Grantee Spotlight: NY Writers Coalition

We’re less than three weeks away from the application deadline for our current cycle of Community Arts Grants, due September 20th! Follow our Grantee Spotlight series as we catch up with previous BAC grantees to learn more about the kind of work this funding can help support, and what these artists and organizations are up to now.

Lit Fest performer
Morgan Weidinger performing at NYWC’s Lit Fest in Fort Greene. Credit: Roger Nembhard

Organization: NY Writers Coalition (NYWC)

Launched in 2002, NY Writers Coalition partners with community organizations to provide free and low-cost writing workshops across New York City. Workshops are targeted to youth, seniors, women, LGBT communities, people living with disabilities, people who are incarcerated or have been incarcerated, and others from traditionally silenced groups in order to encourage writing as a means of empowerment and social change. 

How have you grown since your first BAC grant? In what ways is NYWC a different organization now?

We received our first BAC grant in 2005. Since then, we have grown from a mostly volunteer, grassroots organization into one of the largest community-based creative writing programs in the world.

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Mind Your Body

Dance education offers many opportunities for students to explore movement and rhythm physically, while also gaining valuable cardio-vascular exercise.  But learning through dance provides benefits that surpass strengthening muscles and improving one’s heart beat.  As BAC’s Dance Teaching Artists know, the art form can build a range of cognitive abilities and socio-emotional skills.

For example, pre-K students at PS 29 in Brooklyn, who studied dance foundations with Teaching Artist Asma Feyijinmi, practiced moving from high to low and in different directions.  These exercises helped them develop their spatial awareness while also increasing their sense of self-control, which is important for any four-year-old.

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Exploring NYC Through the Arts

FY16 217K Visual Culminating Event (14)

This past summer, second and fourth grade students at PS 217 in Brooklyn participated in BAC theater and visual arts residencies investigating the theme “Exploring New York City”. These residencies, supported through a long-established partnership with Flatbush Development Corporation (FDC), allowed students to bring their home town to life in fresh and personally-relevant ways.

Over the course 8 sessions, teaching artist Valerie Hager led students in creating an original performance piece which depicted life and landmarks in the students’ native city. “What is it you want other people to know about New York?” This question guided and grounded the fourth graders’ show plotline, which ultimately highlighted the various occupations and daily routines of New Yorkers.

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BAC Grants: What’s new for 2016

We just released the guidelines, applications and info session dates for BAC’s 2016 Community Arts Grants!

If you need to familiarize yourself with our programs, check out my posts about BAC Grants Basics and Getting an early start on your proposal.

This post will highlight some of the additions & improvements we’ve made for 2016. Hope to see you at an info session!

Narrowed request range from $1-5,000 to $2-5,000
Applicants can now ask for funding in the range of $2-5,000.  This is in response to the amount of each individual grant we’re traditionally able to award vs. the amount of work it takes to apply for and manage a grant. In narrowing the request amount, we will be awarding larger individual grants, hopefully reducing the amount of additional fundraising grantees have to do to complete a project, and ideally creating a larger impact. In 2015, we asked the panel to really consider these things when determining funding amounts and our average grant size went from $1,500-$1,800 to $1,800-$2,000. To progress!

Goodbye CAF, hello BAF
Community Arts Fund is now Brooklyn Arts Fund. It may seem semantic, but it’s really an effort to further clarify each program’s funding goals – the next phase in some of the work we started last year. The program funded by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs aims to cultivate Brooklyn’s artists, arts organizations, and audiences through its support of high-quality arts projects in all disciplines, genres and styles: Brooklyn art for Brooklyn audiences. Brooklyn Brooklyn Brooklyn!

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Friends with Money: Julia Steele Allen

Image provided by the artist.

Image provided by the artist.

Name: Julia Steele Allen

Aka: Um…Mister? Boss-of-one?

Hometown: NYC! Born here!

Neighborhood: Currently living in Prospect Heights/ Crown Heights but soon Flatbush (again)

Favorite thing about your neighborhood:

Living close to Prospect Park! But…moving from here again soon. Love living in Brooklyn, but housing uncertainty is the new normal and it’s rough.

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Creative Coalitions Brownsville Presents: The Writings On The Wall Unveiling

#BlackGirlsMatter by Lexi Bella

#BlackGirlsMatter by Lexi Bella

On Saturday, May 30, Creative Coalitions Brownsville unveiled its Writings on the Wall murals! The Writings on the Wall has been months in the making, with lots of long nights of planning, prepping and painting, these murals are up all over Brownsville, Brooklyn. Each of which celebrates visual art, poetry and much more. With help and inspiration from community youth, artists and organizers it’s just beginning!
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