Bedford-Stuyvesant-Based Arts Nonprofit Awards More Than $140,000 to Creative Projects Exploring Issues Impacting Well-Being of New York City Residents and Communities of Color.
BROOKLYN, NY – The Laundromat Project (The LP) has announced its 19th cohort of artists and cultural producers chosen to participate in its 2024 Create Change Artist Development Program. Through Create Change, The LP will invest more than $140,000 into artist-led, community-based, and community-responsive projects that explore topics impacting the well-being of New York City residents and communities of color.
Each Create Change Artist-in-Residence, Bedford-Stuyvesant (Bed-Stuy) Resident, and Fellow will receive an award ranging from $1,500 to $25,000, along with a year of advising, mentorship, and peer-based support to help develop and implement their ideas in neighborhoods across New York City. The 2024 Create Change cohort includes projects that explore themes such as genealogy and family histories, healing collective trauma, identity reclamation through portraiture, historical preservation, dynamic movement, creative play, and love.
“The projects led by our 2024 Create Change Artists-in-Residence and Fellows cohort reflect the ways creativity can help us address and acknowledge the challenges that affect our well-being as individuals and as a society, “ Ayesha Williams, Executive Director of The Laundromat Project, said. “What we know is that healing is a creative, continual, evolving process that shifts with what we witness, experience, and initiate in our own lives. I’m excited to see how these projects will evolve within the Create Change community and most importantly, how the experiences of our artists and neighbors will be shaped and impacted by them as well.”
Artists-in-Residence and Fellows participate in a series of workshops, individual and group coaching on cultural organizing, mentorship from The LP staff and celebrated practitioners in the field, and the opportunity to participate in or lead public activations at The LP’s Bed-Stuy-based storefront and surrounding neighborhoods.
This year, The LP saw a 110% increase in applications for the Create Change Artist Development Program from Bed-Stuy and New York-based creatives and cultural producers indicating a need and urgency for artist support and more creative approaches to socio-economic initiatives
“The LP’s Create Change program is entering its 19th year, affirming to the need for and importance of cultural organizing work in building and sustaining our communities, particularly communities of color in New York City facing a unique set of challenges,” Catherine Mbali Green-Johnson, Director of Programs at The Laundromat Project said. “It’s no surprise that each year we receive an increasing number of applications from individuals and teams seeking a creative community that nurtures their ideas, but that also prioritizes their needs as human beings whose work is inspired by their own curiosities, challenges, and experiences. I’m excited to see how this cohort advances each others’ efforts through this year’s initiative.”
Faculty for The Laundromat Project’s 2024 Create Change Artist Development Program includes Ebony Noelle Golden, Shawnee Benton Gibson, Kamau Ware, Urban Bush Women, and The Laundromat Project staff, among others.
2024 Create Change Artists-in-Residence include:
Anjali Kamat and Rehan Ansari
Breaking the Silence
Breaking the Silence is a storytelling and oral history project within the South Asian American community in Queens, New York. This project will offer workshops for South Asian American youth to develop a multimedia storytelling project about the legacies of ethnocentrism as well as stories of resistance within their family histories.
All About Love: Community Narratives
All About Love: Community Narratives is an immersive video archive endeavor inspired by the transformative insights of bell hooks’ seminal work. Through intimate video narratives, participants will candidly share personal experiences, reflections, and perceptions of love, offering profound insights into the role love plays in shaping our lives.
Beyond Memorial | Sacred Sites
“Beyond Memorial” Sacred Sites is an art, spatial, and healing justice response to the invisible yet palpable scars left in spaces of community trauma or loss. “Beyond Memorial” Sacred Sites involves crucial dialogue with community groups, such as a peace-keeping youth cohort, exploring how to reclaim public spaces for community well-being and belonging.
2024 Create Change Bed-Stuy Artists-in-Residence include:
Brownstone Steps Garden Reading Series
Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights, and Fort Greene
The Brownstone Steps Garden Reading Series is a theatrical arts program designed to provide free entertainment to local and low-income communities in easily accessible public settings for residents that can not always afford tickets to theatrical productions in Times Square and other arts districts.
