c. Obed Obwoge

Alliance Debuts Adama Delphine Fawundu’s ‘Ancestral Whispers’

June 28, 2024

Prospect Park Alliance’s first ReImagine Lefferts Artist in Residence Adama Delphine Fawundu’s large-scale, site-specific installation, Ancestral Whispers is now on view at Lefferts Historic House.  

In 2021, the Alliance launched the ReImagine Lefferts initiative, funded through a Humanities in Place grant from the Mellon Foundation. The initiative seeks to re-envision the mission and programming of the museum to focus 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. By focusing on stories of resistance, resilience, empowerment and joy, while also recognizing the legacies of dispossession, enslavement and oppression, the Alliance seeks to create a safe space for engaging with our collective past as well as contemporary issues affecting our communities today.

Fawundu is a lifelong Brooklynite, photographer and visual artist whose work centers around themes of indigenization and ancestral memory, which 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 created a large-scale, site-specific installation inspired by the research the Alliance 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 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, filmed in part in Prospect Park and Lefferts Historic House, is on view.

“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.”

5.30.24 Lefferts Reception, Adama Delphine Fawundu, Ancestral Whispers

Visit Ancestral Whispers at Lefferts Historic House June through September on Thursdays – Sundays at 12 pm to 5 pm or October through December 1 on Saturdays + Sundays at 12 pm to 4 pm.

Prospect Park Alliance Unveils Art Installation at Grand Army Plaza

February 8, 2024

Prospect Park Alliance and Art For Change, which connects socially conscious art collectors with in-demand contemporary artists and their work, have unveiled a large-scale public art exhibition in Grand Army Plaza: Park Of Dreams, on view through Spring 2024. The project is installed on the construction fencing of the iconic Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Arch, which is currently being restored, along with the Plaza and Berms, by Prospect Park Alliance through $8.9M in Mayoral funding. 

Park Of Dreams was made possible in part through a $25,000 grant from Assembly Member Brian Cunningham, with additional funding from Council Member Crystal Hudson. The project was undertaken through the City Canvas initiative of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, and in partnership with NYC Parks. 

“The beloved Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch at Grand Army Plaza is a Brooklyn icon and its plaza is an important space for community dialogue and gathering. Art and creative expression is part of what makes Prospect Park so special, and we are honored to partner with Art For Change to present a new generation of artists in Brooklyn’s premier civic space while restoration is underway,” said Morgan Monaco, Prospect Park Alliance President.

Park Of Dreams is one of Art For Change’s most exciting projects to date and we are thrilled to be working with Marcus Brutus, Kelly Beeman, Amy Lincoln, Jules de Balincourt, and Danielle Orchard amongst others,” says Art For Change Founder, Jeanne Masel. “Parks are a crucial part of any community and Prospect Park in particular holds a special place in my heart as a Brooklynite. Parks not only connect city dwellers to nature and offer a respite from the hustle and bustle, they support an incredible ecosystem of flora and fauna. Environmental conservation is a central tenet of Art For Change’s mission. Curating and producing this project enables us to leverage our deep relationships with artists and, in turn, show our respect for a park that is both a vital aspect of the Brooklyn community and an important ecosystem in itself.”

Park Of Dreams is a curated presentation of contemporary artworks by Marcus Brutus, Kelly Beeman, Alyssa Klauer, Danielle Orchard, Cydne Coleby, Jules De Balincourt, Amy Lincoln, Bianca Nemelc, Maria Calandra, Jon Key, Kirsten Deirup, and Na’ye Perez, which celebrates and supports Brooklyn’s beloved Prospect Park. The installation is accompanied by limited edition prints of each image available for purchase on the Art For Change website, with a portion of proceeds benefiting Prospect Park Alliance.

“The restoration of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch at Grand Army Plaza spotlights the majesty of Prospect Park, enabling all visitors to be in touch with nature and take in the art that permeates these vital public spaces. I am proud to allocate $25,000 to Prospect Park Alliance’s Park Of Dreams exhibit, which showcases Grand Army Plaza’s revival, highlighting some of New York’s most talented, local artists that inspire creativity among the thousands of visitors who pass by each week,” said Assembly member Brian Cunningham. 

