Michelle Obama Calls Harlem a Cultural Gem

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The lunch was provided by Red Rooster, a well-known soul food restaurant in Harlem, and included shrimp and rice and a salad with cornbread croutons.

The visiting first ladies from other nations will go home with a gift basket that includes a jar of honey butter produced from fresh honey from the White House beehive and lemon verbena grown in the White House herb garden.

They were serenaded by Broadway star Audra McDonald, whom the first lady described as a “dear friend,” and members of the chamber music class at LaGuardia Arts High School. There was also a performance by company members from the Dance Theatre of Harlem.

The group also toured the museum, which houses about 2,000 works from about 450 artists, the earliest work from 1804 and the most recent from 2013.

The museum was founded in a loft farther north in Harlem and moved to its current space, a former bank, in the 1980s. It currently has three emerging artists-in-residence of African or Latino descent occupying its studios.

(Photo: AP)

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