In 1971, John and Richenda organized the first Cranberry Street Fair in Brookylyn Heights. Located on the shady, quiet block between Hicks and Willow streets, locals celebrate the coming of autumn with a day of homegrown activities and entertainment, During the fair, the couple opened up the doors to their home to provide the community an inside look at the artists' studio. After John's death in 2001, Richenda continued to help organize and oversee the fair. In fact, in 2013, Richenda was voted "New Yorker of the Week" for her devotion and commitment to building relationship in this small community.
John and Richenda hosted large Christmas parties every year for their friends and neighbors. The Rhodens adorned the house with numerous Christmas trees each year.
The Rhoden's also organized a Strawberry Festival at their residence. The event was much smaller in scale and was meant to celebrate both John (March 13) and Richenda's (April 4) birthdays, and of course strawberries were served!
Both John and Richenda shared their passion of art by teaching students of all ages. Both taught for the New York Board of Education as well as used their home/studio as a teaching space.
John Rhoden’s studio at 23 Cranberry Street in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood of NYC is his most iconic workspace. He worked there almost exclusively for over four decades (1960-2001). The space was unique in that it was formally a mechanic’s garage equipped with a freight elevator. The home was spacious enough to create large scale sculptures, store works of art, and all the necessary sculpting tools and supplies.
In this studio is where John was able to really expand the scale of his artworks. His monumental sculpture commissions, such as Mitochondria for the Metropolitan Hospital and Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth for the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, were all conceived in this space.
What stories do you have about the Rhodens? We would greatly appreciate your help to keep the John Rhoden Digital Archives vibrant, fresh, and filled with with content that promotes and preserves the Rhoden's legacy as pillars of the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood. Is there a personal story that you would like to share? Please tell us about it. Thanks so much for your time and interest.