Brooklyn Arts Council has been providing Community Arts Grants to Brooklyn’s artists, cultural ambassadors, arts organizations, and communities for almost 40 years, putting city and state cultural dollars directly into the hands of the artists and organizations. In our Grantee Spotlight series, we’re highlighting some of those artists and groups who contribute so much to the cultural vitality of Brooklyn.
Organization: Apogee Journal
Apogee is an art and literary journal whose mission is to provide a platform for underrepresented voices, engaging identity politics and activism in works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and visual art. This spring, Apogee’s Writing Resistance workshop series offered affordable and inclusive classes taught by Apogee editors and contributors, and just last week the journal published its eleventh issue. Read on for more about how Apogee used their BAC grant, challenges they currently face, and where they turn for inspiration.
What has your BAC grant helped you accomplish?
Apogee Journal is committed to keeping writing relevant and accessible. Our BAC grant helped us to put our beliefs into practice, to grow our literary community, and to provide space, time, and some creative nourishment to NYC writers.
How have you grown from your first BAC grant? In what ways is Apogee a different organization now?
The Writing Resistance workshops have very much changed our organization. Many of the participants from the workshops have joined Apogee’s team, or sent us work during our reading periods. The workshops have expanded Apogee beyond the journal page and into the world of NYC writers. We love the workshops so much that they’ve become a part of our annual programming, which we hope to continue for many years to come.
What’s been your biggest challenge as an organization?
Our biggest challenge has been securing funding for operational costs. Even with an all-volunteer staff, a bi-annual print journal is expensive, especially because we have been committed to paying our contributors. In our vision for the future of Apogee Journal, we have decided to move towards an all-online presence with occasional print projects, with the hope of creating more accessible ongoing conversations between our creative content and the community surrounding this work.
Where do you generally look for guidance, funding, and strategy?
We have guidance provided by an advisory board consisting of ten experienced, high-profile writers and journalists. But we also learn a lot sharing information with like-minded organizations.
Which Brooklyn artists and organizations inspire you?
Too many to possibly shout out here. Many of Apogee’s staff, workshop leaders, featured artists, and writers are Brooklyn residents. Writing Resistance teaching artists have included Brooklyn writers R. Erica Doyle, T’ai Freedom Ford, and Yin Q. to name just a few. One of our all-time favorite Brooklyn organizations and collaborators is NY Writers Coalition. NY Writers Coalition provides free and low-cost creative writing workshops throughout the city to people from all walks of life.