Lefferts Kicks Off 2024 Season

May 15, 2024

Starting June 1, Prospect Park Alliance kicks off a full season of family-friendly programming at Lefferts Historic House museum, with the debut of its first Artist in Residence Adama Delphine Fawundu’s large-scale, site-specific installation, Ancestral Whispers, funded through a grant from the Mellon Foundation, and a Pinkster celebration with Chief Baba Neil Clarke, the Pinkster Players and more. 

“Art can be such a powerful tool for social justice, and for a dialogue about legacy, agency and creativity. When we have art in public spaces, we create meaningful opportunities for people to reflect on the beauty of the artwork in fellowship with other park users and with nature,” says Prospect Park Alliance President, Morgan Monaco. “Prospect Park Alliance welcomes the entire community to join us for the debut of our first Artist in Residence and the second season of our ReImagine Lefferts initiative, which has shifted our interpretation to tell these stories of resistance and resilience. It is my hope that visitors will see a version of themselves represented in this museum and feel seen, honored and welcome. The season is an especially significant one as we share Ancestral Whispers with our community, which celebrates the heroism of Africans enslaved by the Lefferts family, and leverages the power of art to heal deep-seated wounds from our nation’s past.”

Learn more about the full season, and RSVP for our opening events: prospectpark.org/lefferts.

Operated by the Alliance in partnership with the Historic House Trust, the museum is open from June 1 through December 1, 2024, and provides free, family-friendly cultural programming for Brooklynites of all ages with hands-on experiences, live performances and other engaging activities that explore the lives, resistance and resilience of the Indigenous people of Lenapehoking, whose unceded ancestral lands the park and house rests upon, and Africans enslaved by the Lefferts family. 

Adama Delphine Fawundu Ancestral Whispers
The Alliance’s first ever Artist in Residence is lifelong Brooklynite Adama Delphine Fawundu. Fawundu is a photographer and visual artist whose  work centers around themes of indigenization and ancestral memory, which has earned her a 2024 Guggenheim Fellowship. “When the Alliance reached out it was so special because we were both on a specific trajectory. My whole existence is based in this neighborhood. The smell of the grass when it rains in the park means so much to me…I have such a history here. It felt very much like a 360 degree event to connect with the ReImagine team here in Prospect Park,” reflects Artist in Residence Adama Delphine Fawundu on initial conversations with the Alliance.

For her commission, Fawundu has created a large-scale, site-specific installation inspired by the research the Alliance has conducted into the lives of Africans enslaved by the Lefferts family. To date, the Alliance has identified 25 people enslaved at the house between its 1783 construction and the 1827 abolition of slavery in New York. Fawundu has created 25 fabric banners that transform the house’s Flatbush Avenue facade, honoring the heroism of these Africans enslaved by the Lefferts family. In addition, Fawundu’s 2020 video performance piece, In the Face of History Freedom Cape, which was filmed in part in Prospect Park and Lefferts Historic House, will be on view.

The Alliance will present a special opening event with Fawundu on Sunday, June 9, and a conversation with Fawundu and artist Nona Faustine on Sunday, June 30. Learn more and RSVP: prospectpark.org/ancestral-whispers.

Pinkster Celebration + Season Opening

The Alliance will celebrate the start of the Lefferts season with a special Pinkster celebration on Saturday, June 1, with Chief Baba Neil Clarke, the Pinkster Players and friends, including long-time Lefferts storyteller Tammy Hall. Pinkster was the one holiday a year in the colonial period when Africans enslaved in New York were allowed to gather. Africans took that opportunity to celebrate and transmit their cultures, making Pinkster the oldest African festival in North America. This family-friendly event features music, history, performances, storytelling, demonstrations, games and food related to this historic celebration of Africans in New York. Learn more about Pinkster and RSVP: prospectpark.org/pinkster.

Enjoy the following special programs this June: 

Lefferts Opening Event: Pinkster Celebration
Saturday, June 1, 1–5 pm
Lefferts Historic House, Free, RSVP: prospectpark.org/pinkster 
Prospect Park Alliance celebrates the 2024 season opening of our historic house museum with a celebration of Pinkster, a historic festival of African culture in New York, with Chief Baba Neil Clarke, the Pinkster Players and friends, including long-time Lefferts storyteller Tammy Hall. This family-friendly event features music, history, performances, storytelling, demonstrations, games and food. Plus, the celebration continues with a Pinkster Celebration from 12-5 pm on Sunday June 2 at Weeksville Heritage Center! Free shuttle buses between the two museums from 12:30-5:30 pm on both Saturday and Sunday.