“The social good that the arts and public parks bring to our communities is indisputable,” said Council Member Crystal Hudson. “The partnership between the Prospect Park Alliance and Art For Change is an ambitious project that will combine these civic goods and allow our neighbors to not only engage with their built environment in a special way but experience the work of renowned and burgeoning artists in an equally innovative way.”

Visit the Art for Change website for more information on this exciting project.

c. Left, Adama Delphine Fawundu c. Right, Obed Obwoge

Prospect Park Alliance Announces Artist In Residence Adama Delphine Fawundu

Prospect Park Alliance has announced the first Artist in Residence at Lefferts Historic House Museum. Brooklyn Artist Adama Delphine Fawundu will create a monumental, site-specific installation informed by new research from the Alliance’s ReImagine Lefferts Initiative, which seeks to focus interpretation at the museum on the resistance and resilience of the Indigenous people of Lenapehoking whose unceded ancestral lands the house rests upon and the Africans enslaved by the Lefferts family. The installation will debut in Spring 2024 in timing with the seasonal opening of the museum, and is funded through a Humanities in Place grant from the Mellon Foundation.

“Prospect Park Alliance’s first ReImagine Lefferts Artist in Residence is a step towards healing deep-seated wounds from our nation’s past,” said Prospect Park Alliance President, Morgan Monaco. “Art is a key medium for storytelling and this installation will help tell the stories of those who have traditionally been silenced. I look forward to park visitors engaging with and reflecting on Delphine’s installation as a form of healing, learning and community building.”

“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.

Fawundu’s connection with Prospect Park is long standing. A born-and-raised Brooklynite, Fawundu has a personal history in the park. Her work with the Alliance was sparked by her 2020 performance piece, In the Face of History Freedom Cape, which was filmed in part in Prospect Park and Lefferts Historic House. Fawundu’s relationship with the park continued in 2021 through Joyful Blues, an installation with BRIC at the Lena Horne Bandshell that combined photographs taken in the late 1990s of Black girls in Brooklyn as well as garra fabric designs from Sierra Leone, West Africa.

Artist in Residence, Fawundu is creating a new site-specific work that is informed by the research Prospect Park Alliance has conducted into the lives of Africans enslaved by the Lefferts family. To date, the Alliance has identified 25 people enslaved by the Lefferts family at the house between its construction in 1783 and the abolition of slavery in New York in 1827. Fawundu’s installation will include 25 textile pieces, each paying homage to the everyday heroism of these 25 individuals, installed across the historic house’s Flatbush Avenue facade.

“Delphine’s work builds upon research to honor the humanity of those whose stories were previously not told,” said Maria Carrasco, Prospect Park Alliance Vice President, Public Programs. “Her vision and work fit seamlessly with the ReImagine Lefferts Initiative in centering the resistance and resilience that enslaved Africans and generations of descendants have embodied throughout history.”

Fawundu’s work is rooted in humanism: “Knowing these names leads us to think about the stories of each person enslaved here, and to see each others’ humanity. We know of course that every enslaved person had intelligence and expertise, but we humanize them further when we ask ‘what else?’ about their story. Who was the scientist? Who was the herbalist? The fact that we tell these stories and the way that we tell them is so important,” says Fawundu.

Fawundu’s work is shaped not only by her personal history with the park and surrounding neighborhoods, but also by her over 10 years of experience as an educator in New York City public schools. “Resistance is so important for the younger generation. Black people have always been resisting from generation to generation, and telling stories that make our youth feel less-than is violent. Stories of the past clearly impact how younger people see themselves. The way we understand the past informs the present and future. This is something I have grappled with throughout my career as an artist and educator.”

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

Prospect Park Alliance has launched ReImagine Lefferts, an 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 “Brooklyn’s Backyard,” working in partnership with the City of New York. The Alliance was founded in 1987 to help restore Prospect Park after a long period of deterioration and decline. Today, the Alliance provides critical staff and resources that keep the park green and vibrant for the diverse communities that call Brooklyn home. The Alliance cares for the woodlands and natural areas, restores the park’s buildings and landscapes, creates innovative park destinations, and provides free or low-cost volunteer, education and recreation programs. Today, Prospect Park is an international model for the care of urban parks, and one of the premier green spaces in the United States. 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.

