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Back to Blog June 12, 2023

Alex Strada Awarded Graham Foundation Grant

Author: Emily Herbein

Assistant Professor of Photography Alex Strada has received a Graham Foundation grant for her research project House of D, which explores the history of New York City's Jefferson Market Library, a lavishly decorated Art Deco icon in Greenwich Village that served as the Women’s House of Detention (WHD) from 1932–1974. The WHD was once championed by NYC officials and prison reformers as a “school” to punish women, transgender men, and gender nonconforming people who broke the law or flouted societal norms. Thousands were detained in the heavily congested, fortress-like prison, including activists Angela Davis, Afeni Shakur, and Andrea Dworkin. 

Of this recent honor, Strada said, “I am grateful to the Graham Foundation to be awarded a research grant that will enable time and deep engagement with archival materials related to the Women’s House of Detention—an overlooked historical site important to LGBTQAI+ and women’s rights and the abolition movement.  This research will inform the creation of a new counter-monument public artwork in collaboration with the New York Public Library.”

Recently, Strada was awarded the Queens Museum Year of Uncertainty Artist Residency and Fellowship in 2022, Public Artist in Residence with the New York City  Department of Homeless Services and Department of Cultural Affairs in 2022, and New York State Council for the Arts Film Grant. Learn more about her work here

Photo credit: Photographer unknown, "Prisoner at New York Women's House of Detention waves," ca. 1970. Courtesy Diana Davies papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, MA