Exhibit Opening: Adama Delphine Fawundu, Ancestral Whispers
Sunday, June 9, 2–5 pm
Lefferts Historic House, Free, RSVP: prospectpark.org/ancestral-whispers
Welcome Prospect Park Alliance’s first ever ReImagine Lefferts Artist in Residence, Adama Delphine Fawundu, at the official launch of her installation Ancestral Whispers. Enjoy a spiritually rich sonic offering, featuring Fawundu accompanied by her son and musician Che Buford, whose work explores the creation of new narratives while engaging with memory and place. Fawundu will conduct gallery talks of her works on display, explain her creative process and share details about some of the concepts and imagery in her art. Plus, DJ Spinna will also be performing as part of this opening celebration.

Elevating Black Queer Ancestors
Thursday, June 13, 6:30–7:30 pm
Lefferts Historic House, Free: prospectpark.org/lefferts 
Join Prospect Park Alliance Public Programs Manager Riah Kinsey on the porch of Lefferts Historic House for an evening tribute elevating Black Queer Ancestors. Bring a picnic and listen to excerpts of historic records documenting 300 years of Black Queer life in New York and beyond.

Father’s Day Celebration and Discussion
Saturday, June 15, 12–3 pm
Lefferts Historic House, Free, Registration Encouraged: prospectpark.org/lefferts 
Join Assembly Member Brian Cunningham for a fun-filled Father’s Day celebration and BBQ at Lefferts Historic House in Prospect Park!

*77* District 40 at Lefferts Historic House
Monday, June 17, 7–8 pm
Lefferts Historic House, Free: prospectpark.org/lefferts 
Join Prospect Park Alliance and *77* District 40 for an evening of community and culture building. The event will feature seven seven-minute presentations and/or performances celebrating diverse cultures. 

Uhuru Season: 17 Days of Freedom
Daily, Wednesday, June 19–Friday, July 5
Lefferts Historic House, Free: prospectpark.org/lefferts 
Visit the toll booth outside Lefferts Historic House to view a series of posters created by local artist Grey Jones. This site-specific exhibition commemorates the historical tradition of celebrating Juneteenth, the last day that Americans were freed from enslavement, and July 5, the day that many Black Americans historically celebrated American Independence as a sociopolitical protest to the continued enslavement of people prior to emancipation.

The Legacy of the Chicaba a.k.a. Moko Jumbie!
Sunday, June 23, 2–5 pm
Lefferts Historic House, Free, RSVP: prospectpark.org/caribbean
Join Prospect Park Alliance, JouvayFest Collective, BUSH WO/MAN Conversations Project and 2J & Friends for The Legacy of the Chicaba a.k.a. Moko Jumbie! Traditional Character’s workshop at Lefferts Historic House. Learn the significance of these legendary African masquerade characters and how they have circulated through the diaspora across the Caribbean and other Carnival cultures around the world.

DJ on the Porch: Lefferts Libations, Homage of Music and History 
Saturday, June 29, 2–7 pm
Lefferts Historic House, Free: prospectpark.org/lefferts 
Join Prospect Park Alliance and Juwandi House Riddems for a family-friendly afternoon of house rhythms in the yard of Lefferts Historic House.

Conversations on the Porch: Adama Delphine Fawundu + Nona Faustine
Sunday, June 30, 2–3:30
Lefferts Historic House, Free, RSVP: prospectpark.org/lefferts
Join Prospect Park Alliance for a conversation between Lefferts Artist in Residence Adama Delphine Fawundu and artist Nona Faustine, whose work is currently on view at the Brooklyn Museum, moderated by cultural anthropologist, curator, producer and organizer, Niama Safia Sandy. Both Fawundu and Faustine use photography to engage with the legacies of enslavement and resilience in Brooklyn, and have produced work featuring Lefferts Historic House.

