Community [re]vitalization at [re]New Lots

Creative Coalitions partner ARTs East New York is kicking off their newest initiative this month – the [re]New Lots Market and Artist Incubator. The market will be a one-stop shopping destination anchored in the arts with storefronts for local small business owners. The artist incubator will be a creative space offering rehearsal, exhibit and work rentals and studios to visual and performance artist. This initiative is focused on community revitalization and economic and artist activity for East New York. ARTs East New York is committed to presenting and promoting multicultural arts to address socio-economic issues that hinder the growth and development of the community.

On Saturday December 13th, from 11am – 8pm, ARTs East New York will host their 6th Annual Tree Lighting at [re]New Lots (170 New Lots Avenue). This holiday extravaganza will feature: hourly live performances by AENY artists, including Mr. Reed; a holiday market including [re]New Lots vendors, purchasers will receive a free tote bag; photo/video booths; family friendly activities; free hot chocolate, raffles & toy giveaways; an awards ceremony with remarks from local politicians and the annual Christmas tree lighting; and a preview of the [re]New Lots Market and Artist Incubator space.

For more info visit www.renewlots.org.

I Was Once Like You, Part 1: An Applicant Prepares

It’s that time of year again! The weather’s going crazy as we approach the autumnal equinox, and the BAC grants department is hard at work as our deadlines approach. And you? Well if you’re thinking about applying to one of our grants, you are likely doing your own fair share of running around. Or you should be. Because let me know tell you something – I was once like you.
Before I started working at BAC, I was both a grant applicant and a grantee. I filled out all those boxes and agonized over my budgets. And through this experience I learned one very important thing, and I’m here to share it with you. Starting early with make your life easier. Now I know that might seem both once obvious and useless to the skeptics out there, but I’ll break it down into four tips:

Phone a friend
It’s a great idea to get somebody else to read over your application before you send it to us. Give it to your friend, the one who’s not an artist. Do they know what you’re talking about? Can they follow your narrative? It’s true that your application will be sent to a panel of your peers, but you don’t want to assume prior knowledge. Your writing shouldn’t be too academic or packed full of jargon. And it should include the basic who, what, when, where, why of it all. So send your application to a friend and ask for feedback. And maybe bake them some cookies to sweeten the deal.

Does this thing even work?
My first year as a BAC grant applicant, I assumed that because I was in physical possession of a printer, I was all set. I spent most of my time preparing my narrative, my budget, and my work sample, ensuring that everything was just so. And I left the preparation of the actual, physical application until the last day because I assumed it would be quick and easy. What a fool I was! When I plugged my printer into my laptop and pressed print, nothing happened. I laughed! I cried! I freaked all the way out! Then I ended up visiting not just one but two different Brooklyn public libraries so I could print out my application. It was a complete and total nightmare. Don’t be like me. Have a printing plan in place.

Gather your materials
Another reason why my application took so long to print was that I was emailing people asking for their resumes, letters of support, etc. the day of the deadline. In hindsight, I realize that I wasn’t clear enough with my colleagues about when I needed those documents from them, and so I found myself hounding them via email and straining to remain polite. Don’t do what I did. Communicate with your collaborators clearly, often, and early.

Note the time
Don’t forget that once you get your application printed, collated, and packed, you still have to get if to us on time. That means you’ll either need to bring it to the BAC office by 6pm sharp on the day of the deadline (9/16 for LAS and 9/23 for CAF), or you’ll need to get your application packet postmarked by the USPS on the appropriate date. Know how you’re going to get your application to us! Because it took me so long to print and prepare my application my first year as an applicant, the BAC offices and most of the post offices were closed. I was forced to make a mad dash via subway to the big post office at 421 8th Avenue to get that puppy postmarked.

I’ll say one last thing, and then I’ll sign off. We’re already receiving the first grant applications of the year. And we’re lovingly filing them to await processing. If you’ve got everything together and you’ve looked your application over, it’s okay to turn it in early. If you can avoid turning your applications in at the last possible moment, you’ll save yourself a ton a stress.

Azure Osborne-Lee is a theatre maker, writer, and arts administrator. He joined BAC as a Grants Associate in July of 2014. Azure holds a BA in English and Spanish and an MA in Women’s and Gender Studies from The University of Texas at Austin as well as an MA in Advanced Theatre Practice from Royal Central School of Speech & Drama. He is writer for Fringe Review US and he has a website somewhere. Oh, here it is: azureosbornelee.com

This Fall, BAC’s Creative Coalitions is Still Bringing Art to Life

Throughout the summer, Creative Coalitions’ series Bringing Art to Life has been celebrating the amazing artistic talents and beautiful green spaces of Bushwick, Brownsville, and East New York.

