Dream Big for 2014

You may know the story of how FABnyc was founded . . . twelve years ago arts and cultural groups on East 4th Street were at risk of being forced out, but thanks to the collective vision and action of FABnyc’s founders, the arts are here to stay.


Our roots in the neighborhood are deep, and we are working diligently to respond to today’s challenges, while helping to shape an inclusive and innovative future for this community.


“We” can’t happen without YOU! You are an integral part of our work and our home, and you keep us going from year to year. Your support provides valuable programming year-round, as well as the capacity to implement creative solutions to ongoing challenges – solutions that cut costs and provide networked support and resources to the artists who need them most.
DanceBlock_animated2As we approach the new year, we ask that you consider making a contribution to FABnyc. Your investment will help the arts and culture continue to be part of an equitable and thriving Lower East Side for years to come.
Load-OUT!-AnimatedTogether with you, we can continue to dream big for the Lower East Side in 2014 and beyond.

Thank you for sticking with us.

Donate Button



Tamara Greenfield
Executive Director, FABnyc

Photos by Whitney Browne
Top photo pictures D.C., student of East Village Dance Project in the foreground,
and Downtown Art in the background
Dance Block images pictures The Movement Party
ArtUp image detail of LNY’s “The Golden Hour” by Keith Schweitzer

Announcing “FABLES” – 2014 Public Art Project OPEN CALL / RFP

Fourth Arts Block (FABnyc) is pleased to announce “FABLES,” a public art opportunity for artists to explore the Lower East Side’s living cultural heritage, rich historical legacies, and current issues in public storytelling through visual art.

  • Four to five artists (or artist teams) will be selected through an open call process,by a panel of jurors, to produce murals located in outdoor sites throughout the Lower East Side neighborhood.
  • Project and artist selection will be based upon artistic quality, merit and appeal of content, connection to the community, feasibility of implementation, and contribution to public discourse.
  • Each selected artist will receive between $1,500 to $2,500 as a combined artist fee and production budget.
  • The first FABLES exhibition will launch in April 2014.
  • Each artwork will be exhibited for between 1 and 3 months, and will open within several weeks of each other, creating a 3-month period of sequential public exhibition launches.
Image Detail: Udom Surangsophon "Saints of the Lower East Side" with works by Tom Sanford; Curated by Keith Schweitzer & Presented by FABnyc

Image Detail: Udom Surangsophon
“Saints of the Lower East Side” with works by Tom Sanford; Curated by Keith Schweitzer & Presented by FABnyc

Applicant artists should live, work and/or have deep roots in the LES. Ideal applicants should be invested in a story collecting or investigative process that will delve deeply into the neighborhood’s legacy and/or current culture. Exhibits should contribute to community identity and sense of place, drawing on the stories of the LES and its residents. This may include memorable cultural experiences, local traditions and collaborations, vanished cultural traditions, new beginnings, or underground movements.

Artwork proposals can include: murals, collages, wheat pastes or other flat medium. In some cases, we would consider interactive new media or projections.

Applications are to be submitted by filling out the form provided at the following website.

Note: Feasibility (budgetary, logistical, and otherwise) and permitting requirements will be additional criteria by which proposals will be evaluated. Please be realistic with your proposals. Locations and details subject to change. Artists must be available to produce the exhibition on site during Spring/Summer 2014.

Submission Deadline: 12/13/2013 Extended to 1/2/14!
Finalists Announced:1/31/2014
Project Development: 2/2014-4/2014
Exhibition Period: 4/2014-07/2014

FABnyc Director:Tamara Greenfield
Public Art Director: Keith Schweitzer
Jurors: Legacy Russell, Ethan Vogt, John Bowman, Molly Garfinkel

Potential Locations:
Extra Place (East 1st St, btw Bowery & 2nd Ave)
Ideal Glass (East 2nd St, btw Bowery & 2nd Ave)
La MaMa Arcade (East 3rd St, btw Bowery & 2nd Ave)
First Street Green Park (corner of 2nd Ave & Houston St)
Centre-Fuge (East 1st St, near 1st Avenue)

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts/ Art Works. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in participation with The City Council.

