We are proud to announce our 2016 inaugural grant recipients! 




Hekima Hapa and her company Black Girls Sew are awarded a $5,000 grant to host an entrepreneurial fashion camp for youth of color. Hapa, the Black Girls Sew founder, has over 20 years of experience as a successful designer and stylist. Her organization focuses on teaching young women and girls fundamental life skills such as creativity and resourcefulness through the design process.

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Terry Greiss and Irondale Productions are awarded a $5,000 grant to put on a series of theatre workshops and performances that bring NYPD patrol officers and community members together in order to develop a sense of empathy, increased understanding and cooperation, between two groups that truly need to get along. Greiss is a co-founder and has been working with Irondale as an actor, director and producer for 40 years. He is a Master Teacher of Acting in the Broadway Teacher’s Summit and in 2010 he was awarded Brooklyn Arts Exchange’s Arts Education Award.



André M. Zachery and Renegade Performance Group are awarded a $3,000 grant in order to create a performance involving dance, movement, film and sound & visual installations. The immersive project is part of Renegade’s, The AFROFUTURISM Series, which seeks to address how a new generation of artists of Caribbean descent envision the future of Brooklyn. Renegade works with New York communities through outreach and residencies at social service organizations such as The Irondale Center, Fourth Arts Block, University Settlement, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture|NYPL and 3LD Art & Technology Center.

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Clara Schuhmacher and the DUMBO Improvement District are awarded a $1,500 grant to host Live at the Archway, a free, live arts performance series. The organization is comprised of property owners, merchants, businesses and cultural organizations which aim to provide advocacy, street beautification, neighborhood marketing and programming of public spaces. The non-profit’s programs are designed to make DUMBO a meaningful community for residents, businesses, visitors, culture seekers and artists alike.



Régine M. Roumain and Haiti Cultural Exchange are awarded a $3,500 grant to produce the 4th Biennial Haiti Film Fest to further promote the voices and visions of Haiti and its Diaspora. The organization has become a leader in promoting cross-cultural exchanges, preserving Haiti’s cultural heritage, and encouraging dialogue around contemporary social issues facing Haitians. Roumain’s efforts have been recognized by a Union Square Award for the Arts and the Haitian Roundtable.



Laurie O’Brien is awarded $2,500 in order to run The Peephole Cinema: a free, public cinema that allows for collaboration and harmony between filmmakers, landlords and neighborhood residents. O’Brien works with businesses and building owners who are open to integrating local artists with the community at large into the façade of their outdoor (public) space. She has implemented her brand of Cinema in locations such as Brooklyn, San Francisco and Los Angeles and is committed to representing diverse filmmakers and underrepresented artists, minority populations, women and youth.



Archie Lee Coates IV and Friends of + Pool are awarded a $5,000 grant to research, design, and disseminate the + POOL River Guide, an art book and interactive educational tool. Conceived of by four designers, Friends of + POOL supports the development, operation and maintenance of the first water-filtrating, floating pool and the accompanying book creatively presents the marine life of the East River, as part of the organization's in-school education program.



Timothy Young and Puppetry Arts New York are awarded a $3,500 grant to produce Anthropomorphic, a puppet-infused musical that raises social awareness of LGBTQ-youth suicide in New York City. Puppetry Arts New York has been involved with the community since 1997 and was awarded with a Certificate of Proclamation by former Brooklyn President, Marty Markowitz, for its commitment to providing education to the youth, through the arts.



Brian Camacho and Arts & Rhymes is awarded a $3,500 grant to put on the Arts and Rhymes Hip-Hop Festival. With the festival, Brian intends to give a platform to underserved artists in the community through a series of collaborative events, arts education and advocacy. He is dedicated to preserving hip-hop culture: a culture that unites all races, creeds, religions and affiliations.



Isabel Shanahan and Brooklyn Acts are awarded a $3,000 grant to collaborate with Brooklyn youth and produce an original theatre production. The organization is comprised of several directors, playwrights and actors and will work with teenagers in North Brooklyn communities to produce a sequel to their early-2016 theatre piece. Brooklyn Acts seeks to foster youth empowerment and community development through theater workshops and performance.



Char Johnson and Bushwick Gardens are awarded a $5,000 grant in order to supply Bushwick residents with the tools and knowledge needed to start micro-gardens. The diverse Bushwick Gardens Team will teach community members to plant, cultivate & harvest and aims to bridge the economic, generational and cultural gaps through art and environmental appreciation.