DJ on the Porch: Beats, Rhythm & Lyrics
Sunday, July 14, 2–9 pm
Lefferts Historic House, Free: prospectpark.org/lefferts 
Join Prospect Park Alliance, DJ Vic Black of the Gangstarr Foundation and founder of Beats Rhythm & Lyrics for a day of great music and community in the yard of Lefferts Historic House.

*77* at Lefferts Historic House
Wednesday, July 17, 7–8 pm
Lefferts Historic House, Free: prospectpark.org/lefferts 
Join Prospect Park Alliance and *77* District 40 for an evening of community and culture. The event will feature seven seven-minute presentations and/or performances beginning at 7 pm in the yard at Lefferts Historic House.

NYC Poetry Family Reunion
Saturday, July 20, 3–9 pm
Lefferts Historic House, Free: prospectpark.org/lefferts 
Join Prospect Park Alliance, Empress Poetry & Essence Lamonde for performances and an open mic at the Lefferts Historic House. This event will bring together griots, poets and wordsmiths from across the diaspora to honor important members of the poetry community in NYC. We will also honor fallen community members with a legendary tribute.

DJ on the Porch: Songs of Resistance and Joy! 
Sunday, July 28, 2–5 pm
Lefferts Historic House, Free: prospectpark.org/lefferts 
Join Prospect Park Alliance and Shawne’ Lee for a musical tribute to the courage of her mother, Mama Joy Chatel, the activist and preservationist who saved 227 Abolitionist Place in downtown Brooklyn from destruction. Enjoy music on the Lefferts Historic House porch and hear Sister Shawne’ spin the songs that gave Chatel strength, happiness, peace of mind and soulful comfort.

Community Health Awareness and Family Reunion Day of Fun
August 18, 10:30 am–8 pm
Lefferts Historic House, Free: prospectpark.org/lefferts
Join Prospect Park Alliance, James Frasier, DJ T-Groove, Mehala Isadora Miller Foundation, the Bonello Foundation and more for a Community Health Awareness event and Family Reunion Day of Fun at Lefferts Historic House in Prospect Park. Enjoy free refreshments, activities, and school-supplies giveaways for children, fitness and nutrition workshops, and health screenings provided by One Brooklyn Health, Aetna, and more. 

*77* at Lefferts Historic House
Tuesday, August 27, 7–8pm
Lefferts Historic House, Free: prospectpark.org/lefferts 
Join Prospect Park Alliance and *77* District 40 for an evening of community and culture building. The event will feature seven seven-minute presentations and/or performances beginning at 7 pm in the yard at Lefferts Historic House.

About Adama Delphine Fawundu

Adama Delphine Fawundu is a photographer and visual artist of Mende, Krim, Bamileke and Bubi descent. Her distinct visual language centered around themes of indigenization, and ancestral memory, enriches and expands the visual art canon. Fawundu co-published the critically acclaimed book MFON: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora. She is an Assistant Professor of Visual Art at Columbia University. Learn more at delphinefawundu.com.

About ReImagine Lefferts

ReImagine Lefferts is Prospect Park Alliance’s initiative to re-envision the mission and programming of the Lefferts Historic House museum, an 18th-century Flatbush farmhouse and New York City landmark, to focus its interpretation and programming on exploring the lives, resistance and resilience of the Indigenous people of Lenapehoking, whose unceded ancestral lands the park and house rests upon, and the Africans enslaved by the Lefferts family. The Alliance seeks to engage the public in thoughtful dialogue about the legacy of enslavement and the exploitation of marginalized communities in Brooklyn and beyond. Learn more at prospectpark.org/lefferts.

About Prospect Park Alliance

Prospect Park Alliance is the non-profit organization that sustains, restores and advances Prospect Park, Brooklyn’s Backyard, in partnership with the City of New York. The Alliance provides critical staff and resources that keep the Park green and vibrant for the diverse communities that call Brooklyn home. Learn more at prospectpark.org. 

About the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is the nation’s largest supporter of the arts and humanities. Since 1969, the Foundation has been guided by its core belief that the humanities and arts are essential to human understanding. The Foundation believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity, and that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence, and freedom that can be found there. Through our grants, we seek to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive. Learn more at mellon.org.

ReImagine Lefferts is funded through a Humanities in Place grant from the Mellon Foundation.

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