More information and full Request for Proposals available here: http://fabnyc.org/images/FABLES-Request%20For%20Proposal.pdf

NEW PARTNERSHIP: LESHP and PS 126/Manhattan Academy of Technology

- Via Lower East Side History Project’s Blog -

Lower East Side History Project is proud to announce an exciting new partnership with Public School 126/Manhattan Academy of Technology, located at 80 Catherine Street in Lower Manhattan.

Eric Ferrara addresses the class - image via http://evhp.blogspot.com

Eric Ferrara addresses the class – image via http://evhp.blogspot.com

The pilot project, launched in September of 2013, attempts to bring history to life through hands-on experiences and researched based learning. The goal is to get students excited about the extensive, influential, multicultural history in their own back yard and inspire future community involvement.

Over the next several months, students will be reading, writing, discussing and learning about how the Lower East Side has evolved over the centuries, highlighting the contributions of various ethnic groups and cultures that called the district home.

Special programming includes walking tours of the neighborhood, in-class guest lecturers and interactive experiences intended to nurture a first hand understanding of our neighborhood’s rich history.

The school-year long program will culminate in May, 2014 with a gallery exhibition showcasing what the students have learned through a series of photographs and art installations created throughout the year.

The program was written by 8th grade history educators, Alfonso Guerriero and Christopher Piccigallo in collaboration with Lower East Side History Project. Both Mr. Guerriero and Mr. Piccigallo were born within blocks of PS 126, which makes this project extra special for the veteran teachers.

“We are so excited about creating a partnership with LESHP and through their support, start our pilot program that teaches 8th grade American history through the school’s Lower East Side community,” says Alfonso Guerriero. “The young historians of PS 126/Manhattan Academy of Technology are deeply invested in exploring and understanding the history of our community.”

LESHP director Eric Ferrara suggests, “This is an awesome opportunity to get kids interested in not only history but other cultures these students may encounter on a daily basis. They get to learn about our shared and individual histories which I believe helps create stronger community relationships and inspires involvement in future preservation efforts.”

Read the full article at http://evhp.blogspot.com/2013/11/leshp-and-ps-126manhattan-academy-of.html

Teatro Círculo’s Carmen Loisaida

Paquita, although a more minor character in Teatro Círculo’s remounting of Carmen Loisaida, utters perhaps the most concisely powerful line in the final moments of the show. If the entire play could only be eight words long, these would be the chosen:

“Each of us grows roots wherever we live.”

Their resonance comes not from their own philosophical profundity, necessarily, but from their clear connection to the play’s deep exploration of the notions of home and personhood.

Carmen Loisaida

Eva Cristina Vásquez’s Carmen Loisaida features an ensemble cast in an adaptive and immersive re-telling of the classic novella and operatic versions of the Carmen story. For this production, the story unfolds against the background of Latin culture and imbeds itself into the urban locale of the Lower East Side. As title character Carmen becomes entangled with José, a cop straddling the forces between his desires for Carmen’s affection and his reputation as an upholder of the law, tensions mount to a disturbingly climatic end.

The show, performed entirely in Spanish with audience on two sides, uses its own Latin and Lower East Side contexts as a dynamic way to reframe the canonical story we know into a staggering commentary on cultural and ethnic conflict, undocumented immigration, and human trafficking.

At its core, the show asks a revealing question: who has a right to the city? As Carmen negotiated her own presence amongst the friends and enemies on her Lower East Side block, documented and undocumented alike, her journey ultimately moves her to define herself as deeply as she defines the world around her. Outside of the theatre walls and the world of the play, too, people live, work, and move throughout the Lower East Side, all carrying the stories that communicate their own belonging there, regardless of whether an apartment address, legal papers, or an ID card can communicate the same.

