The Black Schoolhouse


The Black School is an experimental art school with a mission to promote and extend the legacy of art in Black radical histories by providing innovative education alternatives centered in Black love.

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Joseph Cuillier III is a designer, artist, poet, and educator, deeply dedicated to art and design’s capacity to connect individuals, communities, and causes.

Artist Bio

Shani Peters is a multidisciplinary artist and educator whose work encompasses printmaking, installation, activism histories, and community building.

Artist Bio

Expanding on their radical Black art programming, Joseph Cuillier III and Shani Peters turn a 21st-century schoolhouse into a community center, providing civic engagement activities for the Cuillier’s hometown, New Orleans’s 7th Ward. The building will be a working prototype for a new Rosenwald Schools-inspired initiative—which built 5,000 schoolhouses in the Jim Crow South—placing local community at the center of the school’s curriculum. The Black Schoolhouse will serve as a monument to the legacy of Black school building as self determination, acting as a prototype for promoting community-built Black radical learning spaces, and low-cost solutions for housing displacement.


Award Year
2021
Status

In Progress

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The Black School

New York, NY

The Black School is an experimental art school teaching Black and people of color students and allies to become agents of change, founded by Joseph Cuillier III and Shani Peters in 2016. Their mission is to promote and extend the legacy of art in Black radical histories by providing innovative education alternatives centered in Black love. They have held over 100 workshops on radical Black politics and public interventions that address local community needs, serving over 400 students, and also produced three Black Love Fests, collaborated with more than 40 professional artists, and partnered with over 50 organizations.

Photo by Paper Monday


Individual Bios

Shani Peters is a multidisciplinary artist and educator whose work encompasses printmaking, installation, activism histories, and community building.

Joseph Cuillier III is a designer, artist, poet, and educator, deeply dedicated to art and design’s capacity to connect individuals, communities, and causes.

Photo by Sindayiganza Photography

Joseph Cuillier III

New York, NY

Joseph Cuillier III is a designer, artist, poet, and educator, deeply dedicated to art and design’s capacity to connect individuals, communities, and causes. His work centers on deconstructing histories to build counter narratives and an examination of language, space, abstraction, and Black radical pedagogies through social practice. Cuillier’s installations combine fashion and architecture as disciplines with the potential to move bodies through space, in an attempt to bridge gaps between rhetoric and action, living and form. He is currently based in Harlem, New York, where he received an MFA from Pratt Institute, and is a faculty member at Parsons and Pratt. Cuillier’s work has been exhibited, collected, and presented internationally in galleries, museums, and institutions, including the New Museum, the MoMA Library, the Bauhaus Dessau, the Bronx Museum of Art, Wallach Gallery at Columbia University, the Schafler Gallery at Pratt Institute, among others. Cuillier has been an artist-in-residence/fellow at Sweet Water Foundation courtesy of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, IdeasCity New Orleans, Antenna, New Museum, The Laundromat Project, and A Blade of Grass. Cuillier is the founder and co-director of The Black School and Black Love Fest.


Member of:

The Black School is an experimental art school with a mission to promote and extend the legacy of art in Black radical histories by providing innovative education alternatives centered in Black love.

Shani Peters in shades of lavender. Feeling calm and ready, in the home and eye of a friend. Photo by Chanel Matsunami Govreau

Shani Peters

New York, NY

Shani Peters is a multidisciplinary artist and educator whose work encompasses printmaking, installation, activism histories, and community building. She works to create environments and experiences that offer respite from painful realities and opportunities for collective momentum, learning, respite, and joy. She received an MFA from the City College of New York. Peters has presented work in the US and abroad at the New Museum, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Seoul Art Space Geumcheon South Korea, the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, and the Bauhaus Dessau. Selected residencies include those hosted by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, The Laundromat Project, and Project Row Houses in Houston, TX. Her work has been supported by the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the Rauschenberg Foundation, Rema Hort Mann Foundation, and the Joan Mitchell Foundation. Peters is a faculty member at CCNY, Pratt Institute, and Parsons. She is the co-director of The Black School and Black Love Fest.

Photo by Chanel Matsunami Govreau


Member of:

The Black School is an experimental art school with a mission to promote and extend the legacy of art in Black radical histories by providing innovative education alternatives centered in Black love.