Mellon Foundation Logo

New Art Installation at the Bandshell

November 14, 2023

Prospect Park Alliance and BRIC, a leading contemporary, multi-disciplinary arts and media institution anchored in downtown Brooklyn, in partnership with NYC Parks’ Art in the Parks program present a mural by Kevin Claiborne, Lost Boys, at the Lena Horne Bandshell at Prospect Park. This is the fourth annual public art collaboration between BRIC and the Alliance at the Bandshell, and the piece will be on view through April 21, 2024. Claiborne, a conceptual photographer, engages viewers in critical self-reflection and collective examination of the Black experience. With Lost Boys, Claiborne challenges established notions of cultural legibility and encourages viewers to delve deeper into the origins, embodiment, and sufficiency of Blackness, including its impact on mental health.

Where can Blackness reach

Was Blackness first

Can Blackness be worn

Where is Black enough

What is Black enough

When is Black enough

The above text is superimposed upon the repeated face of an unidentified Black male youth, sourced from a photograph captured in Harlem, New York during the early 1900s. The repeated image of the unidentified young boy carries a symbolic weight, representing not only the individual but also a broader collective experience.

Painted in vibrant shades of blue and black, the boy’s direct gaze confronts the viewer while the repeated patterning and overlay of text pushes and pulls the colorful faces between differing levels of visibility.

The mural’s artist, Kevin Claiborne, said “I’m very grateful for BRIC and Prospect Park Alliance giving me the opportunity to share my artwork with the Brooklyn community and I hope people enjoy engaging with the statements and questions posed in the work. The installation of Lost Boys at the Lena Horne Bandshell is perfect as it creates an accessible bridge between art, history, and community engagement. The poignant questions in the work serve as an invitation for introspection and also honor Horne’s legacy by fostering dialogue and reflection on themes crucial to her life’s work, including Black empowerment, identity, and inclusivity. The artwork activated by the stage and community, amplifies the park’s role beyond mere leisure, transforming it into a space for communal exchange and connection.”

Jenny Gerow, Chief Curator, Director of Contemporary Art at BRIC, said “Kevin Claiborne’s urgent message of mental health, writ large in a natural space such as Prospect Park, illustrates that not only are these topics not often addressed, but that the space in which they are delivered is taken for granted. We are excited to be partnering with Prospect Park Alliance and the NYC Parks Art in the Parks program for a fourth year to engage with this beautiful public space in the presentation of Kevin Claiborne’s artwork. ”

Morgan Monaco, President of Prospect Park Alliance, said “We are honored to be working with BRIC, the NYC Parks Art in the Parks program and artist Kevin Claiborne to welcome Lost Boys to Prospect Park. This work beautifully surfaces many of the internal monologues that generations of BIPOC people have struggled to answer for themselves as individuals and for entire communities. I look forward to park visitors engaging with the work, as we endeavor to create spaces within the park for reflection on social justice issues as well as healing. Given the prominent location of the Lena Horne Bandshell and the connection to a long history of performing art, I hope it will help people feel seen and also spark inspiration to find moments of joy.”

The mural at Lena Horne Bandshell is part of BRIC Hip-Hop, the new, permanent home for Hip-Hop education, expression, and its evolution at BRIC. BRIC’s fall programming encompasses multiple aspects of Hip-Hop culture including visual art, fashion, film, advocacy, and more. BRIC’s Hip-Hop 50 curation underscores their commitment to showcasing and institutionalizing Hip-Hop culture and preserving community connection.

c. Martin Seck

New Prospect Park-Inspired Poetry

November 8, 2022

Six new poems inspired by Prospect Park are the result of Prospect Park Alliance’s partnership with Writing the Land, which connects poets with land set aside for people and nature. The partnership fosters collaboration between the environmental and creative communities.

