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Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in Partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation Announces Inaugural Grantees of Lincoln Center Cultural Innovation Fund

Recipients From Central Brooklyn and South Bronx Receive Support For Innovative Community-Based Cultural Programs


NEW YORK, NY (June 15, 2017) — Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, in partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation, today announced the inaugural recipients of the Lincoln Center Cultural Innovation Fund. This new pilot grant program encourages innovative strategies to catalyze greater access to, and participation in, cultural opportunities in the diverse neighborhoods of Central Brooklyn and the South Bronx. Each of the 12 grantees will receive support for initiatives ranging from digitizing the history of Caribbean Diaspora in Central Brooklyn to a new monthly live performance series featuring transgender and gender nonconforming artists in the South Bronx to using the arts and the tenets of environmental and social justice campaigns to bring together residents and workers in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx.

The Rockefeller Foundation selected Lincoln Center to manage the fund based on the institution’s steadfast commitment to building community-based partnerships and its expertise in designing and implementing impactful programs. Each recipient receives a one-year grant, in addition to additional resources and technical support from Lincoln Center to further their work.

“Cultural innovation has the power to energize and advance our communities. But to innovate requires resources and support—and that’s where The Rockefeller Foundation and Lincoln Center come in. We are dedicated to ensuring communities can create, collaborate, and blaze new trails toward a better future,” said Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation. “The inaugural Cultural Innovation Fund with Lincoln Center will empower neighborhoods from Central Brooklyn to the South Bronx to increase access to cultural opportunities, benefitting local residents and New York City as a whole. We are honored to lift up these forward-thinking initiatives and look forward to seeing how they bring together the arts and social issues.”

“We are very proud to have been invited by The Rockefeller Foundation to partner on this important initiative,” said Debora L. Spar, President of Lincoln Center. “Building upon Lincoln Center’s relationships across the five boroughs of New York City, we are thrilled to help realize these innovative and socially engaged projects that will encourage participation in the arts within these vibrant communities.”

Following the announcement of the launch of the Lincoln Center Cultural Innovation Fund in December 2016, Lincoln Center received interest from more than 70 community nonprofits. Lincoln Center worked collaboratively with advisors, including The Rockefeller Foundation and representatives from Central Brooklyn and the South Bronx, to establish an advisory panel that evaluated applications and recommended the grant award recipients.

The Lincoln Center Cultural Innovation Fund pilot program offers grants in a range of $50,000–$100,000 and has three overarching goals: to increase arts access and participation in the diverse neighborhoods of the South Bronx and Central Brooklyn; to increase the range of places and platforms where cultural activities are taking place in both boroughs; and to support nonprofit organizations in piloting cultural innovation strategies and programs. Projects are encouraged in all arts disciplines (with partnerships strongly encouraged) and must both promote the active participation of residents in local cultural activities and plant the seeds for long-term arts-going habits. The projects that focus on innovating cultural engagement can be completely new programs or experiments that take a fresh approach to an existing effort.



Arts East New York – [re]New Lots

[re]New Lots is an artist residency, cultural incubator, and vendor market in East New York, Brooklyn. Using renovated shipping containers, [re]New Lots provides low-cost studio space and below-market retail storefronts to local entrepreneurs and creatives. [re]New Lots 2018 will introduce an urban planning initiative that builds on this successful model of community-rooted arts programming and local entrepreneurship, providing a platform of civic empowerment to the people of East New York.

Brooklyn Arts Council – Krik? Krak!: Digital [His]stories of the Caribbean Diaspora in Brooklyn

Krik? Krak!: Digital [His]stories of the Caribbean Diaspora in Brooklyn, will be a mixed-media, interactive audio/visual timeline, resulting in an exhibition that highlights historic moments pivotal to the Caribbean migration to New York City. Krik? Krak! will largely be achieved through BAC’s collaborative and interdependent work with local residents, activists, artists, and community partners. The resulting large-scale, mixed-media arts exhibition will be entirely designed and informed by the vast Caribbean communities in Flatbush and Brownsville.

RestorationArt – Project 2067: Fifty Years & Forward

Project 2067: Fifty Years & Forward will be an audience-centric presenting platform that leverages a coalition of iconic cultural institutions to deepen Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration’s 50-year engagement with low-income and minority residents and will bring to life stories that reimagine the future of the community’s most vulnerable. It will expand audience engagement through a powerful presenting platform that showcases the arts institutions that have made Bed-Stuy’s Restoration Plaza home and have long invested in audiences of African descent.

Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts – The Soul of Brooklyn Festival

The Soul of Brooklyn Festival is a series of innovative arts programming that engages Central Brooklyn residents with contemporary art of the African Diaspora. In September 2017, the festival will focus on increasing support for locally owned Black businesses amidst sharp economic shifts and fostering spaces that are positive and uplifting at a time when protest, frustrations, and violence are ever present. Events will take place in diverse locations, including in parks, on the streets, and inside local businesses.

Urban Bush Women – Hair and Other Stories: Bedford-Stuyvesant

Urban Bush Women will hold a developmental residency of the dance/theater work Hair and Other Stories to create, with community members, a version of the work specific to Bedford-Stuyvesant. Hair and Other Stories will construct a live experience that will include processional performance where the company members and the Bed-Stuy audience travel together around different nontraditional venues, eliciting conversations on self-image, race, and gender inequality through the lens of hair.

Weeksville Heritage Center – In Pursuit of Freedom NOW!

