The Laundromat Project advances artists and neighbors as change agents in their own communities.
We envision a world in which artists and neighbors in communities of color work together to unleash the power of creativity to transform lives.
We make sustained investments in growing a community of multiracial, multigenerational, and multidisciplinary artists and neighbors committed to societal change by supporting their artmaking, community building, and leadership development.
Who We Are
Since 2005, The Laundromat Project has directly invested nearly $850,000 in over 160+ multiracial, multigenerational, and multidisciplinary artists,
67 innovative public art projects, 3 diverse anchor neighbors, and 1 creative community hub while engaging over 38,000 New Yorkers.
Theory of Change
When artists and communities collaborate toward collective goals, we create meaningful transformation and wellbeing. Making art and culture in community and fostering new leadership helps shape a world in which members feel truly connected and have the ability to influence their communities in creative and effective ways.
As we strive to achieve our mission and embody our vision, we are guided by our values, and always reflect upon how we can best:
We value creativity as a rich and renewable resource that turns strangers into a community of strong and resilient neighbors.
We value the voices, imaginations, knowledge, cultures, and leadership of people of color (POC).
We value addressing community challenges and creating opportunities for new visions.
We value meeting people where they are and the legacies embedded in place.
We value self-determined narratives as an essential basis for building lasting community power.
We value love as a radical and essential act of power and protest to create the kind of world we all deserve to live in.
A POC-Centered Organization
The LP champions the voices, cultures, imaginations, knowledge, and leadership of people of color (POC). We push against complex systemic injustices in pursuit of a world in which all people––across race, ethnicity, class, age, gender, sexuality, religion, ability, nationality, and immigration status––are free to be their whole selves.
The Laundromat Project (The LP) was incorporated in 2005 to make art accessible and relevant in New York City neighborhoods where people of color reside.
Our roots reach back to 1999, when The LP founder, Bed-Stuy resident Risë Wilson, left the corporate sector to build a life around art and community service.
Risë’s original idea for The Laundromat Project was to meet people where they already were and use art as a tool for turning strangers into neighbors. A belief in creativity as a powerful means of self-determination—and a keen desire to redraw the lines between art maker and art consumer, art as luxury and art as necessity—led Risë to the laundromat: “No matter what was happening in the economy, people had to do their laundry, and this was a kind of de facto public space.”
The idea of a laundromat as a primary place for engagement has expanded over time. It now serves as a metaphor for a variety of settings in which artists and neighbors transform their lives and surroundings. Our programming has evolved to take place in community gardens, public plazas, local cultural organizations, and other places where people gather.