Earlier this year, Prospect Park Alliance commissioned three poets to produce work about Prospect Park and share their work with the Brooklyn community: Black poet Rachelle Parker and Native American poets Michaeline Picaro and Opalanietet. The recently published anthology, Writing the Land: Windblown I, features their work and was celebrated at a reading at the Prospect Park Boathouse in October. Poets from across the country joined Prospect Park Alliance to read poems and discuss relationships among the communities and lands of Prospect Park, the arts and the environment as a whole.

“Partnerships with urban lands are new for Writing the Land, and we are thankful to Prospect Park Alliance for being such accommodating and generous hosts,” says Writing the Land Director Lis McLoughlin, PhD. “Our reading at the Boathouse was an extraordinary opportunity to bring attention to the importance—for city-dwellers and for visitors—of lands set aside for people and nature. We had a great time reading in this gorgeous place, and were grateful to experience firsthand Prospect Park as a welcoming haven for people to connect with nature in the midst of the city.”

This partnership is a stage for diverse voices to engage in a dialogue about the park and its history, an important part of Prospect Park Alliance’s community engagement work. The collaboration, while embracing the park as a whole, connects to the Alliance’s ReImagine Lefferts initiative, which seeks to re-envision the mission and programming of the park’s historic house museum to recognize its role as a site of slavery and to elevate the voices of the enslaved Africans who lived and worked the land, and the Indigenous people who were forced to leave their ancestral lands at the time of Dutch colonization.

“Our partnership allowed us to leverage the power of poetry to share perspectives on the lands that we sometimes take for granted,” says Maria Carrasco, the Alliance’s Vice President of Public Programs. “Poetry is a form of activism and has the ability to be healing and transformative. It can pose difficult questions, offer new perspectives on the world and help establish a sense of community. Joy Harjo, the first Native American United States Poet Laureate, expressed that ‘everyone’s behavior, or story, affects everyone else…we each need to be able to tell our stories and have them honored.’ Honoring experiences can lead to healing; that in turn, can forge friendships, partnerships and collaborations based on telling authentic stories from the past and present.”

Black poet Rachelle Parker and Native American poets Michaeline Picaro and Opalanietet spent several months visiting Prospect Park and creating poems inspired by the land—reproduced below. Each poet brings a unique perspective to their work and approach to Prospect Park.

From left to right: Michaeline Picaro, Opalanietet, Rachelle Parker

Michaeline Picaro, Opalanietet and Rachelle Parker’s work about Prospect Park and the full Writing the Land; Windblown I anthology can be previewed and purchased online at writingtheland.org.

Free Land Exists in Brooklyn

By Opalanietet

A land birthed free, sculpted by Creator
Utilization of ice pick, remnants of glacial ridge still seen
This land that still is Lenapehoking.
We give thanks to the Marechkawieck, we give thanks to the Canarsee
Which without their stewardship, this oasis never could have been
This land that still is Lenapekhoking.
Freedom is to roam, freedom is to play, freedom is to choose to stay
To be free with this land, we have no landlord, we have no king, or queen
This land that still is Lenapehoking.
Stolen, divided, quarantined for privatized use
Reconfigured, reimagined, a public space so green
This land that still is Lenapehoking.

A Damselfly Is Not A Lady Dragonfly

By Rachelle Parker

They are their own kind.
Gliding across lakes. With their
own moms and dads, children.
Pretty. Wings iridescent. Knitted.
Delicate. Filigree. Whizzing
between boys and girls with
popsicles whose own wings are knotted
under skin the color of rasped
nutmeg wait to unfurl, soar,
catch sun, become heart
shaped and moms and dads with children,
dart, scuffle, stay safe
and alive amidst the genus,
amidst the skittishness.

We are Still Here

By Michaeline Picaro

We are still here
We are still here.
Not all are tucked away like parks in cities.
Close- knit, core communities and dispersed afar in cities block.
Outdated History needs correction, NY, NJ, CT, MA, RI, we are still here.
Cities subjugate nature into insignificant pockets, it is still here.
Minuscule compared to its former honor, tucked away awaiting the unexpected wanderer.
They visit, enjoy or study, unearthing teachings of heart and spirit.
Nature is still here. We are still here, with teachings of heart and spirit.
We Native Americans are synergistic, onto parks of nature.
We are not gone, we are Resilience!
One of many Nations, Ramapough  Lenape Nation
We are still here.

