore the Park as a safe and inviting place for community residents. Over time, the mission has adapted to the changing cultural and political climates of the city. No longer is the mission to simply restore and maintain the Park; rather, the mission has grown to use the Park as a tool to embrace the community on a more profound level. This has expanded MGPA’s work beyond the borders of the Park and has encompassed other Parks and open spaces. MGPA has developed ongoing arts and cultural programming to celebrate and preserve the culture of the community at a time when gentrification threatens the visibility of the creative culture of Harlem
Working with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation as well as community leaders, the MGPA has improved playgrounds and green spaces and transformed the Park from underutilized public space to a place for the community to gather. The restored Richard Rodgers Amphitheater is a cultural epicenter for the community.
In 2014, MGPA installed two Little Free Libraries in the Park and created the Reading Circle Program. Partnering with nearby daycare centers, children’s book authors, local musicians, and artists, local children are given access to free books as well as weekly reading circles during the summer. To date, over 7,500 books have been distributed to children and their families.
Working collaboratively with the Mount Morris Park Community Improvement Association, elected officials, and community stakeholders funding was raised to restore the iconic fire watchtower that has stood atop of the mountain of Manhattan Schist in the center of the park since 1857. The fire Watchtower is currently being restored and will return to its original site in 2018.
In 2015, MGPA organized the Public Art Initiative (PAI), an ongoing program intended to strengthen the networks between the neighborhoods of Harlem through public art installations. The PAI encourages local artists and artists of color, to propose temporary public art installations for parks and other sites throughout Harlem. The MGPA works collaboratively to facilitate these installations with city agencies and to assist artists with the costs of fabrication and installation.
In 2016, the Marcus Garvey Park Alliance provided partial or full funding to 27 public art installations that were installed throughout Central and East Harlem.
The Marcus Garvey Park Alliance is an all-volunteer organization and we encourage residents to become involved.