For Teatro Círculo, the metaphors of home and belonging— a right to the city— are not lost to their own history. As this show kicks off as a re-opening of their newly renovated and expanded building on East 4th Street, Teatro Círculo has reaffirmed its own commitment to the Lower East Side as its longtime home and its promise to serve as a pillar of the arts and of Latino heritage for immeasurable time to come.

If Carmen Loisaida is any indication, the company and its new space will, more than ever, deliver sophisticated and engaging works of theatre that well reflect the neighborhood and the people they remain so clearly invested in.

Their roots are stronger than ever; this show and this space are milestones not to be missed.

Teatro Círculo’s Carmen Loisaida runs Thursdays through Sundays until November 24 at Teatro Círculo, 64 East Fourth Street, New York, NY 10003. Performed in Spanish with English supertitles available. Tickets are available here.

Load OUT! Lesson #2 from Fantasy Grandma

Halloween is tonight, and the holiday season is just around the corner. It’s a time for creativity (costumes, presents, parties!), but it’s also a time of massive consumption in our culture.

Do you know what that means? Lots, and lots, and lots of WASTE! Luckily, FABnyc had Myrtle J and Jane B of the band Fantasy Grandma explain some of the less commonly known recycling rules that will help us all cut down on the amount of waste we send to landfill….

Fantasy Grandma

Fantasy Grandma

In Load OUT! Lesson #1, we gave you some beginner recycling insights from Fantasy Grandma – but that was just the tip of the iceberg. Get the full scoop here:

If you’re curious and want to know more, come by our Load OUT! event on Nov. 2nd from 12-3PM and learn more recycling rules from our partner, GrowNYC! We’ll also be accepting donations of gently used materials at this event, so if you’d like to offload some of your “junk” for responsible reuse or recycling at Load OUT!, find out more HERE!

Load OUT! Lesson #1 from Fantasy Grandma

As you may know, FABnyc is a big supporter of sustainability and the arts. We’re always looking for ways to both increase sustainable best practices in our artistic community, and also to engage artists in developing new ways to facilitate sustainable behaviors.

So, in preparation for Load OUT! (11/2), our biannual recycling and reuse extravaganza, we had two super creative ladies from the band Fantasy Grandma explain some of NYC’s basic recycling rules.

Fantasy Grandma

If you think this is an easy task, think again. It’s certainly fitting that lesson #1 from the Fantasy Grandmas is DON’T automatically assume you know everything about what can and can’t be recycled…

The rules are more complicated than you might suspect, for a number of reasons that we won’t go into here; and if you’re someone who has moved to NYC from another state, like many of us at FABnyc, throw everything you think you know about recycling out the window.

For example, did you know that this is the first year in NYC that rigid plastics can be recycled? That’s right! You can now throw all your plastic cups, plastic toys, plastic anything… that’s rigid*. YAY!!!!

Fantasy Grandma elaborates…

If you’re curious and want to know more, come by our Load OUT! event on Nov. 2nd from 12-3PM and learn more recycling rules from our partner, GrowNYC.

*Previously, any plastic item without a “neck” had to be tossed into the trash. Gross, right?!

What can be Found at Load OUT! Fall 2013

In 2010, FABnyc noticed that local theaters were “loading out” sets and materials directly into dumpsters after productions ended their runs. Not only were the materials being disposed of inefficiently and unsustainably, but were often of great value to other artists.

Photo by Whitney Browne

Photo by Whitney Browne

As a creative response, FABnyc initiated “Load OUT!” inviting neighborhood arts and cultural groups, non-profits, and community members to donate sets, costumes, props and office equipment they no longer needed, to be made available to other artists. The program has grown, now including textile and e-waste collection for the entire community. Hundreds of artists and residents have benefited, either through collecting the lightly used materials or by donating items they no longer need or want, and thus far nearly 46 tons of materials have been diverted from the waste stream.