New Multimedia Installation at the Bandshell

October 6, 2022

BRIC and Prospect Park Alliance in partnership with NYC Parks’ Art in the Parks program present a new installation by Sarah E. Brook at the Lena Horne Bandshell at Prospect Park. The Need You Know It Is A Letting Light is a set of three abstract wooden sculptures and an accompanying mural that expand the artist’s exploration of communication between external and internal psychic space. This is the first time sculpture will be present alongside a mural at the bandshell. The installation will be on view from Saturday, October 15, 2022 – Friday, May 5, 2023 with an opening celebration on Sunday, October 16 from 11am – 1pm. RSVP encouraged.

“Prospect Park Alliance is honored to once again partner with BRIC and the NYC Parks’ Art in the Parks program to bring this monumental multimedia work to Brooklyn’s Backyard,” said James Snow, Interim President of Prospect Park Alliance. “It is wonderful to have the opportunity to bring art to our community year-round at the Lena Horne Bandshell, and we look forward to experiencing this piece throughout the coming season with our neighbors and visitors.”

“Sarah E Brook’s bandshell installation will be the largest commission so far for the artist and, like the two installations that came before it, engages with the social and political issues of the moment,” said Jenny Gerow, Curator of the mural and Contemporary Art Curator at BRIC. “A refreshing take on identity, the piece is less of a declaration of one’s self through figuration and instead a deep desire through form to engage and open up a discussion about how one’s identity is formed, such as through society and one’s environment. Brooks’ work is quiet and introspective and, in that quietness, a real sense of possibility.”

The mural’s colors of red, yellow, and green are sourced from the natural beauty of Prospect Park, and both draws viewers in from the park and radiates out from the Bandshell and stage into the park, reflecting the function of a bandshell to expand voices. The repurposed wood sculptures respond to the mural’s colors, expressing warm-hued shadows that appear to be held within. The sculptures’ material communicate their singularity through wear – a crooked nail, an empty hole, a worn edge – and in their gentle leaning formation, the sculptures can be read as bodies supporting one another.

Sculptural abstraction, for Brook, is based on a commitment to creating spaces for queer, gender nonconforming, and trans folks to experiment with embodied perception, encouraging and affirming a multisensory experience of being whole in the world. Brook’s geometric sculptural forms utilize salvaged wood that both contains the history and identity of each particular piece and expands that singularity outward through painted gradients. They communicate the possibility of a selfhood that can be known and shared, and is, in fact, capable of moving beyond the confines of a body and environment.

Specificity for Brook is key to the possibility of vastness – it is not by leaving the particular self behind, but by moving deeply into the exact needs, desires, and knowings of that self that creates a path toward perceiving a wider world of creatively expanded possibilities. The specific and the infinite are intimately entwined. Brook’s relationship to expanding space is both personal and contextual, formed by the world around us. Nature, for Brook, is often a muse for testing out these possibilities, and the New York City park system has become a site for many of their interventions in space. Their understanding of expansiveness is influenced by their childhood in the Nevada desert as well as pioneering land and light artists of the Western United States Nancy Holt, Larry Bell, and Agnes Martin.

Brook is a longtime collaborator of BRIC; they were a BRIClab Artist-in-Residence in 2018 and a part of the 2019 BRIC Biennial in 2019.

Learn more about Brook and The Need You Know It Is A Letting Light

c. Martin Seck

Experience a Prospect Park Soundwalk

June 8, 2022

Did you know deep, resonant sound can be heard inside trees, among the roots of plants, in shifting soils, in streambeds, rivers, and even in mud–and that the sounds of the subway and airplanes can be heard in the soils of our local parks? From May 14, 2022 – May 2023, experience the sounds of Prospect Park in a new immersive way with artist Nikki Lindt’s the Underground Sound Project, a Soundwalk.

The Underground Sound Project is an interactive public art installation in partnership with Prospect Park Alliance, NYC Parks, USDA Forest Service, and The Nature of Cities based on a series of underground acoustic recordings made by Lindt. The soundwalk begins along a wooded trail, starting at a trailhead by Dog Beach. The recordings were made by placing microphones underground, underwater and even inside trees. Visitors on the soundwalk will experience a stream, a maple tree, the forest floor, wildflowers, and many more park features in a new light. At designated locations along the walk, visitors will be able to experience the corresponding subsurface sounds in a series of one minute videos accessed on The Underground Sound Projects’ interactive website. 

