Main content

Douglas Shindler ’22 Plans to Open The Black Library

The library and community arts center will be in his hometown of Monticello, NY.

Douglas Shindler ’22 (Visual Arts: Drawing and Painting and Photography) has partnered with fellow artist Michael Davis to create The Black Library in their hometown of Monticello, NY.

Working with the Hurleyville Performing Arts Center, they received a two-year grant totaling $407,800 from Creatives Rebuild New York to create a library and community art space.

Recognizing the potential for artists and the residents of Monticello, Shindler and Davis conceived of a library and community arts center to keep creative people in the area and to provide a forum for collaboration. The pair have known each other for nearly ten years since they met at Sullivan County Community College.

They’re currently searching for a space. In the meantime, they’re holding events and a book drive to support their new venture. The collection they’ve compiled so far includes 60 photobooks donated by photographer Kris Graves ’04, also a friend of Shindler’s.

“We really want this to be a vibrant, expressive, and creative place—both inside and outside,” says Shindler. “We want it to be a beacon of hope, one that can transform and uplift our area.” (Quote from

Douglas Shindler '22 and Michael Davis, co-creators of The Black Library in Monticello, NY

The Black Library Mission

According to the website, “The Black Library’s mission is to celebrate Black culture and history, as well as create a collaborative, creative, and educational atmosphere for the residents of Sullivan County, New York. The Black Library will carry a diverse collection of books by Black authors, exhibit visual art by Black artists, offer educational workshops for children and adults, and host talks and community discussions. Welcoming local residents and visitors of all backgrounds, the project will promote greater understanding of Black history and culture, advocate for racial justice in Sullivan County and beyond, and act as an incubator for the next generation of local artists.”

Shindler’s Work Highlights the Overlooked

A painter and photographer, Shindler addresses themes of violence, street life, sport, and community in his work, and centers on the underrepresented and the overlooked. His gestural impasto paintings with expressive and rich tones are narrative-driven and focus on figures, their actions, and their stories, but also on dumpsters, cars, clothes, hydrants, and bikes. They take inspiration from hip-hop lyrics and sayings from Black culture. Shindler’s large format photographic prints celebrate underrepresented people in rural places. The visual field becomes a home for those left out.

As a student, Shindler was a NIKON / Gordon Parks Photography Scholar for 2020–2021.