This Fall, Load OUT! will take place Saturday, November 2, 2013 from 12-3PM at 11 East 3rd Street, Between Bowery and 2nd Avenue. Admission to Load OUT! is FREE  for artists and art students, and $5 for the general public.

As of now, our list of donations for the taking includes: large fabric bolts, padded stools, plastic molded chairs, metal garden chairs, filing cabinets, floor board, children’s toys, paired shoes, belts, lamps, metal lunch box, gently used hand bags, and more. We hope you can make it!

The Insider Scoop on Basic Training Neo-Futurist Workshop

TMLMBGBThe first time I saw TMLMTBGB*, I got lucky. Someone spit several chunks of kiwi on my face in one play, and hugged me deeply in another. Later, during a play called something along the lines of “Trying to Sleep in a Small Train Town in the Middle of Kansas,” a Neo pulled me onto the stage, motioned for me to lie down on three black blocks, and proceeded to ‘tuck me in’ — pillow, blanket, teddy, and goodnight kiss included. The lights dimmed, and an actor standing in the darkness upstage began making faint train noises into a microphone. Far away. Muffled. I was confused. The noises got louder and faster, as if the train were getting closer. I looked out at my friends and the rest of the chuckling audience for help, but they didn’t know what to do either. Eventually the actor just flat out screamed into the microphone and I, at the height of discomfort, broke out into craughter**. At last, the train noises subsided, someone called “curtain” and the audience broke out into a cacophony of order numbers for the next play. Now, I assume the person sitting in the back row saw a very different show than I did that night, but it was the best theater experience I’d ever had. I remember it like it was last night. I felt like I had watched 5 people run a messed up marathon. I was hooked.

I recently took a Basic Training Neo-Futurist workshop with Neos Dan McCoy and Flor De Liz Perez. I walked in thinking, “Alright, I’ve seen the show. I’ve talked about Neo-Futurist philosophy with my knowledgeable theater friends. I know what’s up.”


(I still don’t know what’s up.)

In less than 5 hours on the first day, Flor/Dan’s introduction to Neo-Futurist work completely deconstructed my understanding of what theater could be. Why? Well, I’m an actor. Actors usually learn a bunch of lines and say them to other actors (who have learned their own bunch of lines) in order to tell a story that has been written by someone else. We try to create an illusory world into which the audience can be sucked. Poof! You’re in London. Poof! You’re in a magical forest, and I’m the fairy queen. Poof! Theater. Neo-Futurism is not like this. You want to work Neo-Futuristically? You need to write your own plays, from your perspective, about your own experiences. That’s not to say that there’s no place for crazy lighting effects, dynamic performance styles, and plenty of absurd abstractions. When performing, though, you must always be who you are, be where you are, and be doing what you’re doing. You must create theater from the bottom up. It sounds simple, right? Yes. Is it easy? No. No. No.

Neo-Futurism is difficult because it forces me to be honest with myself and with others. It’s difficult because it forces me to create something entirely on my own. It forces me to validate my life story as one worth telling and myself as someone worth being. And those, dear reader, can be difficult tasks. “Whoa, Dan and Flor, you want me to write a play about a mundane thought I had this week? Who would care? Nothing really interesting happened to me this week…” But, as it turned out, I had just downloaded Snapchat, and its creepy ephemeral nature spurred an existential debate in my head. It became a play. Someone else wrote a play about an awkward moment in an elevator. Another ordered some dumplings and a sesame pancake from Vanessa’s Kitchen. Like, for real. During the play, he asked someone else in the class to order it, then ran to go pick it up, came back, and gave it to him. The only things you really need to make an interesting play are a person performing a task, any task, and a person to watch it.

A professor I deeply respect once told me that acting is not therapy. Sure, I get that, but it can be therapeutic for both actor and audience member alike. As we worked together those three Saturdays, I came to know and care for the members of my class. We had running jokes. We told each other stories about our failures, our loves, hates, fears, insecurities, and guilty pleasures through our work. We related to each other. I feel like I walked away from that workshop with a fresh perspective on my potential as a theater-maker, and theater’s potential to be a lasting, positive experience. I mean, I still don’t know what that the EFF that train play was about and I will always be haunted by “Chock Full O’Nuts,” but who cares? I had a good time.

