Intergenerational Community Arts Council
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 in its second year of programming, 15 residents meet monthly to build community and create opportunities for arts and culture in the neighborhood. The ICAC has invited Najee Omar to return for another season, and are now planning their first event in celebration of Black History Month this February. The ICAC is proudly supported by program partners BRIC and University Settlement.
2019 -2020 ICAC members
About Artist-in-Residence Najee Omar
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 voice 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.
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 BRIC and University Settlement
The ICAC is a joint program of BRIC and University Settlement. 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 success of arts programming in their community.
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.
The ICAC is supported by BRIC and University Settlement's The Performance Project, in partnership with Ingersoll Cornerstone Community Center.
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.