Year in Review | Projects and Organizations that Impacted Our Communities in 2017

Year in Review | Projects and Organizations that Impacted Our Communities in 2017

Year-End Highlights from NYFA Fiscally Sponsored Projects and Organizations.

It’s been an energetic and productive year, and NYFA Fiscal Sponsorship is celebrating all of our artists who galvanized their passions into creating arts projects and organizations that spark meaningful conversations. From LGBTQ issues, cultural heritage, and social justice, our artists promote diversity and empowerment and demonstrate how the arts community can dynamically bring important issues to life.

NYFA Fiscal Sponsorship is proud to be an ally for these projects, helping them with fundraising and bringing their art a step closer to their targeted communities. Here are just a few highlights from this past year:

Black Velvet – Architectures and Archetypes, Shamel Pitts and Mirelle Martin (Sponsored Project)

Shamel Pitts and Mirelle Martin’s Black Velvet is an original multi-disciplinary performance piece that challenges what it means to be black, reflecting on the “colorfulness of blackness” in a relationship of love, compassion, and camaraderie. The collaboration between Pitts and Martin first began in 2014 after they met at a Gaga/dancers Summer Intensive Course in 2013. Noting their similar artistic sensibilities, they conceived of Black Velvet, which is now performing internationally and receiving press attention from Milk and The Hollywood Times. The work premiered in Sao Paulo, Brazil in November 2016, and has made stops in throughout the world including Stockholm, Sweden, and Tel Aviv, Israel. In January 2018, they will perform four shows at 14 Street Y in New York, New York.


Defining Hope, Carolyn Jones (Sponsored Project)

Award-winning photographer and filmmaker Carolyn Jones’s new documentary film Defining Hope shares poignant narratives of difficult end-of-life choices from patients facing life-threatening illnesses. The Hollywood Reporter called the film a “clear-eyed and compassionate conversation starter” as the film prompts important questions on what matters most in life and reminds us that we have choices in how we die. This fall, the film was recognized as Best Premiere for Documentary Feature at the Heartland Film Festival. On November 1,2017 the team mobilized communities across the U.S. with numerous sold-out screenings to celebrate National Hospice and Palliative Care Month. With a generous partnership with Walden University, an accredited provider of continuing nursing education, nurses receive 1.25 contact hours for watching the film. The film continues to screen in select locations, so find a screening near you. Learn more about the film in this interview with Carolyn Jones.


INSITU Site-Specific Dance Festival, Svea Schneider (Sponsored Project)

2017 was the inaugural year for dancer and choreographer Svea Schneider’s INSITU Site-Specific Dance Festival. The festival activated the Long Island City, NY waterfront in a weekend-long community-driven event filled with 70 visually-stunning, site-specific contemporary and urban dance performances. Free to the public, the event attracted 7,500 attendees and was listed as one of The New York Times’ “24 Outdoor Performances to See this Summer In and Around New York.” To promote community engagement and celebrate inclusivity despite gentrification in Long Island City, the festival was also preceded by a free three-month community workshop for residents of all ages and backgrounds. For her work in establishing the festival, Schneider was awarded the TimesLedger Queens Ambassador Award. More about INSITU Site-Specific Dance Festival on the blog.


CaribBEING, Shelley Worrell (Sponsored Organization)

Founded by Shelley Worrell, CaribBEING is a thriving organization based in Brooklyn, NY. CaribBEING is dedicated to celebrating Caribbean heritage through film, art, and culture. Since 2012, CaribBEING has produced 200 curated events for over 100,000 visitors. This year, for the 50th anniversary of the West Indian Day Parade, CaribBEING took residence at the Brooklyn Museum with the installation, “Life of Basquiat,” featuring photographs of Jean-Michel Basquiat by Alexis Adler. In September 2017, the organization and local partners spearheaded the new ‘Little Caribbean’ designation for the Flatbush neighborhood, christening the area as a cultural hub and making Caribbean culture more visible. For her initiatives with CaribBEING and the Caribbean community in Brooklyn, Worrell was included as one of BKMag’s 100 Most Influential People in Brooklyn Culture for 2017 and was featured in The New York Times’ “Sunday Routine” column.


Što te Nema, Aida Sehovic (Sponsored Project)

Contemporary artist Aida Šehović, in collaboration with the Bosnian diaspora community in Chicago, brought the 12th annual Što te Nema to Daley Plaza on July 11, 2017.  Što te Nema is a nomadic monument meant to commemorate and remember the 8,372 victims of the Srebrenica genocide. It is made with donated fildžani, or small porcelain cups, that are filled with Bosnian coffee. On the day of the performance, passersby collectively assembled and disassembled the monument, which each cup roughly corresponding to the growing number of remains found, identified and buried. The monument creates an inclusive and unified space to confront issues surrounding genocide. Što te Nema has traveled to 12 different U.S. European cities since 2006.


Girl on Girl, Jodi Savitz (Sponsored Project)

Jodi Savitz’s first feature-length documentary film Girl on Girl evolved out of her own personal struggle with ‘femme invisibility’ and feelings of constantly having to ‘come out.’ Girl on Girl weaves through the lives of LGBTQ women and couples who face the emotional consequences of ‘femme invisibility,’ feel stigmatized, and challenge assumptions of what a lesbian should look like. The film was selected for numerous film festivals including St. Louis International Film Festival and MiFo LGBT Film Festival, and was highlighted by Vimeo as a ‘film worth seeing.’ Savitz’s social media initiative has also made waves in the Facebook community with 475,000 followers. Read more about the project here and watch Girl on Girl on Vimeo.

NYFA Fiscal Sponsorship’s next quarterly no-fee application deadlines are December 31, June 30, and September 30, with out-of-cycle reviews accepted year-round and you can learn more about NYFA’s Fiscal Sponsorship program here

– Priscilla Son, Program Assistant, Fiscal Sponsorship & Finance

Image Credits: Group Photo, Photo Credit: Prin Rodriquez, Courtesy of Svea Schneider; Black Velvet, Alex Apt; Film Still from Defining Hope, Jaka Vinšek; INSITU Site-Specific Dance Festival, Courtesy of Svea Schneider; CaribBEING, Kolin Mendez Photography; Što te Nema, Photo Credit: Manka Rabiye, Courtesy of Aida Šehović; Film Still from Girl on Girl, Courtesy of Jodi Savitz

Amy Aronoff
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