The deadline for our current cycle of Community Arts Grants is TOMORROW! Read on as we continue to catch up with previous BAC grantees to learn more about the wide range of projects this funding can support, and what these artists and organizations are up to now.
Organization: The Arab-American Family Support Center (AAFSC)
The Arab-American Family Support Center (AAFSC) provides immigrant communities with health services, language and literacy education, legal assistance, youth leadership programming, and more to help them acclimate to life in the United States.
What has your BAC grant helped you accomplish?
We are incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Brooklyn Arts Council. With BAC funding, we were able to engage our young people in the arts, as a means of self-expression, personal growth, and cultural exploration – all particularly important in this current climate of xenophobia. Our young people had a chance to explore a variety of art forms including drawing, traditional dance, and drumming, and were truly engaged and excited by all these forms.
How have you grown since your BAC grant? In what ways is AAFSC a different organization now?
Since receiving our BAC grant, we have grown tremendously. We see our students’ leadership skills and self-expression blossom as they have been exposed to various forms of art. We are all so grateful for an opportunity to prioritize such a key aspect of youth development, an aspect which is often forgotten–art!
What’s been your biggest challenge as an organization?
Our biggest challenge has been the xenophobic political climate. Our community members have experienced an increase in acts of discrimination and hate, which has had significant impact on their mental well-being. Now, more than ever, it is critical that we prioritize arts as a means of self-expression and cross-cultural communication.
Where do you generally look for guidance, funding, and strategy?
The Arab-American Family Support Center looks first and foremost to our community members for guidance around strategy. We are constantly responding to the ever-evolving needs within our community and building programs and initiatives (most recently our Mental Health Initiative), which are most necessary.
What has inspired you?
We are inspired by our resilient community members and by their passion to continue building meaningful conversations to bridge cultural gaps. We are inspired by organizations, community members, and funders like the Brooklyn Arts Council that recognize the importance of the work we do, acknowledge the needs within our community, and who stand in solidarity with immigrants and refugees.
Find the Arab American Family Support Center here.
Apply for one of our Community Arts Grants by September 20 at 11:59 pm to fund your own individual, community, or organizational arts project in Brooklyn!