New home found for Ito’s ‘Tomorrow’

Akihiro Ito’s sculpture ‘Tomorrow’ at the Andrew Freedman Home. (l-r:) Fordham Road BID outreach coordinatior Tom Sacco, artist residency coordinator Walter Puryear, artist Ito, and Fordham Road BID deputy director Daniel Bernstein.
Community News Group / Jaime Williams

The public art piece, ‘Tomorrow’, has a past at Fordham Road but a future on the Grand Concourse.

Japanese artist Akihiro Ito recently donated his sculpture to the Andrew Freedman Home, where it sits in the historical mansion’s front yard.

The sculpture was previously on display at Fordham Road and Webster Avenue as part of a temporary installation through the Department of Transportation and the Fordham Road Business Improvement District.

The larger-than-life abstract wood piece, which evokes the image of a baby, attracted a lot of attention from passersby when it was unveiled in April 2014, said Fordham BID director Daniel Bernstein.

The sculpture was a positive addition to the BID, said Bernstein, but it would have to be dismantled with the DOT exhibit ending and the artist returning to Japan in June.

“‘Tomorrow’ was very important to us, we didn’t want to see it disappear,” said Bernstein.

Although they had originally wanted to keep the artwork in the Fordham neighborhood, the BID expanded their goal to keeping it in the borough for Bronxites to enjoy.

With the temporary exhibit over, the BID has a goal of bringing more artworks to the public in the future to enhance the streetscape.

“We have a lot of these spaces that we feel could host urban art,” said Bernstein.

The BID has also recently increased its cultural offerings with free events, such as summer movie nights, to attract more people to the shopping district.

“We’re trying to be known for more than just shopping,” said Bernstein.

While the BID is looking to grow, so is the Andrew Freedman Home, which was originally opened in 1924 as a retirement home for wealthy individuals who had lost their fortunes.

The landmark, home to a day care and senior services, has recently become an arts and cultural center.

The revitalization of the home began three years ago with an art exhibit by ‘No Longer Empty,’ and the start of an ongoing artists residency project.

Since then, the home has hosted other exhibits, including the Bronx Artist Documentary Project.

As the home grows as a cultural center, the hope is that it will help lift up the neighborhood, said residency director Walter Puryear.

“The vision is to create art programming that will help develop the community,” he said.

For now, the central piece of art activity in the home is the residency for both local and international artists, which Ito will travel back for next year.

“We were very fortunate to be introduced to him,” said Puryear.

Ito said he is looking forward to the residency, and was happy that ‘Tomorrow’ found a home where it could continue to reach Bronxites.

Ito also donated a second sculpture, ‘Destiny’ to the Andrew Freedman Home, as well as a sculpture called ‘A Child’ to I.S. 254 in Fordham.

Reach Reporter Jaime Williams at 718-260-4591. E-mail her at jwilliams@cnglocal.com.

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