As part of our Q&A series, Morningsider brings you exclusive interviews with neighborhood “Insiders.”  This week, we interview Jacqueline Orange of ArtCrawl Harlem™, New York’s only guided trolley-bus tour dedicated to exposing galleries and “hidden” art spaces throughout Harlem. Established in 2008, ArtCrawl Harlem set out to showcase the best of Harlem’s fine art galleries, many of which were hidden, and in some cases, unknown to non-collectors.  The group’s tour celebrating Romare Bearden’s centennial won critical acclaim and attracted a slew of media, from the New York Times, to ABC and more.

ArtCrawl Harlem’s next installment will treat participants to a guided tour of the Newark Museum’s critically acclaimed exhibit, “Romare Bearden: Southern Recollections.” In addition, guests will have the rare opportunity to view the works of Norman Lewis at Newark’s Iandor Fine Arts gallery, which represents his estate.  Other galleries include City Without Walls and Arlington Works. The tour will culminate with a delicious meal featuring Newark’s legendary Portuguese/Spanish cuisine – complete with wine and music.

Tell us about ArtCrawl Harlem™?

ArtCrawl Harlem, now in its forth year, is a not-for-profit art gallery tour designed to educate and entertain participants, while sustaining, supporting and promoting the rich visual arts in Harlem.  We are Harlem’s first and only trolley bus guided art tour, created by two community entrepreneurs. Our goal has been and continues to be putting Harlem on the cultural map, equal to Chelsea as the place to go for cutting edge visual art. We support the galleries and, by extension, the emerging and established artists that the galleries promote in the community. We employ people, we train people, we offer internships to students, and create career options and opportunities to young people from the community.

ArtCrawl Harlem Inc. introduces art lovers to artists in selected galleries and public spaces. As the ArtCrawl Harlem trolley makes its rounds to the various galleries and art spaces, your tour guide will point out interesting facts and points of interest along the way. Following the tour, you will be treated to dinner, compete with wine and music.

Tell us about your upcoming tour.  We hear you’re taking the tour bus on the road to Newark?

We are connecting the dots from Harlem to Newark. We have 3 powerhouse artists on this tour that have roots in Harlem, including Romare Bearden, Norman Lewis and Willie Cole. The guided tour will include a visit to the “Romare Bearden: Southern Recollections” exhibition at the Newark Museum, visits to several Newark area art galleries and will finish with a delicious meal, featuring Newark’s legendary Portuguese/Spanish cuisine – complete with wine and music.  We will also explore the Ironbound community by way of a mural that tells a story about the environmental injustices that are suffered in the community.

Tour buses depart from the Newark Museum and buses are available from New York City as well. We invite you to join us as we explore the best that Newark, New Jersey has to offer in art. The event will take place on August 11, 2012. For details visit WWW.ARTCRAWLHARLEM.COMor call 1 (800) 838-3006.

What are some of the tours you’ve done in the past?

We have showcased Harlem Galleries two to three times a year since 2008. This past April we were in Spanish Harlem showing Latino Artists. HGTV joined our tour featuring Cecilia Yaghoubi, who showed in the Biennale in Florence, Italy, and whose home gallery was for sale.   Also on tour was Diógenes Ballester, who showed in the past San Juan Biennial.  Last Fall we kicked off the 100 years of Romare Bearden celebration showing Bearden and Bearden inspired works. In the Fall of 2010, we featured James DeLa Vega, who worked on a new mural with community children in the lobby of Union Settlement.

What can you share with us about the artists you are featuring on the tour?

We will see works from: Romare Bearden- widely considered to be one of America’s most inventive and important artists; Norman Lewis - the first major African-American member of the art movement known as Abstract Expressionism; and Willie Cole- a much younger and still living artist who was an artist in residence from 1988 and 1989 at The Studio Museum in Harlem.

What other projects and events does the ArtCrawl have planned?

For Fall 2012 we are planning an African Artist gallery tour where will go to galleries with work from local African artists and a stop at the new African Museum on 110th Street.

Anything else you would like to add?

Did you know that the Newark Branch Brook Park was designed in 1898 by the Olmsted Brothers, nephew and stepson of Frederick Law Olmsted, the nation’s foremost landscape architect and designer of Central Park? The northern part of Central Park is in Harlem.