Bed-Stuy Stories: Annika Kaye of the Howard Avenue Playgroup

Bed-Stuy Blog contributor Mikhal Weiner is profiling interesting residents from our community for her column, Bed-Stuy Stories. Next up is Annika Kaye, who has started the Howard Avenue Playgroup, a creative summer program for kids in the neighborhood.

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I met with Annika Kaye on a recent Sunday morning to talk about Brooklyn, being neighborly, educational philosophy, but especially about her new initiative – The Howard Avenue Playgroup, a creative summer program for kids in Bed-Stuy. As Kaye pushed open the glass door, she smiled broadly, making her way out of the June sun to join me at a back table. She folded her sunglasses and set them on the table, looking positively joyful.

Kaye is a lifelong New-Yorker, born in Stockholm, Sweden but raised in Chelsea in a bustling apartment building. “As a child, my concept of community was saying hello to people in the elevator and that was kind of it. We didn’t know anyone else on the block or surrounding our own building,” she told me. Nevertheless, even as a child she found herself creating mini-communities – getting to know her neighbors and babysitting younger kids in the building, even though she herself was, at the time, quite young. “Now, as a mother, I can’t imagine leaving my kid with a ten year old, but back then…” she chuckles. It was another time and another place. Brooklyn is different, though, she says, “Slower pace, greater space, community…it’s a very noticeable difference. Neighbors saying hello to each other, kids coming over for spontaneous playdates, that’s what I appreciate about Brooklyn.”

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ArtLinks 3: A New Kind of Art Exhibition

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Imagine a game of telephone that uses works of art instead of a phrase or word. That’s what ArtLinks is – an ongoing collaborative project that brings together over 20 artists across disciplines and countries to create a continuous thread of innovation and artistry. Six months in the making – this is a one of a kind event.

Twenty three artists from across the globe have been working together to create one unending chain reaction of creativity. Every pair or trio of artists, in turn, had ten days to create something new inspired by the work of the pair that preceded them. None of the artists had worked together in the past, and all of the works are multidisciplinary.

The ArtLinks 3 Exhibition is presented by Salomé ArtHaus, a local artist collective, on Saturday, June 23rd from 6-11 pm in Bushwick, Brooklyn at Powrplnt (562 Evergreen Ave). Tickets are available online ($10 –> includes a free drink) or at the door ($12)

Featured artists:
Yaniv Glaser & Benjamin Furman
Sasha Daniel & Maha Alasaker
Tongues Unknown & Jared Rosen
Mor Cohen & Darryl Blake Rahn & Michal Hidas
Taylor Bradshaw & Sienna Rose Kat Blaw & Devon Yesberger
Sebastian Chiriboga & Laura Gatti
Pamela Hersch & Maya Valentine
Kieran Murray & Ronit Levin Delgado Rojas & Astrid Kuljanic
Evan Tyor & 魯千千 (Chien Chien Lu)
Tom Vizel & Mikhal Weiner

Bed-Stuy’s WOC Book Club Will Meet June 20th and 23rd

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Bed-Stuy’s WOC (Women of Color) Book Club is an initiative led by local resident Beatriz Kaye. For the past few months, the Book Club has been gathering monthly to discuss timely and pertinent books by Women of Color. According to Kaye, “the meetings are open to WOC and Queer Trans People of Color – it is a safe space to discuss books, literature, and more.”

This month, the Book Club read ‘Not That Bad’, essays about rape culture edited by Roxane Gay. Join the discussion! This month’s meetings are either on Wednesday the 20th, 7pm at Nostrand Cafe (261 Nostrand Ave.) or Saturday the 23rd, 1pm at MacDonough Cafe (83 Saratoga Ave.) Find out more about upcoming events by following the Book Club on Instagram @bedstuybookclub

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Brooklyn United Marching Band Theater Debut

Join the Brooklyn United Drum and Dance Troupe for their limited time, off-Broadway debut on June 8th, 9th and 10th – BROOKLYN UNITED LIVE. This dynamic, engaging production will feature performers ages 5 to 17 from across the borough who have been working hard to prepare for this unique expression of music, dance, community and camaraderie.

