Turnout NYC Pilots New Venues for Equitable Access to the Arts from Harlem to Hollis – Harlem World Magazine

The Design Trust for Public Space and SITU today announced the launch of Turnout NYC.

Turnout NYC is a community-driven initiative that will provide infrastructural support to New York-based arts and culture organizations while expanding access to the arts across the city.

Backed by a $2 million grant from the Mellon Foundation, the venture aims to help small arts organizations produce public programming despite the ongoing effects of the pandemic.

It will offer flexible and semi-permanent outdoor spaces, one in each borough, in collaboration with cultural partners from each community.

This two-step approach will give arts organizations and artists greater leeway in defining programming and activating public spaces in neighborhoods across the city.

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By hosting 150-200 events and showcasing up to 1,500 artists from across the city by the end of its 2022 season, Turnout NYC will affect long-term change and advance a new model of community-driven cultural production.

The lineup will be continuously announced and updated on www.turnoutnyc.org.

In addition to hosting a summer of creative events for New Yorkers, the five sites will support equitable access to the arts and provide infrastructure for artists, especially Black, Latinx, Asian, Indigenous and other historically marginalized peoples.

The initiative will deliberately seek to advance these places as part of a broader effort to spread open source design knowledge, encourage structural changes in the city’s cultural policies, and build a connected cohort of emerging arts and design professionals.

Turnout NYC is led by Design Trust for Public Space, a nonprofit organization dedicated to activating and transforming shared public spaces to create a more just, equitable, and sustainable city, and SITU, an architectural practice centered on design. social and creative impact.

“Before the pandemic, people living in vulnerable areas already had limited access to cultural opportunities. Today, those rare opportunities are more at risk of disappearing,” said Matthew Clarke, executive director of the Design Trust for Public Space. “Building on Design Trust’s experience in activating and transforming underutilized public spaces in all five boroughs, Turnout NYC will create a replicable strategy for local interventions that promote equitable access to the arts.”

“This initiative demonstrates how, by being flexible and creative in how we think about traditional performance venues, we can design our public spaces in a way that enriches the arts and cultural life of New York City, in every neighborhood,” said Basar Girit, founding partner of SITU.

Guided by an advisory board of New York City cultural leaders, such as Harlem’s National Black Theater CEO Sade Lythcott, performer Alphonse Gonzales, Queens Theater executive director Taryn Sacramone, poet Shanelle Gabriel and other New York, Turnout NYC recognizes that arts organizations and artists, outside of Midtown-Manhattan’s cultural districts, are critical anchors for the city’s recovery and long-term health.

In each borough, Turnout NYC will engage a local community cultural partner, connect local cultural and artistic practices to create place-based interventions and performances, host design workshops and trainings, and vibrant community networks.

Partner sites include

“Turnout NYC centers community members in designing the spaces and opportunities for artists to showcase their work,” said Taryn Sacramone, Executive Director of Queens Theater and President of the NYC Cultural Institutions Group. “Access to arts and culture is essential to ensure that the well-documented benefits of cultural experiences are accessible to all. We are creating a stronger infrastructure to expand the city’s rich arts ecosystem, empower artists and open new avenues of partnerships.

“Turnout NYC will allow hundreds of New York-based artists to collaborate and co-design with their communities,” said Emil J. Kang, Arts and Culture Program Director, Mellon Foundation. “We are pleased to support this vibrant group of partners who are engaging in a process of true collaboration and deep listening to enable artists to continue performing in their communities.

Turnout NYC cultural community partners and spokespersons are available for further comment. Please contact Alexa Mauzy-Lewis ([email protected]) to coordinate.

The Design Trust for Public Space

The Design Trust for public space is a nationally recognized incubator that catalyzes change and transforms New York City’s shared civic spaces – streets, plazas, parks, public buildings, transportation and housing estates – to create a vibrant, inclusive and sustainable city.

Founded in 1995 by Andrea Woodner, the nonprofit brings its design expertise and systems thinking to the public realm to make a lasting impact.

Founded on the principle that New York’s cultural and democratic life depends on viable public space, the Design Trust focuses on social justice and equity, environmental sustainability, design excellence, and public engagement. .

Its innovative model brings together government agencies, community groups and private sector experts, using cross-industry partnerships to deliver creative solutions that shape the city’s landscape.


IF YOU is an unconventional architecture practice comprised of three divisions – Studio, Research, and Fabrication – that harness innovative technologies and adaptive methodologies for creative and social impact.

The interdisciplinary practice encourages collaborative solutions while providing services that address a host of unique design, construction and human rights challenges.

SITU was founded in 2005 and currently resides at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

The firm has received numerous awards and accolades, including grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Oak Foundation, the 2018 President’s Citation Award from the Cooper Union, Interior Design Best of Year in 2016, 2014 and 2011, as well as an award for excellence in design by the Art Commission of the City of New York.

J. Ember Design

As a public space design consultant and member of the core design team, J. Ember Design leads the design of the site and advises the site team and partners on the design, creation of places, programming and operation.

J. Ember Design creates playful, empathetic, and collaborative public space design that is intrinsically linked to the management of public space, and strives to bring people together in play and joy, in all communities.

The Mellon Foundation

The Mellon Foundation is the nation’s biggest supporter of the arts and humanities. Since 1969, the Foundation has been guided by its fundamental belief that the humanities and the arts are essential to human understanding.

The Foundation believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity and that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence and freedom that is found there.

Through our grants, we seek to build just communities enriched with meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imaginations can thrive.

Photo Credit: Barara Ann Teer Harlem NBT National Black Theatre.

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