Community Lab: Brooklyn Community Arts and Media High School

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Civilians Actor Joaquin Torres
Photo: Adrian Kinloch

Brooklyn at Eye Level includes a number of Community Labs connecting artists with local youth groups.  Last week author Carl Hancock Rux lead a workshop with students at the Hip-Hop Theater Festival’s affiliate school Brooklyn Community Arts and Media High School.  The workshop began with a lively discussion exploring neighborhood observations that weaved together notions of community, class, and even perspectives on vacillating trends and personal habits. The students read an essay by Rux,  Rich Man Poor Man: A History of Fort Greene, that referenced an 1858 New York Times article titled “Homes of the Poor.”  Rux writes “the Times item said the real estate boom has resulted in class conflict among a majority of the area’s longtime residents (identified as “renters or squatters”) and its new neighbors—middle to upper income homeowners (identified as out-priced Manhattanites attracted to the spatial wealth of Brooklyn and able to afford the high price of its grand scale Neo-Gothic brownstones.)”  With the background of a broad historical perspective the students wrote observations about their neighborhood and aspirations for the future of their communities.  Here is a short selection of excerpts from their work.

Come to The Performance Dec 4 -  7th to see selections of student work from our Community Labs.

My neighborhood is not that bad.  It’s like a bunch of brownstones with three apartment buildings close to the end of [Brooklyn] Ave.  The houses vary in color from the brightest being white, and the darkest being brown.  In my neighborhood it was all black people except for one white guy, but no one ever sees him.  And now there is like two full houses of white families.  And the people that used to live there moved down South to take care of their family.  I don’t think I can really  describe her because i have never seen her before, but the one time I did see her she was talking on the phone to one of her friends and she was laughing. . . if there was one thing that I would say and come true is to be more unified. we should come together and do things as a community, and block parties are not enough.  It should be a 365 thing.

- By Shakira A Bynoe

My neighborhood looks like any other neighborhood would.  There’s alot of people that are just like anyone, that i can guarantee. Something that has changed was the people.  They have aged and become less of who they were before.  We haven’t had any block parties and I dont think we will be.

- By Terrence W.

The things that changed was the people living around me. The people in the brownstone move in and out like the way the water flow. They build more things where you can spend money you don’t have.

They see me living good but still another nigga. They see me as the person who’s not trying to make things good but bad. They see me as a taker and not a giver.

- By Malcolm A Salley

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