The Decemberists at BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival Postponed

Due to Colin Meloy’s continued vocal strain, The Decemberists are forced to reschedule their June 13 show. The new date is Tuesday, August 14. All tickets will be honored for the rescheduled date. Refunds available at point of purchase.

The 2017 Cohort for the Downtown Brooklyn Arts Management Fellowship

In 2017, BRIC partnered with Mark Morris Dance Group, Theatre for a New Audience, and the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts to create the Downtown Brooklyn Arts Management Fellowship, an opportunity for young people to gain experience and skills for careers in arts management. In our first year, the Fellows consisted of seven inspiring young women, who inspire us every day, but especially during Women’s History Month. We chatted with these Fellows to ask them about their inspiration, the Fellowship, and more.

Claire Kim

Who are a few female artists who inspire you and why?

Yoko Ono is one of my all-time favorite artists. I admire her ability to simultaneously convey vulnerability and power through her artwork. I’m especially fond of her Wish Tree series and earlier performance piece, Cut Piece. I’m also a huge fan of Anicka Yi who has pushed so many boundaries within contemporary art—broadening the ideas of what materials and senses can/ should be used to interact with audiences.

What has been your favorite aspect of this fellowship program and why?

My favorite aspect of this fellowship, by far, has been the opportunity to work and become friends with my cohort of 6 incredibly passionate, smart, and inspiring women. I feel so lucky to be a member of a cohort of women who consistently build each other up and provide unconditional love and support for one another.

How do you view Women’s History Month and its relevance in our society today?

I look forward to a day when the accomplishments and contributions of women to society is acknowledged so widely that having a specified month to celebrate them will become redundant. But, for now, I think that the platform that Women’s History Month provides, to share the achievements of women in contemporary society, is extremely valuable.


Donnay J Edmund

Who are a few female artists who inspire you and why?

There are many artists who inspire me from the legacies of Audre Lorde’s and Assata Shakur’s poetry to the collective artists who sang freedom such as Nina Simone. I honor today the living legacy of Adenike Sharpley who gave me purpose and a deeper understanding of the power of Black dance, who taught me to embrace legacy and taught me the names of those I also admire and who coupled their art with their commitment to justice for Black people such as Katherine Dunham and Pearl Primus. I am inspired by her because she taught me that all that I have been looking for is inside of me first, and I must constantly source from my core if I am to imagine a better future.

What has been your favorite aspect of this fellowship program and why?

My favorite aspect of the fellowship is connections. I have met radical, creative, loving people and have been supported by an amazing collective of women of color. These connections have helped me figure out where I want to be in my life, and how I can care for those who are by my side. I am learning not to fear and to not to be confined by what already exists when I am thinking about how I want to live. What are my ancestors asking me to create?

How do you view Women’s History Month and its relevance in our society today?

Women’s History Month is relevant in that we know under the conditions of a society about greed, constant production, and exploitation we cannot truly value women. More than 70 percent of the world’s food is grown by women. Women’s history month is about workers right, it is about love, and nurturing, it is about moving from hetero patriarchy to radical love that values women, trans women, trans people, gender non-conforming people right to self-determination.


Sarah Branch

Who are a few female artists who inspire you and why?

I feel inspired by strong, innovative, resilient women of color. Some artists who come to mind are Solange, Ibeyi (French & West Africa musical duo), Frida Kahlo, and Beyoncé (the list goes on). Each of these women reminds me that supporting and lifting up the voices of other artists of color is integral to the success of communities of color.

What has been your favorite aspect of this fellowship program and why?

My favorite aspect of this fellowship has been the relationships I’ve made with my cohort. To work and learn alongside six other women of color who share similar passions for racial equity, liberation and community arts advocacy makes going to work every day feel both purposeful and hopeful.

How do you view Women’s History Month and its relevance in our society today?

Historically, Women’s History Month has not been representative of all women, we see this in The Suffragette movement as well as First and Second Wave Feminism. Today, I think it’s important that we intentionally change that. The ‘female experience’ is vast and intersectional and has no room for exclusion. For me, Women’s History Month is about celebrating and prioritizing the intrinsic intersectionality of womanhood. To do this we must include those who have historically been left out of the conversations—women of color, trans women, disabled women, immigrant women, incarcerated women, homeless women and many others.


Alexandria Ryahl

Who are a few female artists who inspire you and why?

The majority of my favorite artists are women, and women of color, in particular, because it is important to support groups who are underrepresented in art history, but also underrepresented in general. As an artist who frequently uses photography, I am especially inspired by conceptual photographers Carrie Mae Weems, Deana Lawson, and Nikki S. Lee. The way these women use photography to explore race and gender feels incredibly powerful. Through their art, they shine light on certain narratives and experiences, both individual and communal, that would otherwise go ignored. I hope to achieve the same kind of impact with my own artistic practice.

What has been your favorite aspect of this fellowship program and why?

