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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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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Friends with Money: Stacy Kovacs/BatalaNYC

Artistic Director Stacy Kovacs. Image provided by artist.

Artistic Director Stacy Kovacs. Image provided by artist.

Name: Stacy Kovacs/BatalaNYC

Aka: Artistic Director

Hometown: Buffalo, NY

Neighborhood: Sunset Park, Brooklyn

Favorite thing about your neighborhood:

I love the diverse neighborhoods in Brooklyn.

What did you get funded for?

The Carnival Project, Year 2. The Celebration Continues!
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Friends with Money: Gretchen Van Lente/Drama of Works

Drama of Works production still. Image provided by artist.

Drama of Works production still. Image provided by artist.

Name:  Gretchen Van Lente

AKA: Artistic Director of Drama of Works

Hometown: Brooklyn

Current Neighborhood: Boerum Hill

Favorite thing about neighborhood: Such a mix of people, not fully gentrified yet…

What did you get funded for: Blood Red Roses: the Female Pirate Project

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Friends with Money: Iviva Olenick

Work by Iviva Olenick. Image provided by the artist.

Work by Iviva Olenick. Image provided by the artist.

Name: Iviva Olenick

Aka: Director, Stitched Stories, Fabled Fiber (artist, textile designer, teacher, weaver)

Hometown: East Flatbush, Brooklyn, NY

Current Neighborhood: Boerum Hill

Favorite thing about your neighborhood:

The Invisible Dog Art Center is the perfect spot for live performances, artist studios and exhibits. South Brooklyn Running Club makes race training bearable and even fun.

What did you get funded for?

Native/Immigrant City: Brooklyn in Soft Sculpture
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Friends with Money: Rina Kleege of PLG Arts

Rina Kleege

Rina Kleege

Name: Rina Kleege
AKA: Co-President, PLG Arts; band member, Axiom Addicts Hometown: Brooklyn
Neighborhood: Prospect-Lefferts Gardens
Favorite thing about neighborhood: Diversity of people and cultural activities
What did you get funded for: Jazz @the Inkwell

What’s that all about? Twice-monthly performances at the Inkwell Jazz Café by up-and-coming and established jazz musicians are a vital component of PLG Arts, a local nonprofit arts group with the mission of cultivating creativity in the community. Performances on the second and fourth Friday of each month (except August, since we all need a break) provide an opportunity for neighborhood musicians and audiences to gather at a local ven ue, where music becomes an active force for the neighborhood spirit of Prospect-Lefferts Gardens (the PLG of PLG Arts) as performers and music fans get to know one another. Suggested (not required) $5 donation at the door allows attendance regardless of ability to pay.
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