Dancers from Powerful Pioneers at Newport Garden (photo credit Quardean Lewis-Allen)

Dancers from Powerful Pioneers at Newport Garden (photo credit Quardean Lewis-Allen)

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The Folk Arts Way

Join BAC Folk Arts Director Christopher Mulé, as he speaks at The Way Station’s “Art Talks Brooklyn” on July 22 at 7:30pm.  He’ll be discussing how Folk life fits into the mix and some future plans for BAC’s Folk Arts program.  Other participants will include Shoe String Press and Launchpad.  See below for the Art Talks Brooklyn overview and click here to learn more about The Way Station. 

TUESDAY 7/22
NEW! 7:30pm- Art Talks Brooklyn
683 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11238

A new speaker series highlighting Brooklyn Arts initiatives and programs. Monthly, we will invite three speakers, each allotted 15 minutes, to share how they are impacting our community through the arts.

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Shoe String Press- Lane Sell, Crown Heights

 

Founded in 2011, Shoestring Press serves artists in Crown Heights with work space, technical expertise, gallery exhibitions, critical engagement, and intellectual community. We’ve built a community of 25 working member artists and wider range of performers, workshop participants, exhibitors, and friends on the premise proving that making art should be an open process, one that is visible to the community and affordable to anyone who wants to participate in visual culture.

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Meet the Artist: Abdul Badi

Here we interview Abdul Badi, an East New York-based painter, about his work over the last 50 years.

Abdul Badi

Abdul Badi

Where are you from? How long have you lived in Brooklyn?
I’m actually born in Washington DC, and wound up in Brooklyn back in 1964. East New York – I’ve been out here since 1988. I’ve lived out here, but I hadn’t met a lot of other artists out here until Catherine opened up Arts East NY, and then I was surprised to see how many other artists actually lived out here. I participated in [the Go Brooklyn Arts Gallery] competition 2 years ago, where they visited everybody’s studio, and in East New York, I was the only artist out here. The other sections – Bed-Stuy, Greenpoint, Williamsburg were chock full of artists, but East New York? Up until then I didn’t really see much on the arts scene. Everything I did was outside of East New York.

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BAC Teaching Artists ROCK!

Teaching Artist Peter Barnett helps students during a ceramics residency. Photo: Misun Jin

Teaching Artist Peter Barnett helps students during a ceramics residency. Photo: Misun Jin

In honor of teaching artist appreciation week, we’re sharing just a few of the things our partner school administrators, teachers, and students have been saying about working with BAC teaching artists.
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ARTS IN EDUCATION SPOTLIGHT: Schools Enjoy Professional Performances at BCBC

 

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Conversations hushed and small feet wiggled in anticipation as the lights dimmed and music filled the theater. Students from schools throughout Brooklyn and their families were amongst the audience at the recent “Sid the Science Kid – Live!” performance at Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College (BCBC). This spring, BAC has provided over 600 tickets and roundtrip metrocards to attend BCBC shows ranging from “Sid” to “A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald” by The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra to the Golden Dragon Acrobats’ “Cirque Ziva” as part of the CASA program supported through the NY City Council and the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA). Trained through in-school performances, students bring their audience skills to BCBC and often share these skills with their parents and siblings.

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SANDY TILES: Superstorm Sandy Relief Tile Mural Project

Caption: Seniors create ceramic tiles with artist Jennifer Wade.

Caption: Seniors create ceramic tiles with artist Jennifer Wade.

Since April, seniors at two senior centers in Coney Island, JASA Senior Alliance and the Coney Island Seaside Innovative Senior Center, have been creating ceramic tiles inspired by the ocean and their community. During weekly two-hour workshops led by artist Jennifer Wade, participants have explored the art of clay-making. They first worked together to determine a theme for their public mural installation, which incorporates tiles from both sites, and decided to focus on the lasting impact of Superstorm Sandy on their community. The project will be installed on a relic fountain on the Coney Island boardwalk at 21st Street as part of the ongoing community renewal effort after the storm.

As a resident of the Seagate community who was profoundly impacted by the storm, Jennifer Wade is deeply committed to renewal. Her husband Patrick Denis is also involved as the installer of the final work. The couple’s passion for the project is infectious.

Throughout the program, senior participants learned techniques for working with clay, glazes, and underglazes and interpreting 2-D and 3-D images in clay relief. The program, supported by The MetLife Foundation Creative Aging Program through the National Guild for Community Arts Education, provides hands-on arts activities that combat isolation and social disconnect among seniors. Participants have noted the impact of the program:

“How important it is to try new things like ceramics. I enjoy the class. I benefit from it. I look at this stuff and say ‘I did it myself!’”

 “This is my first ceramics class. I’m so proud of myself!  I always thought of my daughter as an artist, but I’ve made some great work! You never know what’s inside of you.”

 “I dreamed of doing sculpture all my life but never had the opportunity. This is very important to me. This is how I can improve myself.”

We are thrilled to see the benefits of the creative process and excited to celebrate the seniors’ work at the public unveiling on October 29.