Home in the Time of Brooklyn

Brooklyn artists—we welcome you to our inquiry driven, intentionally designed community think-tank beginning this October: Home in the Time of Brooklyn!

Facilitated by 651 ARTS, in partnership with Okwui Okpokwasili and Maria Bauman, and centering on the voices of artists ages 25-40, this think-tank will build on the discoveries of our 2014-2015 think-tank Love in the Time of Brooklyn, and interrogate the question: How do we collectively cultivate a home for Brooklyn-made artists of African descent?

As a cultural mecca, Brooklyn is an ever evolving city, and so are our artistic practices and the communities that support our work. Using this as a framework, we will come together during the think-tank to examine how to collectively nurture our needs and desires for an artistic haven in Brooklyn.

From October to May, Brooklyn-based artists of African descent will join us for four bi-monthly Home in the Time of Brooklyn think-tank gatherings that will culminate in a Festival of Ideas in May 2017, to which we will invite the broader Brooklyn cultural community.  This public engagement will be self-determined by workshop participants based on the goals, reflections and strategies generated by the group.

We ask that participants commit to attending all four think-tank sessions and participating in the Festival of Ideas. We also invite participants to join us for three community connection events curated by local organizations to support the deepening of our roots in the Brooklyn cultural community.  Over the course of this process, we will share our creative work with one another and the broader 651 ARTS community during our think-tank sessions and through various online channels. We will also discuss additional resource sharing opportunities to compensate participants for their contribution to this process.

Schedule of Events


Dates are subject to change. Confirmed participants will be notified of the final schedule, including locations during the October 19 Think-Tank Session. All locations will be in Brooklyn.

  • Think-Tank Session 1: Wednesday, October 19, 2016 | 6:00-8:30pm Actor’s Fund Art Center, 160 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
  • Community Connection (optional): November 2016
  • Think-Tank Session 2: Saturday, December 17 | 1:00-3:00pm - BRIC, 647 Fulton St, Brooklyn, NY 11217
  • Community Connection (optional): January 2017
  • Think-Tank Session 3: Sunday, February 26, 2017 | 1:00-3:00pm - South Oxford Space, The Great Room, 138 S Oxford St, Brooklyn, NY 11217
  • Community Connection (optional): March 2017
  • Think-Tank Session 4: Saturday, April 15, 2017 | 1:00-3:00pm
  • Festival of Ideas: Saturday, May 6, 2017 | 1:00-3:00pm - JACK, 505 1/2 Waverly Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11238


About the Facilitators: Okwui Okpokwasili

Okwui Okpokwasili is a New York-based writer, performer and choreographer. In partnership with collaborator Peter Born, Okpokwasili creates multidisciplinary projects. Their first New York production, Pent-Up: A Revenge Dance premiered at Performance Space 122 and received a 2010 New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award for Outstanding Production; an immersive installation version was featured in the 2008 Prelude Festival. Their second collaboration, Bronx Gothic, won a 2014 New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award for Outstanding Production and continues to tour nationally and internationally. In June of 2014, they presented an installation entitled Bronx Gothic: The Oval as part of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s River to River Festival.  Their current project in development is Poor People’s TV Room, an early iteration of which was presented by Lincoln Center in the David Rubinstein Atrium in June 2014.

As a performer, Okpokwasili frequently collaborates with award-winning director Ralph Lemon, including How Can You Stay in the House All Day and Not Go Anywhere?; Come home Charley Patton (for which she also won a New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award) and, most recently, Scaffold Room. She has appeared as an actor in many productions, including Nora Chipaumire’s Miriam; Julie Taymor’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Kristin Marting’s Sounding; Young Jean Lee’s LEAR; Richard Foreman’s Maria del Bosco; Richard Maxwell’s Cowboys and Indians; and Joan Dark (The Goodman Theater/The Linz European Capital of Culture). Film credits include Malorie’s Final Score, Knut Åsdam’s Abyss, The Interpreter, The Hoax and I Am Legend.

Okpokwasili‘s residencies and awards include The French American Cultural Exchange (2006-2007); Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography Choreographic Fellowship (2012); Baryshnikov Arts Center Artist-in-Residence (2013), New York Live Arts Studio Series (2013); Under Construction at the Park Avenue Armory (2013); New York Foundation for the Arts’ Fellowship in Choreography (2013); Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Extended Life Program (2014-15); The Foundation for Contemporary Arts’ artist grant in dance (2014), BRIClab (2015), Columbia University (2015) and the Rauschenberg Residency (2015).

Maria Bauman

Maria Bauman is a dance artist and community organizer. Her choreography for her company MBDance is based on her sense of physical and emotional power, desire for equity, and fascination with intimacy. Bauman brings the same tenets to organizing to undo racism in the arts and beyond with ACRE (Artists Co-creating Real Equity), the body she co-founded with Sarita Covington and Nathan Trice. Her MBDance work has been showcased across the country and in Singapore. She was Associate Artistic Director of Urban Bush Women and danced with that company for many years, and has also danced with Paloma McGregor, jillsigman/thinkdance, Nia Love and many others. Currently Bauman is creating a new work titled dying and dying and dying. For more information go here.

Bauman is also an active facilitator and teacher, planning and implementing arts-based community engagement projects around the country. Based on extensive training in areas including Brain-Compatible Dance Education and Intentional Dialogue Facilitation, she has created curricula for use in NYC transition high schools, with people on parole in Brooklyn, for adult dancers seeking to build community across difference in Memphis, and with college students in Henan, China.

What's New?

6-5-1: Okwui Okpokwasili and Maria Bauman

6-5-1: An interview with Home in the Time of Brooklyn facilitators Okwui Okpokwasili and Maria Bauman.

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