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2016 STooP Artists - STooPS BedStuy

2016 STooP Artists

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Click on the name of each artist for more information about the 2016 STooP Artists and their work . . .


Angie Pittman is a dance artist, educator, and choreographer. Angie has had the pleasure of dancing in work by Ralph Lemon, Jennifer Lacey, Tere O’Connor, Jennifer Monson, C. Kemal Nance, Johanna S. Meyer, Rachel Thorne Germond and others. She holds a MFA in Dance and Choreography from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a graduate minor in African American Studies and a BA in Dance from Old Dominion University. She was a 2015 DanceWEB scholarship recipient for ImPulsTanz Dance Festival in Vienna, Austria and is currently a 2016 Artist-in-Residence with Movement Research. Angie most recently presented her own solo work, Ballads, at The BlakTinX Performance Series at BAAD!, Movement Research at Judson Church, and is now thrilled to share this work with STooPS. Angie’s work resides in a space that investigates how her body moves through ballad, groove, sparkle, spirit, spirituals, ancestry, vulnerability, and power.

Ballads is solo where I use my body as a site to reconcile different imposed hierarchies in my movement vocabulary. The source material for this dance uses all of my movement experiences (postmodern dance, contact improvisation, liturgical dancing, Soul/R&B Line dancing) non-hierarchically as a way to live in a space that is realizing itself outside of the purview white centrism. Ballads is a structured experimental improvisation that uses repetition reminiscent of church “shouting” and Soul/R&B Line Dances as a way to access the transformation that happens in those spaces. I am interested in engaging in a community dialogue about the dance, and/or teaching and doing a line dance together.

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Brooklyn-based vocalist and songwriter Brenda Rudzinski is a mixologist of sound. Her songs combine the story-telling tradition of American folk music with infectious pop rhythms and soulful jazz harmonies. Her most recent song, “Intellectual Lover” debuted by Sony Japan, shared a spot on Billboard’s no. 1 album “Spooky Hotel” by Senri Oe. Brenda is a resident of Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, NY and is currently writing music for a debut album set for Fall 2016, as well as tunes for film and television.

I will share my original music with the community and organize a group of musicians from the community to play with me. Along with professional musicians in the community, I would like to include my young neighbor, (and potentially some other young artists in the neighborhood) Elijah McCoy in the entertainment. He will offer artwork for the stoop, and is learning the guitar so will join in on the music as well.

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The Brooklyn Music School is a community school for the performing arts, founded in 1912 as the Brooklyn Music School Settlement. The school was founded by immigrants for whom the performance and appreciation of music was an essential part of life, and who wished to bring high quality music and performance to a broader audience of new Americans. BMS has stayed true to its heritage of building communities through the joy and appreciation of music.
Brooklyn Music School was established as an arm of the New York Music School Settlement in 1909 and was granted a separate charter from the State University of New York in 1912. It owns and operates a historic four-story landmark building in Fort Greene neighborhood that contains twenty-six classrooms, three dance studios, and a professional 266-seat Spanish-style theatre. The Brooklyn Music School is a long-standing member of the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts.

The Brooklyn Music School is over 100 years old and has been providing music education to students of all ages. Community and making music education accessible to everyone is at the core of our mission. We will feature some of our students in performances ranging from jazz, classical, choir, rock and hip hop. The Brooklyn Music School also conducts demonstration classes were in which participants can have guided exploration on many different types of musical instruments such as guitars, keyboards and percussion. 

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Christine Stoddard is a writer and artist who lives in Ocean Hill. Her work has appeared in Cosmopolitan, the New York Transit Museum, The Huffington Post, Bustle, the Poe Museum, the Condé Nast Building, the Brooklyn Quarterly, and beyond. In 2014, Folio Magazine named her one of the top 20 media visionaries in their 20s for founding Quail Bell Magazine.

I will create a live collage using tissue paper and found objects. Audience members, including small children, may stop by to add to it.

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The Dwana Smallwood Performing Arts Center aims to use the arts, primarily dance, as a means to empower youth within New York’s inner city communities. We endeavor to mold elite dancers and artists who will be able to develop, grow and compete on the world’s stage. The center will be a springboard for creating community identity and encouraging creative activity in neglected inner city areas.
The Dwana Smallwood Performing Arts Center’s mission is to use dance as a platform to encourage, inspire, and facilitate the aspirations of young people by engendering within them discipline, pride, determination, humility, respect and an appreciation for the arts. We endeavor to plant seeds of possibility where previously growth and development has been perceived an impossibility.

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Emily Roff is a Brooklyn, NY based artist with roots in Houston, TX. Primarily an oil painter, her practice focuses on portraiture and the intersections between identity, perception, distortion, and control (or the lack thereof). She balances painting with teaching art classes and working as an artist assistant.

I will provide paper cut into a template, tape, pens, and a mirror so that participants can (with help) make a self-portrait mask. The materials and rapid assembly of the mask will cause it to inherently distort and make the portrait exaggerated, while the uniformity of construction materials will lend a sense of continuity between them. So, while each mask will be based on a unique person and have their special touch, in the end the masks will all share a similar quality, bound together the same way the neighborhood of Bed-Stuy binds together such a wonderfully diverse population. In the end, the masks will be displayed clustered together, demonstrating a rich tapestry of faces of the neighborhood. The more people participate, the more successful the project will be!

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Although born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Felicia A. Henry has strong ties to her Caribbean roots. Felicia has always had a commanding presence; whether the stage is at home or abroad, she is graced to compel people to listen to her, and she uses it to her advantage. Felicia’s platform is poetry, and her skill is evolving with every stroke of the pen. She thrives behind the mic, and captivates her audience with the intensity of her lyrics while maintaining a mild demeanor. Felicia speaks for those who can’t speak to those who can’t help but to listen.

Behind the Walls, Between the Lines: #aminext? is a collaborative poetry exhibition drawing attention to the frequency of black injustice, specifically death, in America. The theme of the project highlights the fear of the black community, expressed through the means of social media, of being the next name behind a hashtag. The goal of this project is threefold: the first, to bring attention to that fear; second, to allow those of that community to have a platform to express their fear; and last, to move members of and outside the community to fight against the injustice, so that the fear is reduced, and ultimately eliminated.

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abcff fulton arts foundation logo wo 40

The Anderson & Bert Cade Fulton Foundation, also known as the Fulton Arts Foundation is a Non-Profit Organization founded by playwright Andrea J. Fulton. Its primary goals are developing, supporting and showcasing the performing arts interests and talents of adults.  While we work with individuals of all ages, those over the age of 40 are often most committed, motivated and appreciative of the kind of nurturing and guidance we provide.  We recognize and empathize with the fact that they have often put their dreams and creative aspirations on hold while allowing others to take center stage in their lives as they raise children, focus on cultivating marriages and careers.
Once these things become more manageable, people have more time to meet their own needs and often set out to do this with vigor. We are there for those whose time has come and who are ready to learn various aspects of the performing arts industry.  Such disciplines include acting, dance, singing, comedy, spoken word, stage management, direction, lighting, sound, set design, hair, make-up, costume design, prop mastery and more. Join our mailing list or our organization.  Come see our shows, teach our members, apply for paid scholarships or intern with us.

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Ish raps, writes, and makes things. A multi-disciplined artist from Brooklyn, New York, Ish combines music, creative writing, and visual design to create engaging experiences for audiences. The development of these crafts have led him to put on a concert with the Brooklyn Philharmonic, perform in cities such as Los Angeles, California and Johannesburg, South Africa, and serve as the 2012 NYC Youth Poet Laureate. Ish also published a book of poems that year entitled, Meet at Greene. After taking time to renew his sense of craftsmanship, Ish’s next major endeavors are the completion of a new EP, and his first full length album of music. The aisles EP releases this fall, and the album, entitled Store Run, releases in 2017.

I invite attendees of this year’s festival to create music with me, live from the stoop! My setup will allow us to build beats and instrumentals on the spot. Each set becomes a jam session as the audience contributes lyrics, vocals, percussion, and other sounds to the songs we write.

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Jen Roit

Proud of her West Coast origins, Jen Roit received a BFA at NYU Tisch, working with Karole Armitage, Bill Young, and Dwight Rhoden. She continued a diverse career with Jennifer Archibald, Nathan Trice, Daniel Holt, Mark Dendy, Randy James, Transcendance Group, and the Park Avenue Armory. She received mentorship from Camille Brown and Jennifer Edwards through the Breaking Glass Project and Stephen Petronio through NYU’s Alumni Choreographic Workshop. She has produced work for BalaSole Dance Company, MaD Circle Dance, Moving Beauty Series, Amalgamate Artist Series, Equilibrium Danceworks, WAXworks, and has been presented at HATCH, Spoke the Hub, RAW Artists, Dixon place, The Actor’s Fund, Ailey Citigroup Theater, Triskelion, and Ticino in Danza (Switzerland). She currently serves on the Artist Committee for NACHMO and initiated a film project last year to give choreographers not in production cities a chance to participate in NACHMO via dance on film. She has choreographed for short films and music videos, including “You and I and You” presented at the Outlet Dance Project’s International Film Festival, Dance Film Day in Portland, OR, and for Triskelion’s Dance Film Festival.

Tropes is a humorous dance piece playing with the public vs. private nature of everyday commutes. The work is built for both stage and outdoor spaces, allowing a flexible performance and an interesting point of view no matter where an audience member is standing or sitting. A modern day variation on a theme, Dancers play with characters we’ve all encountered as subway announcements interrupt the musical soundtrack. The work contains subject matter we’ve seen before, costumes we’ve seen before, movement we’ve seen before, but with a wink and a nod, ending with an aerobic final number that encourages audience members to get moving.

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Kiarra Elliott is an eco-conscious visual artist creating unique pieces of artwork that both inspires others and captures the elegant moments in life. She does this with her vibrant oil paintings on recycled wood chip panels, which she combines her images with animal counterparts combining the human and animal form. As well as the soft embrace with her chalk/charcoal drawings combined with natures floral delight. Both of her art styles combine to make up a ying and yang of who she is as a artist with a interesting twist. She likes to challenge the idea of what is realistic and what is imaginary.

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Nicholas Powers is professor of literature, reporter, poet and author of The Ground Below Zero: 9/11 to Burning Man, New Orleans to Darfur, Haiti to Occupy Wall Street.

Making Poetry Together!
Each workshop will start off with reading a short poem about New York and Brooklyn in particular. Attendees will be asked about their relationship to poetry. Next we will go over different genres of poetry. Handing out small pads and pens, I will guide them to writing their own poems. In the end, we will share our poems.

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Named after one of the late Noel Pointer’s biggest jazz hits, the Phantazia String Players consist of Noel Pointer Foundation’s most advanced violin, viola, bass and cello students. To be accepted into the Phantazia String Players, students are recommended by their music instructors and go through a rigorous audition process. Many of the players began their studies at NPF and continue to excel both academically and personally because of their participation in the ensemble.

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Musician Noni Rene, originally from Philadelphia, now resides in Queens, New York. She has lended her sound to artists by providing vocal and/or guitar accompaniment. She released her debut EP “Coming To Paz” in June 2014, and is currently working to release her next project. Her single, “Good Vibes” was released summer 2015. Noni has performed at Lincoln Center, the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the ODUNDE Festival in Philadelphia, where she opened for Hip Hop legends Big Daddy Kane (2013) and Rakim (2014). Since 2013 she has performed at the STooPS Festival in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York. In 2014, she was the viewer’s choice to open for the culminating performers, Tamar Kali and jessica Care moore. In 2015 and 2016, Noni was voted into the AfroPunk Battle of the Bands, and performed as a semi-finalist. To learn more, check out

This year I plan to have my band, The Village, play with me! We’ll transform the stoop, and jam with original music and some rounds of “Name That Tune”! I’m excited to bring “The Village” to Bed Stuy! STooPS participants should expect to dance, sing, clap and share “Good Vibes”!

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Founder and Director Ola Akinmowo (aka The Black radical Librarian) brings you art, music, performance, readings, thematic conversation and books galore via The Free Black Women’s Library an interactive mobile library that features a vast collection of 450 books written by Black women. The mission of this project is to center and celebrate the diversity, creativity, intelligence and resilience of Black women worldwide. All are welcome to donate or trade books written by Black women with the library, and every genre is welcome.

In The Free Black Women’s Library, all are welcome to donate or trade books of ever genre written by Black women with the library. The library features performance, readings, soundscapes and exploratory conversation that centers the lives and stories of Black women and girls. The purpose of this project is to celebrate, honor and explore the diversity, brilliance, resilience and creativity of Black women.

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DEO Quilt Stars

Paul DEO is a visionary artist whose fine art, murals, films, installations, technology, performances, and texts address indigenous culture, and cosmological connection and expression.
PBS (2014) completed its miniseries Many Rivers to Cross about 500 years of Blacks in America in front of his innovative mural in Harlem. His paintings of heroic icons are in collections around the world. He has commissions from the NBA, FootLocker, Levi’s, State Parks of New York, Brooklyn Arts Council, Converse, and many more for his creative visual art.
From New Orleans and Brooklyn, B.S. in Computer Science, and the first person of color in the film union in New Orleans IATSE chapter.
Paul and his family evacuated to NYC during Hurricane Katrina.
Deo teaches incarcerated teens, refugee orphans, and at risk youth.
“Trust Your Subconscious Mind” is a slogan often used by Deo in explaining his perspective on life and art.

Paul DEO will showcase and discuss his collection of paintings and murals.

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A native of Detroit, MI, Rakia Seaborn, graduated from Oberlin College in 2007, earning a Bachelors of Art in Dance with a concentration in Choreography. In 2014, she earned an MFA in Dance from Sarah Lawrence College. Seaborn has worked with Dianne McIntyre, Rashaun Mitchell, Jodi Melnick, Martha Bowers, Michael Cross Burke, Tyler Ashley and PMMDC. Her choreographic work has appeared at Dixon Place, La Mama etc., The Tank, The St. Lawrence Arts Center, The Bessie Schönberg Dance Theatre, Warner Hall, JACK Arts and Brooklyn Studios for Dance. Seaborn is the Guest-Artist-In-Residence at Trinity/La Mama. She makes dances about women through a literary lens, to rewrite history, redefine the present and offer images of a more just future.

In Or, An Oral History: Chapter One: The Mixtape, Seaborn & photographer Ethan Baldwin create a piece in realtime in collaboration with the audience. With a movement vocabulary condensed from a years worth of research, we move and the audience is invited to respond sonically, changing the music as they see fit. With each run of the piece, we create a one-of-a-kind work of art, 100% unique and ephemeral.

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Shamilia McBean is a jazz and Caribbean folk vocalist, herbalist & applied theatre practitioner using her mediums to co­create loving, liberatory community spaces. She supports educators and community workers with drama & storytelling to develop engaging, holistic practices in their fields. Shamilia has shared work at University of Rwanda College of Education, Brooklyn Museum, Apollo Theater, Allied Media Conference, #BlackLivesMatter National Leadership Retreat, and the Movement for Black Lives National Convening. Shamilia sings with BRAATA, a Jamaican folk music ensemble and is part of Harriet’s Apothecary, an intergenerational collective of Black healers making seasonal community offerings. Shamilia is an alum of Urban Bush Women’s Summer Leadership Institute (2014), received the National Association of Black Storytellers’ Cowtail Switch Award (2015) & is a 2016 Laundromat Project Create Change Fellow.

Shawn Fitzgerald is a community organizer and vocalist based in Bedford Stuyvesant. Shawn explores and channels sounds ranging from straight ahead jazz to world music including Brazilian samba, bossa nova, and diasporic spirituals. Shawn is the former vocalist for Ajoyo, a world music band influenced by indigenous sounds, language, and jazz grooves from West and North Africa performing in venues such as the United Nations for the International Francophonie Day celebration, the French Embassy, Nublu, and the Shrine. Shawn is also the vocalist for the Rivas Ramsay Collective, a straight ahead jazz quintet performing throughout New York City.

We will activate a STooP that welcomes participants into a rhythmic, co-created, chronology of the current that has moved Black folks into, through and around Bedford-Stuyvesant. Through melody, call & response, storytelling and reflection, we will sing and chant our ways through the memory of migrations – forced and chosen – that undergird the spirit of Bed-Stuy. This communal experience will navigate Orisa music, Negro Spirituals, Jazz and Caribbean Folk music and the spaces between – to narrate the historical movement and creative rituals of People of Color in Bed-Stuy. Along the way, we hope to challenge participants to engage with both historical and current movements to arrive at a space of sung, spoken or written reflection on movement in this mecca of Afro-Culture.

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Ziedah Diata creates participatory artwork and traditional pieces that draw the public into creative and challenging conversations, primarily on issues of social justice and matters of spirit/self-reflection. Her participatory “Call and Response” pieces invite ordinary people—who would not call themselves “artists”—to dig deep for personal and political answers, and make their marks directly on the artwork. This creative process is meant to be a living collaboration between the artist-instigator and community co-creators. Ziedah has taught this craft to teenage girls in an alternative to incarceration program, and engaged communities at the Blue Note, the Vagina Monologues Art Exhibition, and the Modern Day Griot Theater Company. Ziedah lives in Bed Stuy and is part of A New Black Arts Movement, Bridges: A Pan Afrikan Arts Movement, and the International Women Artists’ Salon.

Wéma Harris is a Brooklyn based performing artist, educator and activist. She has worked with young people, bridging culture and community for over a decade. A deep love for the arts has brought her talents to communities around the United States as well as abroad, creating interactive arts experiences. Wéma is the founder of Bridges: A Pan-Afrikan Arts movement, a global arts initiative bringing opportunities for international arts exchange, community advocacy, and global partnerships. In 2015, Bridges hosted families from New York to travel to South Africa to connect and collaborate with local artists in South Africa. Later that year, the cultural exchange was reciprocated with a South African Freedom Day celebration in Brooklyn. She continues developing new work in the arts for community and social justice.

Bridging performance and participatory visual art, Wéma Harris and Ziedah Diata use their combined creative prowess to engage the community in conversation about identity and journey.
Exploring the theme “boundaries,” this collaborative piece will provoke an examination of the self through an exploration of Black girlhood, Black womanhood and Black motherhood. While the performance piece investigates existence beyond limited notions of self, the participatory art invites and enables the community to view and express itself; defining and re-defining what it means to live within and travel across boundaries. Have you ever felt boxed in? Have you been limited by socioeconomic systems, by stereotypes; as women, men, teens, elders, community members, as humans?

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Yasmin Mistry is an Emmy-nominated animator and filmmaker. Her work has been displayed worldwide including recent showings at the White House and United Nations as well as at film festivals such as Cannes, SXSW, Tribeca and Clermont-Ferrand. She is the recipient of the Puffin Foundation’s 2013 film grant, the Brooklyn Arts Council’s 2014, 2015 and 2016 film grants, and a finalist for the Real Ideas Studio Micro-grant. Her first live-action film, Feeling Wanted was an official selection of more than 15 film festivals. The film won 9 awards and was nominated for Best Short Film of 2015 by Adoption At The Movies.
When not working as an artist, Yasmin dedicates her time to the foster youth of New York City. As a Court Appointed Special Advocate, she received the 2012 Advocate of The Year Award for her dedication to getting services for foster care children with special needs.

When a young girl and her brother are denied stability as children they seek out structure as they grow into adulthood. While one converts to Islam the other joins the military and deploys to Afghanistan. The 10 minute animated documentary film, My Identity, looks at how race, religion, and family heritage mold a person and their relationships.
We will show this film at STooPS because BedStuy is a neighborhood that has historically had a lot of kids in foster care, much like the subject of our film, Ashley. It is also a neighborhood in transition, with shifting demographics and a currently high population of African Muslims.
By showing the film, and starting a dialogue, we hope to entertain the community while dismantling stereotypes and educating viewers. In between screenings we’ll be available to discuss ways to help local foster youth and create positive change in your community.

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