Maybe you won’t ever take a workshop with the Neos, but if this retelling of my (anything-but-mundane) experience sparks your interests, you can catch a performance of Neo-Futurism ANY Friday or Saturday night starting 11/1. You won’t be disappointed… I promise.

*Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind

**Craughter: laughing so hard that you cry (or crying so hard that you laugh, either way).

- Written by Kelly Rogers -

Fun for Foodies in the Fall

Foodies and fans of the fabulous Epicurean Group, in case you haven’t heard, there are some very special (and tasty) eating events you really shouldn’t miss – both of which will benefit the work that we do in the LES!

First up, Not My Day Job 2013: Celebrating Art, Talent, and Taste (10/27):

Join FABnyc at the fourth annual talent extravaganza hosted by Epicurean Group – Not My Day Job: Celebrating Art, Talent and Taste! The food industry is overflowing with talented people, going beyond servers and prep cooks, to include actors, musicians, artists and more. Each year, Epicurean Group gives them a stage to express these gifts, showcasing the beat-boxing cook, the tap-dancing food runner and the singing server. This Sunday, enjoy culinary and beverage skills of over 20 restaurants while watching the many talented performers. While the goal is to celebrate the artists in our industry, this event will also be an effort to support FABnyc and Heritage Radio Network.

And, though we’re sure you know all about what we at FABnyc does, you should also check out Heritage Radio Network, the other beneficiary of Not My Day Job, as they are a foodie favorite as well. HRN covers food content as it pertains to the most important topics of our day: Business, News, Science and Tech, Pleasure, Health, Opinion and more. They broadcast from inside two re-purposed shipping containers in the back of Roberta’s Pizza, the nexus of the Brooklyn food movement and they are bringing you the freshest national voices in food. Tune in at www.HeritageRadioNetwork.org to hear more!

And in November, join us at Lower East Side Eats: An Evening with L’Apicio (11/7):

The Lower East Side is undoubtedly one of NYC’s top culinary destinations, and Whole Foods Market Bowery Culinary Center is providing delicious proof tonight with another benefit class to spotlight the ongoing efforts of local nonprofit and beneficiary, FABnyc (us!). Come and experience the contemporary Italian-inspired cuisine served at L’Apicio, and let Chef Gabe Thompson show you why this charming neighborhood newcomer has earned such a devoted following and widespread acclaim just one year after opening its doors on First Street and Bowery.

Review: “Light of Night” at IATI Theater

Light Of Night

Relief and freedom—these are two emotions rarely felt at the end of any show, except, perhaps, in the work of Cecilia Copeland. In her new work, Light of Night, which debuted this week, your emotions are not your own. This might be a rare experience for audience members, given that many theater performances are designed to invoke comprehension, but not true understanding or empathy. This Latino retelling of the Persephone myth drags you under along with its Persephone, trapped in a suburban, white, American Hades.  Embattled by her desire to be Latina, but abused into remaining demure and white, feelings of confusion, passion, fear, and overwhelm are hard to stave off during the performance.

This clever, occasionally comical, yet heart-wrenching story results from a powerful triad of remarkable writing, directing, and acting. The show did contain a few bumps along the way (as it was preview night, after all), but the cast rapidly pulled their audience back into Stephanie’s underworld time and time again.

Light of Night is presented by IATI Theater, a founding FABnyc member who proclaims themselves “artistic adventurers. Never shying away from the unknown, but fearlessly venturing into the new.” This staging affirms their mission – though challenging and frightening, it has been conquered by a remarkable team.  Be sure not to miss this short run through October 27, 2013, though I suspect this piece will not halt at IATI. Get tickets today, and get discount tickets with this FAB Deal!

- Written by Phoebe Stern