Cultural Museum of African Art (CMAA) Receives $1 Million Gift from the NYS Assembly

Formal announcement of the NYS Assembly’s grant of $1,000,000 to The Cultural Museum of African Art (CMAA) will take place at CMAA’s new home – the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation (BSRC) at Restoration Plaza. This gift was made possible through the leadership
of NYS Assemblymember, Stefani Zinerman, and NYS Assembly Speaker, Carl Heastie. The event will also serve as the formal announcement of CMAA’s partnership with BSRC.

Curated by Mr. Eric Edwards over the course of 50 years, CMAA has amassed more than 3,000 African Artifacts, from all 54 countries on the African continent, spanning more than 4,000 years of human history. It is the most comprehensive collection of African Artifacts. BSRC will serve as home to CMAA’s “Survival Exhibition” which will feature approximately 220 artifacts jointly curated by Eric Edwards and the multidisciplinary artist, Sanford Biggers, whose work installed at Oracle, Rockefeller Center, 2021 was also inspired by artifacts from the collection of Eric Edwards.

CMAA Museum founder/curator Eric Edwards, 2nd from left, with his sister Myrna Edwards; and from l-r are Carl E. Heastie, New York State Assembly Speaker, Real Estate Developer Walter Edwards and Henry Butler, Community Board 3 District Manager.

The CMAA at BSRC is being designed by world-renowned architect Rodney Leon. Mr. Leon is the architect of the African Burial Ground National Monument (ABG) in Lower Manhattan, as well as the “Ark of Return,” a permanent installation at United Nations Plaza.

Paired with its physical exhibition, CMAA, in partnership with MASK Consortium, is in the process of developing the first-of-its-kind, 3-dimensional, digital experience for each of the 3,000 African artifacts held in CMAA’s Collection. This digital experience will offer the only fully interactive and immersive VR museum on a global scale.

“This grant makes it possible for me to gift this collection of African artifacts, which has taken me 50 years to amass, to my community. The collection illuminates our stories and journeys over thousands of years to the beginnings of man and womankind.” – Eric Edwards, Curator and Founder, Cultural Museum of African Art

“The historic 56th District is a global destination for art and culture. We are home to the AUDELCO and Obie Award-winning Billie Holiday Theatre in Bedford Stuyvesant and the Weeksville Heritage Center in Crown Heights. Therefore, it is only fitting that after years of searching, the Eric Edwards Collection will finally become an integral part of our artistic landscape. Mr. Edwards’ commitment to the preservation of African art, its history, and its cultural legacy is unparalleled. I am deeply honored to provide foundational support for the Cultural Museum of African Art at Restoration Plaza.”- Stefani L. Zinerman, 56th District,New York State Assembly

Assemblywoman Stefani Zinerman

”The preservation of history, specifically African American history, has often times been over- looked. Investments like these ensure that African art and its rich history can be studied and enjoyed by future generations. I am honored to have worked with Assemblywoman Zinerman to make this grant available to the Cultural Museum of African Art (CMAA), and would like to thank CMAA for their efforts in keeping our legacy alive.” – Carl E. Heastie, New York State Assembly Speaker.

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