Brooklyn United kids come from numerous Brooklyn neighborhoods, with over 100 participants from Bed-Stuy alone. Students learn to read music and to march, of course, but they also learn life skills. The BU mission states clearly the wider vision as “the development of youth through Academic Support, Character Development, Skills Building and Performance Opportunities. It is through these pillars that we strive to build strong, well rounded, healthy, confident and capable young people.”

Ty Brown has been running programs in Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights for over 20 years, and described the myriad ways in which the program has impacted young participants. “BU has effected students in every area of their lives. Academically they show great growth, emotionally they are more confident and outspoken, and their relationships with their parents are stronger. BU students become amazing leaders and go on to lead any industry they enter.”

Next week these young leaders will have the opportunity to showcase their skills on a new stage, and we will be fortunate to partake in the joy and growth that comes from working together as a community to create a singular work of art. Brown’s message is clear and rings from every cymbal crash and bass drum beat, “[We can all] be better each day,” he said, “Wake up with gratitude every day for our ability to beat this game of life!”

Tickets are available at www.lamama.org. Performances will take place June 8th to the 10th, 2018 at La Mama (66 East 4th Street). (June 8th at 8pm, June 9th and 10th at 3pm.)

Check out this video to learn more about the incredible kids of Brooklyn United, or watch this video to see and hear them at the Kosciuszko Bridge Opening Ceremony.

Bed-Stuy Stories: Gloria Sandiford, Advocate and Real Estate Broker

GloriaBed-Stuy Blog’s newest contributor, Mikhal Weiner, is profiling interesting residents from our community for her column, Bed-Stuy Stories. Next up is Gloria Sandiford, a community activist, Real Estate Broker at Flateau Realty Corp, and president of the Bedford-Stuyvesant Real Estate Board.

If you open Gloria Sandiford’s StreetEasy profile you’ll find yourself looking into her intelligent eyes, as they beam at the camera. Underneath, a short blurb explains that she is a “Brooklynite for Life! Community advocate and activist. Deep respect and admiration for arts & culture,” but most importantly: “My service policy: knowledge, trust, honesty, integrity & top-notch service, with a little humor!” In truth, Sandiford is all this and more. We met recently at Grandchamps, a local Bed-Stuy haven of Haitian cuisine. Sandiford walked in, shaking off an umbrella, and immediately took in the room with a warm smile. Calling the servers ‘honey’ and asking how they are, she made everyone’s day brighter.

Our conversation covered a wide swath of topics, but throughout her eclectic adventuresGloria2 one thread has remained consistent and strong: people, and the connections between them. “[The] word community encompasses so many different things,” she told me, considering the idea as she spoke, “The people, the processes, the leadership. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Schools, education, children, seniors, it’s all a part of that word community.” That’s where her passion lies, in helping the public become it’s best self, whether through advocacy, outreach, education, or simply buying groceries for an elderly neighbor.

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Local Artist Collective Presents New Exhibition in Bushwick

ED NOTE: This post is by the Bed-Stuy Blog’s newest contributor, Mikhal Weiner!

Imagine a game of telephone that uses works of art instead of a phrase or word. That’s what ArtLinks is– an ongoing collaborative project that brings together artists across disciplines and countries to create a continuous thread of innovation and artistry. The project creates a chain of pieces, each one responding to the preceding piece. Each pair or trio had ten days to create something new that responds to the work of the pair that preceded them. None of the artists had worked together in the past, and all of the works are multidisciplinary.

With 24 artists from Israel, USA, Serbia, Holland, Mexico (to name a few) who have worked together to create 10 works of art, Salomé ArtHaus is happy to present the ArtLinks 2 exhibition on Sunday, November 12th at 5pm in Bushwick. The venue, Powrplnt, is at 562 Evergreen Avenue.

Tickets are available online for $7 (purchase them here) and at the door for $10. More information is available at Salomé ArtHaus.