BRIC OPEN Festival /

BRIC OPEN: Justice - Wednesday

The third annual BRIC OPEN kicks off with the premiere of Phillip Howze’s play Self Portraits, an opening reception for three exhibitions, and a community storytelling project from Future Historical Society. 


WED, APR 24, 2019 | 12-9PM




BRIC House
647 Fulton Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217
United States
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  • Phillip Howze: Self-Portraits

  • Jaishri Abichandani

  • Liz Collins

  • Texas Isaiah

  • Macon Reed: A Pressing Conference

  • Kamau Ware | Photo Credit: Angelys Ocana

  • Hidemi Takagi

  • Laura Hadden & Tennessee Watson: Wage/Working



The third annual BRIC OPEN kicks off with the premiere of Phillip Howze’s play Self Portraits, an opening reception for three exhibitions, and a community storytelling project from Future Historical Society. Click here to learn more about the artists, panelists, and other participants.

12PM & 5PM 

Self Portraits
Written by Phillip Howze
Directed by Stevie Walker Webb

A man on a mountaintop confronts the fear of his own mortality. A mother instructs her son to be more careful walking the streets. A video shares a terrifying truth. Self Portraits is a site-driven theatrical event made up of intimate, experiential moments. This inventive new play reframes the political as personal to reflect on the unpredictable state of the Black body in America. Suspended at the edge of confrontation and contemplation, beauty and brutality, together these theatrical portraits share an expansive vision to provoke personal journeys towards collective possibility.

Space is limited and registration is required to attend Self Portraits. RSVPs will open TUE, APR 9.


Collaborative Podcasting on Justice

What kind of justice would you like to see in the world? How could someone else better understand your lived experience? Join us and make your voice heard during our collaborative podcasting sessions, when we invite festival goers to share their stories, thoughts, and experiences around themes of justice and empathy through a brief interview.


Exhibition Opening Reception for
Jaishri Abichandani, Liz Collins, and Texas Isaiah: The Portrait is Political

Macon Reed: A Pressing Conference
Kamau Ware: Who is Fort Greene?

Celebrate the opening of The Portrait is Political, A Pressing Conference, and Who is Fort Greene? These artistic experiences embrace, explore, and interrogate the subjects of activism, how intersecting histories impact the present, and the power of the voice. Music by DJ Jive Poetic. BRIC House Members are welcome to join a Member Preview event from 6-7PM. 

Hidemi Takagi: The BedStuy Social Photo Club: BRIC OPEN Edition

Artist and photographer Hidemi Takagi brings her pop up photography and community project from Bed Stuy to BRIC House during the opening reception. Participate and get a lively, professional portrait of yourself while you view other intriguing works of art. See more of the project here.


Jaishri Abichandani, Liz Collins, and Texas Isaiah: The Portrait is Political

The recognition of the individual is the first step in justice; for this reason, we curated The Portrait is Political, a series of three exhibitions related by their unique deployment of the genre of portraiture to make a political impact. A solo exhibition of small-scale, circular and triangular panel paintings by noted Brooklyn-based artist Jaishri Abichandani, Jasmine Blooms At Night, portrays South Asian American feminists in the local community who are making a large social impact. These jewel-like paintings are elaborated with decorative elements drawn from South Asian visual traditions. A selection of photographs by Texas Isaiah, a visual narrator from Brooklyn, explores gender, race, and sexuality by inviting the sitters to participate in the photographic process. The invitation constructs a space to begin and continue collaborative visual dialogues about legacy, self-empowerment, emotional justice, protection, and topophilia (the affective bond between people and place). The Other Is You: Brooklyn Queer Portraiture, curated by Liz Collins with assistant curators Anna Parisi and Sol Nova, is an exhibition of portraits by some 35 Brooklyn LGBTQ artists, displayed salon style on the large center wall of BRIC’s gallery. In addition, Collins, who is both an artist and designer, designed a gathering space/viewing lounge in the center of the Gallery.

Future Historical Society HQ

The Future Historical Society is a community storytelling project created by a multi-generational collective of Fort Greene neighbors, and led by artist Yazmany Arboleda. At businesses, churches, and parks throughout Fort Greene, personal histories of this community come to life through podcasts, performances, and visual installations created by FHS members. The stories illuminate untold histories of the neighborhood, while envisioning a more connected, interdependent future. Stop by the HQ to pick up your map, meet FHS members, and learn more about the groups' creative process. The Future Historical Society is commissioned by BRIC. To learn more, visit

Kamau Ware, featuring Cyrus Aaron: Who is Fort Greene? | Exhibition

In collaboration with poet Cyrus Aaron, artist and historian Kamau Ware imagines multilayered archetypal characters that embody this neighborhood defined by flux. These portraits are part of the larger project Who is Fort Greene? which offers an interlocking set of artistic experiments that create a visual story of this area. Together with Aaron and his team of collaborators at Black Gotham Experience, Ware uses historical research and interviews with contemporary people as source material for walks, photographic portraits, a poem cycle, video, and public discussion, all engaging with the title’s central question.

Macon Reed: A Pressing Conference

Focused on providing truth in a world of fake news, A Pressing Conference is an immersive installation, participatory project, and resource guide for those interested in resisting and responding to the current political crisis. The installation is based on the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in the White House and recreates the podium, presidential backdrop, flags, columns, microphones and seating chart. Performances and readings will take place throughout the festival, and the public is also invited to step up to the podium to share visions of what news briefings might sound like from their perspective. We encourage visitors to share their thoughts and photos on social media, by including #apressingconference in the caption.

Laura Hadden & Tennessee Watson: Wage/Working

Wage/Working explores income inequality and the concept of wage by asking participants to spend one dollar to hear a dollar’s worth of a worker’s time. A jukebox holds a collection of audio portraits of individuals reflecting on labor and compensation. Each of those portraits are edited to a length which corresponds with the amount of time it takes the profiled worker to earn $1. Those who earn the least are given the most time to speak.


The BRIC OPEN is an arts and ideas festival that converges around BRIC’s core values of creativity, inclusion, participation, and community, bringing people together to radically imagine a more equitable, liberated future. This year’s festival theme, JUSTICE, interrogates the possibilities of justice and empathy and creates space to find freedom in self-expression and to witness others in their full humanity. Click here to learn more about the artists, panelists, and other participants.

BRIC OPEN Sponsor:


Venue Information:

BRIC House is Brooklyn’s cultural living room: a 40,000 square foot multi-disciplinary arts and media complex in the former Strand Theatre, where emerging and established artists can create work that deepens their practice and engages the diverse communities of the borough.

BRIC is committed to welcoming people of all abilities. The main floor of BRIC House has an accessible entrance on Rockwell Place, in addition to an accessible, all-gender bathroom. Our Community Media Center, located on the 2nd floor, is accessible via elevator. The Gallery level is accessible via a wheelchair lift. Portable FM assistive listening devices are available for programs on the Stoop and in the Ballroom upon request. To make a specific access request, or to let us know other ways we can provide you with a welcoming experience, please contact Nia I'man Smith at or (718)683-5986.

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