The touring exhibition In Pursuit of Freedom NOW! will be an intimate sentiment on the notion of freedom for African Americans. Perspectives will be rendered from the Weeksville archives collection, and the resulting exhibition will tour various locations in Brooklyn. The project’s focus is to archive activism as it relates to defining freedom for African Americans and will shed light on contemporary issues of social and economic equality, identifying past approaches and documenting and suggesting future options.


BAAD! The Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance – Transvisionaries: Live Performance Series

Transvisionaries will be a monthly free performance series featuring trans and gender nonconforming artists, hosted at restaurants and cafés in the South Bronx. These casual public gatherings will serve to increase access to performance outside the formal confines of theater while bringing visibility to trans people. The series re-envisions local eateries as one-night arts centers where dance, cabaret, literature, performance, and theater live in the neighborhood.

Bronx Documentary Center – Claremont Village Documentary Project

The Claremont Village Documentary Project will explore the diverse lives and stories of residents of Claremont Village, a New York City Housing Authority in the South Bronx. For nine months, Bronx Photo League photographers will create projects that incorporate voices of Claremont Village residents. The project will culminate in a group exhibition hosted at the BDC and in the Claremont community and will offer free public programs, such as photo workshops, family portraits, and an oral history booth.

The Bronx Museum of the Arts – The Bronx Speaks

The Bronx Speaks will pair groups of diverse South Bronx undocumented college students in workshops with culturally based community anchors, such as social clubs, community gardens, religious institutions, and small “mom and pop” first- and second-generation immigrant-owned businesses. All will work with artists, poets, and writers to develop first-person narratives, stories, poetry, and/or live performances in response to socio-cultural justice issues of particular concern to the community.

Bronx River Art Center – River Rising/Sube el Rio: Starlight Park / 1918–2018

River Rising/Sube el Rio uses as its central motivation a little known but greatly illuminating piece of local history—that nearly 100 years ago the New York International Exposition of Science, Arts, and Industries was held in the northernmost section of Starlight Park. River Rising/Sube el Rio will be a re-enactment of this exposition in the renewed Starlight Park, as interpreted by visual and performing artists who explore the intersections between art, science, technology, and community.

THE POINT Community Development Corporation – Now More Than Ever: Dissolving Barriers to Resiliency Project

Via the Now More Than Ever project, THE POINT and its partners intend to further social cohesion between two distinct populations coexisting in Hunts Point—residents and workers—via the arts. Through a series of engagements in strategic corners of Hunts Point where residents and workers coexist alongside an invisible barrier disconnecting them, artists trained in environmental and social justice campaigns will facilitate experiences serving to elucidate and bind these two often at-odds populations.

Pregones – Puerto Rican Traveling Theater – STAGE-GARDEN-RUMBA: A Citizen Artist Exploration

STAGE-GARDEN-RUMBA will be a new series of free-admission arts and culture interactions addressing urgent questions about the environment and sustainability. The project will harbor a new call for local citizen activists to partner with professional artists in the creation of chamber-scale theater, dance, music, and multimedia works and will launch of a new series of weekend events featuring professional and community performances, cultural celebration, and dialogue. Activities will be multi-season and take place both indoors and outdoors throughout the South Bronx.

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (LCPA) serves three primary roles: presenter of artistic programming, national leader in arts and education and community engagement, and manager of the Lincoln Center campus. A presenter of more than 3,000 free and ticketed events, performances, tours, and educational activities annually, LCPA offers 16 series, festivals, and programs, including American Songbook, Avery Fisher Career Grants and Artist program, David Rubenstein Atrium programming, Great Performers, The Performing Arts Hall of Fame at Lincoln Center, Lincoln Center at the Movies, Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Awards, Lincoln Center Festival, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Lincoln Center Vera List Art Project, Midsummer Night Swing, Mostly Mozart Festival, White Light Festival, the Emmy Award–winning Live From Lincoln Center, which airs nationally on PBS, and Lincoln Center Education, which is celebrating 40 years enriching the lives of students, educators, and lifelong learners. As manager of the Lincoln Center campus, LCPA provides support and services for the Lincoln Center complex and the 11 resident organizations: The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Film Society of Lincoln Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Juilliard School, Lincoln Center Theater, The Metropolitan Opera, New York City Ballet, New York Philharmonic, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, School of American Ballet, and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

Lincoln Center has become a leading force in using new media and technology to reach and inspire a wider and global audience. Reaching audiences where they are—physically and digitally—has become a cornerstone of making the performing arts more accessible to New Yorkers and beyond. The reimagination of David Geffen Hall will play an important part in these efforts.

Lincoln Center is committed to providing and improving accessibility for people with disabilities. For information, call the Department of Programs and Services for People with Disabilities at 212.875.5375.

About The Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation has a long history of supporting the arts and humanities, fueled by a belief that the cultivation of aesthetic sensibilities through literature, music, and other fine arts is essential to the well-being of humanity. Today, The Rockefeller Foundation focuses on nurturing the vitality of New York City’s cultural institutions through our New York Opportunities Fund and supporting artists through our Creative Arts Fellows program at our Bellagio Center. This high-profile program awards fellowships to artists who have demonstrated exceptional originality inspired by global social issues, and who share in the Foundation’s goals of advancing more inclusive economies and building a more resilient world.

In addition, the Foundation continues to ensure that the arts remain inclusive through innovative collaborations, including a recent partnership to provide 20,000 NYC public school students with the opportunity to see Hamilton on Broadway. By integrating the arts into classroom studies, educational initiatives such as this promise to inspire the next generation of historians, artists, singers, and musicians. More information is available online:

Press Contact:

Isabel Sinistore, 212.671.4195

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