Underground acoustics tell us a lot about the soils beneath us, but also about ourselves. Our human created sounds often affect this subterranean world in unexpected ways. The Underground Sound Project encourages visitors to explore this exciting and mysterious frontier but also asks us to slow down, listen deeply, and by doing so, gain a more intimate view and connection to the expansive world right beneath us.

Learn more about  Prospect Park’s woodlands and waterways as well as Prospect Park Alliance’s work restoring and sustaining woodland areas.

Caribpolitan, Andrea Pippins for I AM CARIBBEING

Celebrate Caribbean-American Heritage in Prospect Park

May 4, 2022

Celebrate Caribbean-American Heritage Month in Prospect Park with I AM caribBEING, JOUVAYFEST COLLECTIVE, BUSH WO/MAN Conversations Project, and Prospect Park Alliance. Enjoy Caribbean film, live music, dance, wellness and much more during this cultural celebration for Brooklynites of all ages. All participating artists and practitioners have roots in Little Caribbean NYC, and hail from Trinidad, Jamaica, Haiti and elsewhere.

I AM caribBEING is supported by NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council for the Arts, Con Edison, TD Bank, National Grid and Showtime.

RSVP today for these upcoming events!

I AM caribBEING Prospect Park: Rockers + Dre Island
Sunday, June 5, 2022
Location: Prospect Park Boathouse
Time: 7-10pm
Prospect Park Alliance and I AM caribBEING kick off Caribbean-American Heritage Month with the cult classic film, Rockers. The 1978 film offers a tale of struggle and triumph in the streets of Kingston, Jamaica. Protagonist, Horsemouth, knows all too well the difficulty it takes to get into the music business in Kingston. Although talented, he earns very little and hustles to make ends meet. As tension begins to build with the local mafia after they steal his motorbike, Horsemouth and his friends concoct a plan to bring their reign of terror to an end and bring justice the the people of Kingston.

Prior to the film, multi-talented singer, keyboardist Dre Island, hailing from Kingston, Jamaica, will join the celebration for a very special performance. Complex calls him “one of the most refreshing voices in reggae right now.” With his gravelly vocals and calm demeanor, he evokes a mystery and edge that gravitates reggae and dancehall fans alike. The versatile artist has collaborated with the likes of UK R&B singer Jorja Smith, contemporary reggae star Chronixx and Jamaican dancehall artists like Popcaan and Skillibeng. In June, he will release his sophomore album High Times, which follows his 2020 debut, Now I Rise.

 

ALERT: Canceled due to predicted sever weather, check back for reschedule date TBD.
I AM  caribBEING Prospect Park: Lean Strong Fast Hike
Sunday, June 12, 2022
Location: Prospect Park Boathouse
Time: 9-11am
Join I AM caribBEING and Prospect Park Alliance to learn to improve your fitness and wellness regimens with the Little Caribbean-based performance team, Lean Strong Fast. Attendees will be guided through the park on either a beginner or intermediate level hike-walk based on their comfort level. Bring out your sneakers and come join us in the park!

 

RESCHEDULED: Tribute to the Rhythm Workshop
Now Thursday, June 16 (was Sunday, June 12)
Location: Prospect Park Boathouse
Time: 6-9pm
Join Prospect Park Alliance, JOUVAYFEST COLLECTIVE and BUSH WO/MAN Conversations Project for a workshop in Prospect Park this June which gives tribute to The Rhythm Section, The Iron Men, and the other percussionists that create the dynamic rhythm section so essential to Steelpan and Calypso music. Participants will learn about the history and role of drummers through speakers and performances. All ages are invited to enjoy the workshop.

