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AENY celebrates anniversary

SHANICE LEWIS | 5/4/2017, 12:10 p.m.
A day of fun-filled activities for youth and adults is on the agenda for the one-year anniversary celebration of the ...
ARTs East New York opening Contributed

A day of fun-filled activities for youth and adults is on the agenda for the one-year anniversary celebration of the ARTs East New York community arts center.

Saturday, May 6, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. AENY will host a series of events, including art exhibitions, fashion and jewelry design as well as music and dance performances. The celebration will highlight the impact the center has had on the residents of the community since its opening a year ago.

“Over the past year we’ve experienced lots of new community partnerships and hosted over 100 neighborhood events, music and arts classes and empowerment workshops and community meetings for our constituents,” said Catherine Green, founder of AENY.

Green has been working tirelessly to ensure that the East New York community is not left behind and that residents are at the forefront of all opportunities. She spoke about the changes the community has seen since the opening of AENY and what they are doing to maintain the essence of the community.

“We have seen a change in the demographics of residents in this community since the opening as a result of rezoning, speculation and gentrification,” said Green. “We are working diligently to prevent displacement of our residents as well as offering a wide range of opportunities to our local artists and residents alike to participate in opportunities and resources that are presented to this neighborhood.”

Through the doors of AENY you will find an art gallery, dance studio and creation space that has become a pillar for artistic expression for East New York residents. Their efforts have been recognized by several local officials and community activists. AENY is heavily committed to uplifting the community, stating their “mission is rooted in the idea that enlightening a community through culture sets a sustainable pattern of development.”

“We are currently undergoing a full strategic marketing plan that will be inclusive of expanding and developing our board of directors, strengthening our overall policy, and fundraising and capacity to ensure that AENY will continue to have a dynamic impact on the East New York community,” said Green. “With these plans in place we are now set to launch an expansion of our Summer Music & Arts Camp as well as public art installations and community wide events program.”

AENY has supported local artistry in more ways than one by also serving as a steppingstone for early entrepreneurship with their [re] New Lots Market and Artsiest Incubator initiative. In April 2015 [re] New Lots Market and Artist Incubator launched by creating retail incubation services for home-grown Brooklyn-based entrepreneurs and highly affordable artist studios via the transformation of two vacant lots to house 10 re-purposed shipping containers into affordable storefronts, four shipping containers for visual art studios and two shipping containers for art exhibitions and events. This weekend’s celebration will also serve as a fundraiser for phase two of the [re] New Lots Project. AENY has seen success in previous summers with this project and hopes to launch phase two of [re] New Lots in 2018, utilizing a 20,000-square foot vacant lot in East New York.

AENY is celebrating their one-year anniversary this weekend at 534 Livonia Ave., in East New York, Brooklyn. “We can look forward to a special prayer ceremony to open the day; we are asking attendees to wear all white as we honor the work of our ancestors who opened the way for all of this to happen,” said Green.