My favorite aspect of this fellowship program would have to be the confidence I’ve built in myself through the experiences I’ve had. I’ve accomplished some pretty amazing things and have made meaningful contributions to the partnering organizations, all because I had such a strong network of people believing in my abilities and encouraging my ideas. I’m so excited for future fellows to have the experience I’ve had so far!

How do you view Women’s History Month and its relevance in our society today?

Women’s History Month is a great time to collectively analyze our ways of thinking and see if we are participating in behavior that has historically oppressed women. While we’re at it, we should also make sure that our definition of women is inclusive towards trans women and women of color. Do you interrupt female colleagues more frequently than male colleagues? Do you assume that black women are always angry? Do you think that trans women are not "real" women? Ask yourself and your friends these questions to see if you can identify any harmful habits in the way that you treat and view women. But we shouldn’t limit ourselves to doing this only one month out of the year! If we all examine our behavior through this lens often, we can really make a difference in building equity for people of all gender and racial identities, and socioeconomic levels as well.


Kiana Carrington

Who are a few female artists who inspire you and why?

N.K. Jemisin is one of my favorite authors of all time. She is also one of a handful of Black women I know of who write speculative fiction. Her books force me to imagine a complex world that is completely different from my own, but similar enough that I can work to actualize it. She pushes me to work towards a future where strong female characters of color are commonplace, gender and sexual orientation are personal not political, and the heroes continue to fight for freedom from oppressive governments.

What has been your favorite aspect of this fellowship program and why?

I’d say my fellow fellows. We’ve gotten really close and truly become a support system for one another. It’s nice to be able to talk to someone who is going through a similar experience or can give a different perspective to situations that arise.

How do you view Women’s History Month and its relevance in our society today?

Women are often written out of history, so I think it is great that we have a time to highlight the accomplishments of women.

 


Linda Diaz

Who are a few female artists who inspire you and why?

A lot of my inspiration these days comes from young women artists who have woven collective responsibility and comradery among women into the fabric of their generation. One young women who has been particularly inspiring to me recently is actress Yara Shahidi. Sheer talent and intelligence aside, she has been consistently outspoken about the responsibility of artists to use their platforms to change the world. It has been inspiring to see her shape younger generations in her many collaborations with other women.

What has been your favorite aspect of this fellowship program and why?

My favorite aspect of this fellowship program has been the comradery I have found in the other fellows. To learn with and from such dynamic, smart, and passionate women of color every day has been a truly exceptional opportunity. This experience has reminded me not only how important representation is, but how important support systems among women, particularly women of color, are. I am constantly inspired by the fellows to push beyond others’ limitations on what I can achieve. In this way, they have aided as much in my professional growth as they have in my personal growth. I am extremely grateful to have not only made lifelong connections, but lifelong friendships here.

How do you view Women’s History Month and its relevance in our society today?

Women’s History Month is as relevant in today’s society as it has ever been. Our current president embodies our societies normalization and support of systematic sexism and misogyny. It has been great to see the sustained national visibility of movements, like the women’s march and the #metoo movement, combatting the sexism and misogyny of our legal system and our societal norms. It is important that this dialogue continues to take place on an international stage. With that being said, it is equally important to be critical of the way that we view womanhood as a society. Today there still exists a normalized view of womanhood that excludes women of color and trans women among many other women. It is important that we are critical of these exclusionary practices and actively work to dismantle the cis, white supremacist definitions of womanhood that we operate under. It is important that all people, not just women, are doing the work to fight for equity for all women.


Alexa Smithwrick

Who are a few female artists who inspire you and why?

The list of inspiring female artists is endless, but my go-to sources of strength are Zora Neale Hurston, Josephine Baker, and Jane Jacobs. Zora’s writing and anthropology work is rooted in radical empathy, an audacious and limitless sense of self, as well as dignity for all her subjects no matter their walk of life. These are the foundations of all I wish to accomplish, and I can’t imagine I’d be where I am today without her words. I love the tongue-in-cheek way Josephine Baker moved artfully between worlds. I’m inspired by the ways in which she was able to redirect oppressive gazes with comedy, brazen sexuality, and subversion. Finally, I am inspired by Jane Jacobs’ ability to participate in, support, and protect her community on macro and micro levels. She did not succumb to political and social ennui, and was a lifelong learner.

What has been your favorite aspect of this fellowship program and why?

My favorite aspect of this fellowship has definitely been the other women in the fellowship program. I am so incredibly blessed to have six incredible women of color to bring my questions, successes, joys, failures, and hurt to. In their company I’ve found the courage to fully be myself and to coax out new ideas, and as a result I’ve never felt more human or more capable. I’m inspired daily by the myriad of ways these women envision new ways to connect to others and share resources. It is an honor to know them, let alone work alongside them.

How do you view Women’s History Month and its relevance in our society today?

At its best, I view Women’s History Month as a time for society to purposefully and actively meditate on the truths and power of women, realities of the achievement of women that we all silently benefit from throughout the year. It is also a time for us as women to put our struggles and priorities in conversation with women who at the surface may seem vastly different. In doing so we move towards a celebration that acknowledges the lives of all women, palatable and non-palatable.