Timothy Prolific Edwaujonte
Egungun: The Afro-Indigenous Genealogy Project
The focus of “Egungun” (Yoruba for “ancestors”) is to utilize genealogical and genetic research as a catalyst for healing and creative expression in pursuit of reparations for Afro-Indigenous people. At no cost, participants will chart their family lineages, take tests from African Ancestry to uncover their ancestral genome, conduct oral history interviews, engage in indigenous ancestral spiritual rituals, and synthesize their findings in a culminating artistic presentation in Bed-Stuy.
2024 Create Change Fellows include:
Jennella Young is an artist and educator based in Brooklyn, specializing in painting, photography, mixed media, and book art.
Ashley Rucker founded TherapART to promote the positive effects of art therapy after struggling with the anguish of a sibling suffering from drug addiction and incarceration.
As a native Brooklynite, grassroots organizer, and activist, Zumilena Then works in various capacities to preserve her home community. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Pratt Institute and is the Preservation Manager for the Weeksville Heritage Center (WHC).
Jessica Doe, PhD is a multi-award-winning Aniyunwiya interdisciplinary poet and artist. As a native of the occupied land of what is often referred to today as “Oregon” and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, space, place, and de-colonization are the driving forces behind her work, which includes 15 books and several solo exhibitions.
Kevyn Way is a Black, queer; gender expansive, multi-genre writer who weaves stories to make the reader gasp, shutter, and cackle. They center stories with themes about race, family, and adoption while highlighting the connection between gender and Blackness.
Wéma Ragophala has worked at the intersection of art and community for over 20 years. She is a director, performer, educator, and administrator who has directed the Sankofa Project, The Homecoming Queen, Grown Adorable Adult, In Her Memory, a play healing from trauma in four generations of women in one family.
Ziedah Diata is an artist-facilitator committed to justice, community art, and healing. She is a current LP 2023 Create and Connect grantee who designs and leads collaborative art-making experiences that deepen human connection.
Tcheser Holmes is a drummer from NY who grew up submerged in Brooklyn’s “Afro-centric” culture. After studying at the New England Conservatory, Holmes moved back to New York and remains a fixture in the jazz community.
Khalia Batts is an emerging artist whose creative journey delves into the depths of human relationships, culture, and emotions.
Juan Pablo Caicedo Torres
Juan Pablo Caicedo Torres (Bogota, 1991) is a visual and performance artist, photographer, poet, and cultural producer whose practice approaches multiple cultural and political notions from a critical, interdisciplinary, and collaborative approach.
Florian Koenigsberger is a photographer and technologist on a mission to advance representational justice for historically underserved communities.
Nafisa Ferdous is a feminist artist born in Dhaka, Bangladesh and based in Queens, NYC. She has worked in sexual rights and gender for 10+ years in Asia, Africa & the US and weaves transnational movement politics into her art practice.
Tiffany Smith is an Interdisciplinary Artist from the Caribbean diaspora working between photography, video, installation, and design to create photographic portraits, site-responsive installations, user-engaged experiences, and assemblages informed by researching histories of representation and themes of displacement.
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ABOUT THE LAUNDROMAT PROJECT:
The Laundromat Project is a Black-rooted and POC-led community-based arts organization dedicated to advancing artists and residents of New York City as change agents within their communities. We envision a world in which artists and neighbors in communities of color work together to harness the power of creativity that can inspire and initiate meaningful change and generate long-lasting impact. 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.
Since 2005, The Laundromat Project has directly invested over $1M in nearly 250 multiracial, multigenerational, and multidisciplinary artists; nearly 93 innovative public art projects; and a creative community hub in Bed-Stuy, while engaging close to 50,000 New Yorkers across the city and beyond. 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 community settings in which artists and neighbors transform their lives and surroundings. Our programming has evolved to take place in community gardens, public plazas, libraries, sidewalks, local cultural organizations, and other places where people gather.