We are looking forward to the Spring and Summer season, not just for the weather, but for the celebration of Folk Feet’s 10th Anniversary. From May through July, BAC’s Folk Arts program will look back in order to move forward. Through a series of public programs, we will fuse past Folk Feet participants of (i.e. Tiny Love) with new vernacular dance forms gaining traction in Brooklyn (i.e. Flex). We will also be guiding you through our Folk Feet archival materials (freshly digitized) to celebrate the fieldwork of the Folk Feet foundersf, Dr. Kay Turner and Nicole Macotsis.
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.
Before we dive into another school year, we’re excited to share our accomplishments in 2013-14. BAC Arts in Education had programming in all 5 boroughs including 95 school-based residencies and workshops, 23 creative aging programs in senior centers and 89 performances at schools, senior centers and parks. These programs served nearly 15,000 students, teachers, parents and seniors and provided 464 gigs for artists!
This year, we also welcomed some new faces to our AIE Team. Sarah Gepigon joined BAC in January as longtime Arts in Education Coordinator, Deborah Field, stepped away from BAC into the field of occupational therapy. Sarah’s enthusiasm and sense of humor brought some fun to the administrative paperwork processes. We will also soon be welcoming a new Arts in Education Manager as Rebecca Potts moves out of the country to accompany her husband to Prague. We look forward to introducing another new member of the AIE team soon.
In celebrating this year’s fantastic work with BAC teaching and performing artists, and wishing a bittersweet farewell to Debby and Rebecca, we captured some of the artists’ favorite moments, lessons learned, and praise from classroom teachers.
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.
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.
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.
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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I am four-months into Kings County as it’s Folk Arts Director. During this time, I have teetered between exhilaration and exhaustion. This was most obvious during the Sweetest Song Festival. Exhilaration– brought to me by the committed and brilliant expressions of cultural heritage I have been honored to be in the presence of. See evidence of this here. Exhaustion—brought to me by the promotion, presentation, and documentation of the nineteen Sweetest Song programs that occurred over a one month period. I have walked away wiser for the time and in awe of Dr.Kay Turner’s physical stamina. How did she do it? I have come to realize that the exhaustion is quickly extinguished when you work with people like Eric Alabaster.
Name: Gabriella Dennery
AKA: Grace Drums, percussion and vocal ensemble, along with 4 other amazing women artists
Hometown: Ottawa, Canada and yes, as a kid I played ice hockey and loved it.
How long have you’ve lived in Brooklyn? 16 wonderful years. I love Brooklyn!
Neighborhood: Currently East NY (7 years). I also lived in Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights and Bed-Stuy.
Favorite thing about neighborhood: The community gardens. I have three boxes in a garden. I started last year, planting veggies and herbs. What a declaration of independence: growing healthy food in the city, under the brakes of the trains overhead. The best day to plant is Sunday mornings, when I also get treated to live gospel from a neighboring church. Very inspiring and very zen. I also love the incredible vibrancy of the sunflowers when in full bloom. These sunny giants are everywhere in this neighborhood, and when they’re swaying to the rhythm of the wind on cool fall day, it’s the most beautiful sight in the world.
What did you get funded for: I got funding for The Women Gather Project.
Tell us a bit about it: To me, individual expression is pivotal to person’s healing and empowerment. Drumming is such a captivating embodiment of personal power. With The Women Gather Project, Grace Drums is bringing drumming to survivors of domestic (DV) and sexual violence (SV) in two ways: Interactive drumming workshops for clients and staff of collaborating DV and SV programs, and Grace Drums’ annual concert, an energy and joy packed celebration of victories over violence. The workshops began in March 2014 and we’re growing our network of collaborators in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Some of the workshops will be open to the public, but not all. The safety and confidentiality of the participants is priority one. Our second annual concert is on Saturday Nov. 1 at LUI Kumble Theater and it is open to the public. Last year we sold out and had to turn people away at the door. This year we have a larger venue. I have no doubt we’ll sell out again. In this day and age a message of dignity, of empowerment, especially for women and girls resonates deeply with many, men women and children, because that’s your sister, your mother, your teacher, your friend, your spouse, your reflection.
What else do you have coming up? Coming up, Grace Drums will have a live CD out before the end of the year, Yeah! We have several concerts coming up including the Spoke The Hub Local Produce Festival in Park Slope at the Old Stone House (5th ave and 4th street) at 5pm, and the Harlem Arts Festival this June 29. The Women Gather Project has drumming workshops scheduled for June and July. I’ll know more about which are open to the public in a few days, and it will be posted on the Grace Drums FB page, as well as our website and twitter.
What’s your jam? Personally I’m working on finishing 2 big compositions and I’m excited because they incorporate what music feels to me, down to my DNA. If the tune connects to every cell of my being, and makes me want to get up and dance, then I know it will touch hearts. I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to things like that, so it takes a while to get them done. I’m making great progress though. Can’t wait to hear them live…. before the year is out!
Anything you’re you totally over? Yup. I’m over all the admin hours! It’s worth it. Grace Drums has definitely grown in the last year. I’m still trying to find the right balance though between keeping up with all the admin and my primary reason for being, which is creating life affirming music for stage and recording!
When not making art you are: Cooking, gardening, crafting with fabric, napping.
Gabriella Dennery is a Brooklyn based percussionist who left the practice of primary care medicine to pursue her love of music as a teacher and performer. In 2010, she founded the all women’s percussion and vocal ensemble Grace Drums, adding an eclectic blend of harmonized vocals and contemporary styles to traditional djembe. Recent performances include BAC’s Harbolore Festival, Union Theological Seminary, the Roulette Theater/YWCA gala, and the Queen’s Public Library 28th Annual World Music series. In 2013, she launched The Women Gather Project, bringing African drumming to survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Gabriella is a two-time recipient of BAC’s CAF grant, and was recently honored with a citation from the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office for Women’s History Month. Connect with Gabriella and Grace Drums at Facebook.com/gracedrums, tweet at @GraceDrumsMusic. gracedrums.com.