 

I AM caribBEING Prospect Park: Juneteenth + One Love Little Caribbean Day
Sunday, June 19, 2022
Location: Prospect Park Boathouse
Time: 4-9pm
Join Prospect Park Alliance and I AM caribBEING for Juneteenth, I AM caribBEING style, with live performance by Grammy-Award winning Angela Hunte backed by Da Jerry Wonda Band, peer-to-peer gaming powered by Fun With Friends DJ sets by Gab Soul + Khalil and Little Caribbean artisan vendors.

Escape the excitement and enter the calming Rooftop Oasis showcasing local Black-owned self-care brands on the Boathouse’s Rooftop. Upon entering this haven, guests can choose their wellness adventure. From refreshing natural elixirs to essential oil blends for whatever ails you, Rooftop Oasis will take you there and bring you back to life.

Rooftop Oasis is curated by I DON’T DO CLUBS and TAKE CARE WELLNESS

I AM caribBEING Prospect Park: Brukwine
Sunday, June 26, 2022
Location: Prospect Park Boathouse
Time: 2pm-2:45pm
Are you ready to wukkup and juk? Join I AM caribBEING and BRUKWINE for a high energy workout routine. This Caribbean inspired dance workout is sure to get your heart rate up, hips moving and thighs burning!

I AM caribBEING is supported by NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council for the Arts, Con Edison, TD Bank, National Grid and Showtime.

Carousel Horses Restored Ahead of Opening Day

April 13, 2022

Prospect Park’s Carousel reopens for the 2022 season on April 14! The Carousel has been a beloved staple of the park since 1912, and while countless rides on the stately horses and creatures have left a mark, you won’t find any chipped paint this year. This is thanks to Architectural Conservator Assya Plavskina’s meticulous work conserving and refining the carousel’s trademark details and colors, and original design.

The horses of Prospect Park’s Carousel last went through a major restoration in the late 1980s-early 1990s and were lovingly maintained by Lucio Schiavone until 2014. Plavskina started her work by stripping the figures of old varnish, removing flaking paint, and filled in areas of missing or failing paint, being careful to exactly match the paint already on the figures. The difficult task of matching colors required Plavskina to use her background in chemistry as a historical conservator to get the hues just right.

Learn more about Carousel operating days, tickets and hours!

c. Assya Plavskina

Plavsinka’s work also pays homage to the original roots of the carousel. “The design of the figures is heavy in gilding, as is typical of the work of Charles Carmel, the famous early-20th century carousel figure carver responsible for these figures, so it was important to make sure that this element was visible and prominent.” Plavskina used a metal leafing to match the existing gold and silver leaf.

“My intention was to stabilize all of the existing paint and gilding, fill in any particularly large areas of loss to match exactly what was intended to be there, and to ensure that all of the artistic finishes are well-protected against the intense use that the Carousel gets.”

c. Assya Plavskina

A fun-fact from the conservation process: before the work could get started, the figures needed a cleaning with soap that would not damage the paint. It’s common for conservators to turn to other trades when selecting appropriate tools, and in this case, Plavskina turned to the horse-care trade—the soap with which the Carousel horses were cleaned was actually intended for the cleaning of real horses!

The Carousel is one of the park’s most cherished and time-honored attractions for many park-goers, including Plavskina herself: “One of my favorite things about working on the Carousel was seeing the constant stream of children eagerly holding on to the closed railings, pointing out their favorite horses, and expressing how eager they were to ride again. Of course, they do not know, or care, that the horses may look identical to how they did 100 years ago, or the exact perfect color match of each paint, or what work goes into making sure that that paint remains stable and the Carousel remains running. But what is important is that they recognize their favorite horse, and they can continue to come back to the Carousel and feel the same feeling year after year. My mother-in-law used to come to the carousel with her own mother when she was a child in the 60s and 70s, and this year, she will be taking my children, her grandkids, to the Carousel. It is that continuation of history and community that conserving and maintaining the Carousel allows that is so beautiful to me.”

The Prospect Park Carousel is open Thursdays-Sundays, April-October. Learn more about tickets, discounts with Alliance membership, and booking a birthday party at the Carousel.

Alliance Launches Poetry Partnership with Writing the Land

February 23, 2022

Prospect Park Alliance is partnering with Writing the Land, which connects poets with land set aside for people and nature to foster collaboration between the environmental and creative communities. Prospect Park Alliance has partnered with Writing the Land to commission four poets to produce work about Prospect Park and share their work with the Brooklyn community: Black poet Rachelle Parker, and Native American poets Michaeline Picaro, Opalanietet and Ty Defoe.

