Intergenerational Community Arts Council
The Intergenerational Community Arts Council (ICAC) is a team of neighbors and NYCHA residents from Fort Greene and Downtown Brooklyn who create values-driven arts programming by, with, and for their communities. The ICAC is proudly supported by program partners BRIC and University Settlement’s The Performance Project.
In its first year, the Intergenerational Community Arts Council selected artist, educator and poet Najee Omar as the groups first Artist-In-Residence; hosted arts-based events at Ingersoll Community Center; and produced the WE ARE BROOKLYN Community Block Party, a joyous summer block party celebrating the arts, culture, music, and community of Fort Greene.
Now finishing its second season of programming, 12 residents met bi-monthly from November 2019- June 2021 to build community and create opportunities for arts and culture in the neighborhood. The ICAC invited Najee Omar to return as an artistic guide and mentor. Throughout the pandemic, the ICAC transformed into a valued network of mutual support and creative inspiration, while continuing to produce relevant, adventurous, and joyful programs.
2019 -2021 ICAC members
Najee Omar, ICAC Artist-in-Residence
Selected ICAC Programs
Resources for Joy: Offerings from the ICAC
ICAC members created a community-sourced resource booklet unlike any other, to distribute to friends, neighbors, and partners. It features some of the songs, poems, creative prompts and practices, friends, foods, and places that kept them joyful during the difficult days of the pandemic. This booklet highlights the wealth of resources in the community and acts as an offering towards the healing we all need to do, together. Resources for Joy was created in partnership with artist/designer Yazmany Arboleda.
Brooklyn’s Own: A video chapbook
In the Fort Greene/Downtown Brooklyn neighborhood, a group of dedicated residents known as the ICAC has been weathering the pandemic by sharing resources, supporting their neighbors, and creating artwork that celebrates the power and connectedness of our communities. Join ICAC members for screening of the ICAC’s video chapbook Brooklyn’s Own, alongside conversation hosted by the ICAC’s artist-in-residence, Najee Omar. Videos produced in partnership with filmmakers Marc Enette and Nijah Spice.
How’s That For a Check- in?
In NYC’s darkest hours of Spring 2020, ICAC AIR Najee Omar introduced a creative exercise he created called How’s That For A Check-in?. ICAC members created a video poem out of the prompts broadcast during BRIC’s Brooklyn USA Live episode. As Najee writes: “I opened Facebook one day, and my dear friend, the ever so brilliant Victor Vazques, shared the most beautiful update about him and his partner in the heart of the pandemic! Directly inspired by his writing, How’s That For A Check-In is an opportunity to reflect on all the joy we have access to, even when the work around us is cluttered with chaos.”
We Are Brooklyn: A Community Block Party
In August 2018, The ICAC presented WE ARE BROOKLYN: A Community Block Party. Building on the long-standing legacy of summer block parties in Brooklyn, WE ARE BROOKLYN was an arts-filled event where neighbors of all ages joined together to dance to DJs and live music, create collaborative artworks, access Fort Greene neighborhood cultural and social resources, participate in games, sports, and creative workshops, connect with one another and celebrate the ICAC's core values of passion, liberation, family, courage, vision and truthfulness. The block party took place outside the Ingersoll Cornerstone Community Center at the intersection of Myrtle Ave and Fleet Street.
About Najee Omar, ICAC Artist-in-Residence
A Brooklyn-based writer, performer, and educator, Najee uses the arts to engage and cultivate community. He is the recipient of fellowships from The Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, The Public Theater’s #BARS Workshop, and Poetry Incubator for Emerging Poets. Named a New York Times Visionary, his selected features include the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lincoln Center, Hi-ARTS, and colleges and universities across the United States. Najee is the Founder, Executive Director of Spark House: an arts education organization dedicated to developing youth voices and promoting social/emotional well-being. In this role, he turns classrooms into stages by conducting poetry and performance workshops for inner-city and high need youth in schools and juvenile justice facilities across the country. In 2020, Najee will partner with 651 ARTS to create and lead an Artist-as-Resident program that will reimagine the relationship between emerging Brooklyn-based artists and their communities by repurposing small businesses and public spaces into homes for art-making and community engagement.
About the ICAC
The ICAC is a joint program of BRIC and University Settlement. The ICAC is designed to support NYCHA residents as central stakeholders and decision-makers in the artistic and cultural life of the community, and facilitate connections with neighbors, resources, and local business outside the housing developments—ensuring Fort Greene and Downtown Brooklyn remain communities where both longtime and new residents of all income levels can live, work, create and belong. Through monthly planning workshops, the ICAC uses art-making, storytelling, and discussion to identify shared values and goals, ideal structures, and criteria for the success of arts programming in their community.
About University Settlement
University Settlement is one of New York's most dynamic social justice institutions with deep roots on the Lower East Side. Each year University Settlement's diverse programs impact 40,000 low-income and at-risk people as they build better lives for themselves and their families. With an impressive legacy as the first settlement house in the United States, University Settlement has been an incubator for progressive ideas for more than 130 years, offering pioneering programs in mental health, early childhood education, literacy, the arts, and adolescent development that set the standard.
Support for this program is generously provided by Naturally Occurring Cultural Districts NY and New York City Cultural Agenda Fund in the New York Community Trust.
There are no upcoming events at this time.