By Alexandra Simon
An East New York-based art organization has announced a $16,000 fellowship for Brooklyn artists. ART’s East New York (AENY) is introducing the The Van Lier [re]Activate Fellowship as part of their ReNew Lots project for artists and artisans living in eastern Brooklyn. The project is an effort to utilize and beautify vacant lots in the neighborhood, while also giving local creators a chance to develop something for their community, said the project’s program manager.
“Our focus is on East New York and Brooklyn and to create art opportunities to improve economic opportunities in East New York, not only for artists specifically, but for families and people in general,” said Nick Savvides.
Artists between 18 and 30 years old will have until 11:59 pm on Feb. 20 to submit an application for the fellowship. Requirements include that the artist lives within community boards five, six or 18, which includes only eastern Brooklyn neighborhoods. And the artist must be under 30 years old at the time of the application.
This campaign created a few years ago, aims to shed light at empty spaces in the area and revitalizing them, said Savvides.
“A lot of the work relates to finding opportunities to take the space that’s been forgotten or dirty, and bringing attention to something that wasn’t there before,” he added.
This spring ReNew Lots is launching its program, which will help transform the spaces and will be used to house artist incubators and business spaces, according to Savvides.
Four winners for the fellowship will be announced my mid-March and the artists will be awarded the prize money via stipend and given a 20-foot studio space in a renovated shipping container. They will also get mentorship and collaborate with AENY on community projects.
Saavides says anyone interested can join as long as they are committed to serving the community as part of their long-term mission.
“We are open to people who do performing arts, visual, and anything really,” he said.
He added that the application process mostly examines the mindset and creativity of the artist and what they will be able to bring to the project.
“We want to know what is the artist’s experience with the neighborhood, what experience they have working with teaching workshops, and we ask clearly what the artist can do with an 8-foot by 20-foot space,” said Savvides. “We want people to understand our response and how to connect with the community.”
Artists will be able to gain a valuable experience and introduce themselves and their work to their neighbors.
“I think the biggest benefit is that the artists can benefit from bringing their work to the forefront,” said Savvides. “The project is kind of radical and just to be part of that, they can build themselves and become part of this.”
Visit www.artseastnewyork.org to apply.