Photo of the Downtown Brooklyn Arts Management Fellows by Max Hernandez-Webster

Freedom Dreaming: A Call to Imagine

A free community workshop organized by the Downtown Brooklyn Management Fellows (2017-2018)


Photos by Max Hernandez-Webster

Brooklyn community members gathered in BRIC’s Artist Studio on Saturday, May 19, 2018 for an afternoon of Freedom Dreaming. In exploration of distinguished U.S. History Professor Robin D.G. Kelley’s concept of Freedom Dreaming, the Downtown Brooklyn Arts Management Fellows programmed this event as a manifestation of our own Freedom Dreams as a cohort of women of color working towards equity in arts management. Freedom Dreaming encourages participants to create the world we dream of by first, visualizing the future we want to live in and second, determining the actions that will lead us there.

Attendees viewed art, cultivated new relationships, vocalized aspirational dreams, shared resources and participated in collective ideation, all under the following guiding principles…

  • Freedom Dreaming actively uplifts the intricately connected and complex lives and stories of Black, Brown, Indigenous, Asian/Pacific Islander, Latin/os/as/x, Arab, Middle Eastern and Multi-ethnic people
  • Freedom Dreaming affirms and respects all levels of ability, gender identity, sexuality, age, stages of healing, and socio-economic class
  • Freedom Dreaming connects people and communities to create shared visions with one another
  • Freedom Dreaming acknowledges and harnesses your own intrinsic power and expertise
  • Freedom Dreaming is about listening deeply while unlearning harmful ideologies and ideas



Photo of participants and DJ Sol Nova by Max Hernandez-Webster

The event featured DJ Sol Nova, who provided the perfect soundtrack to accompany the group’s Freedom Dreaming pursuits. Food was catered by Soul Spot, who supplied delicious Caribbean cuisine for all participants. On the wall was a large community mural with the prompt, “WHAT ARE YOUR FREEDOM DREAMS?” Over the course of the afternoon, participants contributed the following dreams to the mural….

“I dream of a world where Black and Brown boys don’t fear for their lives”
“I dream of a world where I can live without fear”

“I dream of a free Palestine”
“A future where trans lives are protected and valued”

“World without walls”
“Walking safely”
“My family genuinely happy”

“A world with more spaces like BRIC to come together and share our dreams for the future”

“A world with less judgement and more understanding

“A world where there aren’t any more unpaid internships! PAY ME!!!”
“A world where championing diversity isn’t an issue”
“I dream of a world where we celebrate rather than fear each other’s differences and no one feels like the ‘only’”
“Achievement of human rights for all people”
“I dream to dream outside of my dreams”
“To be loved”
“Imagine how free we could be if we listened to and respected each other. Imagine how free we could be if we provided space for each other”


Nabila Wirakusumah with piece, “Muslima Praying,” 2018 and Nicole Mourino with piece, “Daze Frame,” 2017, Photos by Max Hernandez-Webster

Local artists Nicole Mourino, Almaz Wilson and Nabila Wirakusumah had featured artworks in the space lifting up their amazing work and paving their journeys toward the actualization of their own artistic Freedom Dreams.


Photos of Truthworker Theatre Company by Max Hernandez-Webster

Truthworker Theatre Company, a social justice based hip-hop theatre company founded and directed by Samara Gaev gave an overwhelmingly cathartic performance of dance, song, spoken word, and step. They shared stories and dreams surrounding the prison-industrial complex and mass incarceration. After the performance piece, members of Truthworker led the group in a workshop, encouraging participants to connect with each other, listen actively, reflect, and speak their Freedom Dreams into existence. One by one, we invented our own beautiful endings to the following sentence….




Photo 11 - Photo of B. Anderson by Max Hernandez-Webster.jpg

Photo of B. Anderson by Max Hernandez-Webster

To close the afternoon, B. Anderson offered stories, songs, dance and some incredibly contagious joy. B. spoke about her own ancestry, the energy of those before us who still propel us forward today. She called and we responded, “We’ve all got a right to the tree of life”. We discussed the many ways we see joy manifested in the world and the ways in which we use joy to nurture our Freedom Dreams. B. finished her offerings with a meditation, a calm moment of unified reflection after a beautiful afternoon of dreaming.


Created in conjunction with the community workshop event, the Downtown Brooklyn Arts Management Fellows Sarah Branch and Alexa Smithwrick created a free Digital Resource Guide exploring meditations, principles and reflections discussed at the event. This guide includes quotes from fellow Freedom Dreamers, prompts and resources, and highlights six incredible emerging visual artists and their work. Be sure to click on the indicated hyperlinks to access free readings, zines and more.


Photo 12 - Photo of the Downtown Brooklyn Arts Management Fellows by Max Hernandez-Webster.jpg

Photo of the Downtown Brooklyn Arts Management Fellows by Max Hernandez-Webster

We hope this event lives beyond May 19, through continued conversations, reflections, writings, connections and shared joy. A huge thank you to all of the incredible collaborators, participants, attendees, Downtown Brooklyn Arts Management Fellowship leaders, and BRIC’s technical and production support for making this Freedom Dream a reality.


Blog post written by Downtown Brooklyn Arts Management Fellow, Sarah Branch.