In 2020, we awarded the Photo Urbanism Fellowship to Barnabas Crosby to document the ingenuity of small businesses during the pandemic in tandem with the Neighborhood Commons project.
The 2020 Photo Urbanism fellow, Barnabas Crosby was connected to Neighborhood Commons: Plazas, Sidewalks & Beyond, a project that explored opportunities to improve the current model of public space governance and programming.
Through his work, Barnabas tells human, personal narratives about small businesses during this challenging time. Limited by costs and social distancing requirements, COVID-19 proposed a challenge to Barnabas and fellow business owners. In response to this challenge, many entrepreneurs created innovative uses of public space to continue operating their businesses and serve their communities. Over the course of the fellowship, Barnabas repurposed his neighborhood handball court as a photography studio. He invited local business owners to sit and join him in this exercise of “re-imagination.” The images in the series portray Black entrepreneurs making room for play through reimagined settings and reimagined identities.
Holding Court: A Portrait Series by Barnabas depicts the resilience and ingenuity of entrepreneurs and the power of public space.
The exhibition was showcased in Times Square Over New Year’s Eve 2022 on the NASDAQ building on Broadway and 43rd Street. From May 1st – May 29th, the exhibition was exhibited at the Brooklyn Public Library Central Branch.
An ongoing program of the Design Trust for Public Space, Photo Urbanism provides fellowships to photographers to create a body of work about the role of public space in New York City.
In 2011, we adopted a new curatorial approach to the program, by linking the fellowship more directly to an active Design Trust project. By focusing the fellowship on a particular public space issue, we give the photographer access to communities and sites they would be unable to enter alone. In turn, the photographer’s artistic vision brings a new perspective, informing and illuminating the potential of our city’s undiscovered and under-used public spaces.
The first fellowship awarded under these new guidelines went to Rob Stephenson to work in tandem with our Five Borough Farm project. Krisanne Johnson received the second fellowship to work in tandem with our Under the Elevated project.
The Photo Urbanism Fellowship is supported in part by the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs.