MISSION | VISION | VALUES
STooPS connects our neighborhood with a big ol' block party, classes, and opportunities for artistic expression in unconventional spaces.
To make art accessible while valuing creators and honoring the local.
Make Art Accessible
We recognize art as a cultural asset and are committed to making it available to anyone who is interested. We know that art can inspire, and we support creative visions that are transformative for everyone who participates.
We recognize that without artists there would be no art, and we honor both the product and the creator. We also honor organizers and business owners who support community development. We believe in fair compensation rooted in a communally-determined value system, and we are committed to paying all creators in a way that meets their needs and expectations. Exposure is not sufficient compensation.
Honor the Local
We want artists to be able to create where they live. We believe in artists’ ability to activate a space, inspire new ideas, and expand the creative culture of a community when they are able to create and share their work locally. We recognize that every community has creators, spaces, organizations, influential people, and resources. We know sharing these resources fosters strong connections rooted in community relationships and artistic collaboration. We also honor the diverse communication styles within our home community and lead by example, treating others with respect and generosity.
Creative Growth & Development
We challenge everyone around us to activate their civic responsibility by making decisions that sustainably benefit our entire community. This holistic thinking creates opportunities for collective resource development which enlivens artists, businesses, homeowners, and neighbors.
We value relationship-building and creative thinking as pathways to invigorating a neighborhood. We facilitate spaces for community-minded creative experimentation that encompasses both conventional and innovative artistic genres. We seek out socially relevant artistic exploration that taps into community needs. We provide a platform for art that aims to engage and challenge an audience. These spaces catalyze unique, vision-fulfilling engagements between artists and their audiences.
Over the past 3–5 years, changes in demographics and economics have evolved the fabric of Bed-Stuy. As the home of one of the first community centers, Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Plaza, Bed-Stuy has historically had a unique identity and strong sense of community.
As new residents move into the community, gentrification is a large concern for those who have a family history and long term investment in this neighborhood. A balancing act has occurred between embracing change while still maintaining the energy and traditions of Bed-Stuy.
STooPS builds on the unmistakable Bed-Stuy identity and bridges the gap between Bed-Stuy “then” and “now.” As any neighborhood evolves, it takes the effort of many to maintain and increase the cohesion of the community.
STooPS is a tangible way to unite artists, new residents, businesses, and those deeply invested in the neighborhood such as homeowners and community organizations.
STooPS is an opportunity for members of the neighborhood to discover and share resources that exist within Bed-Stuy. This awareness allows people to build partnerships and support each other, thereby fortifying the entire community.
Meet Our Founder
Kendra J. Ross (Founder/Director) is a professional dancer, choreographer, teaching artist, pilates instructor and community organizer from Detroit, MI who now lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant. She is facilitator for Urban Bush Women's Builders, Organizers, and Leaders through Dance (B.O.L.D.) network where she co-teaches dance workshops, has been staff for their annual Summer Leadership Institute and co-facilitates community engagement workshops. As an arts administrator, Kendra has worked as the Director of Programing and Artist Development at Cumbe: Center for African and Diaspora Dance.
As a performer, Kendra has traveled the world dancing for Urban Bush Women, DJ Kid Koala, MBDance, Andrea E. Woods, and many more. Learn more at thekendrajross.com.
Kendra moved to BedStuy at the height of the nationwide conversations concerning gentrification. As a new resident, she was immediately concerned on how she could get to know her new neighborhood and make a positive impact so as not to be just another gentrifier. She wanted to create a way to connect more established entities like homeowners and business owners to other newer residents and artists like herself. So she decided to use what she knew best- art- and place that on stoops, traditional spaces of gathering in BedStuy accessible to everyone. Thus STooPS was born.
STooPS is Kendra’s creative brain child and she is thankful for all those who have stepped up to help this child grow!!
Meet our Team
Tareya Eason (Producing Assistant) has been a STooPS volunteer since its beginning and is excited to have more of an impact on STooPS' success.
A recent graduate of Georgia State University in Exercise Science, Tareya has worked for the US National Guard giving fitness workshops to youths as well as private fitness and nutritional consulting. Tareya also works through Primerica as a licensed insurance and investment representative. She strives to educate the community on two major aspects of life that influence everything else: fitness and finances.