This partnership is a stage for diverse voices to engage in a dialogue about the park and its history, an important part of Prospect Park Alliance’s community engagement work. The collaboration, while embracing the park as a whole, connects to the Alliance’s Re-Imagine Lefferts initiative, currently underway, which seeks to re-envision the mission and programming of the park’s historic house museum to recognize its role as a site of slavery and to elevate the voices of the enslaved Africans who lived and worked the land, and the Indigenous people that were forced to leave their ancestral lands at the time of Dutch colonization.

“Our partnership with Writing the Land fits incredibly well into the work of the Alliance,” says Maria Carrasco, the Alliance’s Vice President of Public Programs. “Poetry is empowering and the perfect vehicle for engaging our community in contemplating the viewpoints of traditionally unheard voices. The spoken word can provide members of our community with new ways of thinking, and hopefully will encourage them to actively participate in social change and civic engagement here in the park and beyond.”

“Writing the Land is excited to expand our work with traditional land trusts to more diverse organizations that protect land,” says director of Writing the Land, Lis McLoughlin, PhD. ”Prospect Park is an amazing resource for its community and beyond, and we were delighted to find they were very open to using poetry as a way to highlight the great work they do. Our poets are looking forward to building bridges between the park and those who love and use it.”

The poets will spend the next several months visiting the park and creating poems inspired by the land, which will culminate in a reading in the park in October. Prospect Park poets will be featured performers, and they will give a sneak peek of some poems they are preparing for the Writing the Land Anthology to be published in December.

From left to right: Michaeline Picaro, Opalanietet, Rachelle Parker, Ty Defoe

Michaeline Picaro is a member of the Ramapough Lunaape Nation Turtle Clan. As a traditionalist with knowledge of medicinal plants, Picaro is currently seeking to further her expertise and is enrolled at Chamberlain College to receive her nursing BSN to further assist the Turtle Clan with nursing needs and assessments. Picaro is also a co-founder of the Munsee Three Sisters Medicinal Farm which creates jobs and works toward food sovereignty. She is a co-founder of Ramapough Culture and Land Foundation, which preserves and restores the economic, social, cultural, sacred and environmental assets of the Ramapough Munsee ancestral lands.Picaro carries the Clan Mother title and is a Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Narragansett Indian Tribe and preservationist for ceremonial landscapes.

Opalanietet is a member of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape tribal nation of New Jersey.  Since graduating from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Opalanietet has performed in workshops and productions at renowned New York theatrical institutions including New Dramatists, LaMaMa E.T.C. and New York City Opera at Lincoln Center. In 2012, Opalanietet founded Eagle Project, a theater company dedicated to exploring the American identity through the performing arts and Native American heritage. Opalanietet is currently studying for his doctorate in Theatre & Performance Studies at the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center.

Rachelle Parker is a Nassawadox-born, Brooklyn-bred writer. She was selected the winner of the Furious Flower Poetry Prize, was awarded third prize in the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award and was a finalist in Rhino Founders’ Prize. She was recognized in the Arts By The People – 2021 Moving Words. Her work appears in About Place Journal, The Adirondack Review, Taint Taint Taint Magazine and she is a contributor to the anthology The BreakBeat Poets: Black Girl Magic. Her photography also debuted in Orion Magazine.

Ty Defoe is an Indigiqueer citizen of the Oneida Nation and Anishinaabe Nations. Defoe is a writer, interdisciplinary artist, and Grammy Award winner. Defoe aspires to an “interweaving and glitterizing approach to artistic projects with liberation and environmentalism.” Defoe’s global cultural arts highlights include the Millennium celebration in Cairo, Egypt; International Music Festival in Ankara, Turkey; and Festival of World Cultures in Dubai. The artist’s accolades range from the Global Indigenous Heritage Festival Award, Jonathan Larson Award, Helen Merrill Playwriting Award 2021, and Cultural Capital Fellowship with First People’s Fund 2021.