It's Time to Rebuild and Reimagine our Arts and Cultural Sector

A Letter From Our President:

In this moment of profound reckoning for our country, I'm stunned by having witnessed so brazenly the ongoing consequences of whiteness being weaponized against Black bodies. I grieve for the Black lives taken from us: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many others. I'm also pained by the toll COVID-19 has taken on our country, our city, our borough, and our neighbors. KEEP READING >>

Artist Imani Gayle Gillison and members of the Gowanus Neighborhood Coalition for Justice (GNCJ) at rally to re-open Gowanus Houses Community Center on October 3, 2017. Photo: Jessica Sucher

Last month at BRIC House, Making Gowanus: Theatre of the Liberated premiered their community created multi-media theatrical performance, celebrating the arts, creativity and activism in the Gowanus Houses, a NYCHA (New York City Housing Authority) residence. The Making Gowanus performance was led by artist Imani Gayle Gillison, who created the performance based on her own experience growing up in Gowanus Houses, and incorporated a multi-generational cast who brought their own life stories and struggles to the project.

In addition to a powerful night of performance and community, the Making Gowanus artists have taken-up the longstanding community effort to permanently re-open the Gowanus Houses Community Center. The team, in collaboration with neighborhood organizations and local government, succeeded in temporarily opening this vital resource for their rehearsals and is now offering classes, workshops, and recreational activities in the space. But come winter, this space will once again be shuttered.  While $475,000 for repairs has been secured through the 2013-14 Participatory Budgeting cycle, the funds have not yet been allocated and the center is once again scheduled to close.

On the evening of October 3, Gowanus neighbors and residents gathered on the steps of the Gowanus Community Center on Baltic Street in support of a new petition to re-open the center, and offered moving testimonies about the role that arts and culture have in creating a thriving healthy community. As Imani Gayle Gillison stated, "this is not only a NYCHA issue, this is a neighborhood issue."

Please consider adding your name in support:

A video about Making Gowanus and the call to re-open the Gowanus Houses Community Center can be seen here:

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The Making Gowanus performance at BRIC House was made possible through the BRIC Stoop Share program, which aims to share the space resources of BRIC House with our neighbors, especially those groups who do not have a regular venue for public gatherings, meetings, and performances.