The Artist Volunteer Center, Founder & Director
I was a full-time working artist until Hurricane Sandy made devastating landfall. On the evening of October 29th, 2012, the first floor of my Brooklyn studio building on the Red Hook Waterfront was swept with seven feet of water. My space on the second floor was untouched, but all of my friends and neighbors below were completely devastated— their artwork, equipment, and livelihood vanished. I was grateful for having not been directly affected, but also traumatized for witnessing devastation all around me. Instantly I was inspired to help others get their lives back on track. I began volunteering full-time in the recovery effort and was quickly hired by NY Cares and later by the organization Respond & Rebuild to run Volunteer Coordination in The Rockaways to clean homes free of mold and debris with the work of volunteers.
I worked out in Rockaway for nine months and these experiences led me to found the nonprofit The Artist Volunteer Center.
This a nonprofit / artist project that I have developed to help artists help people, and a way to connect artists, communities and institutions. I seek to decentralize the art world, and bring equity for all to experience the arts, regardless of class, race or location. I consider this my art practice now, and the work I am doing Social Choreography. Read this interview where I speak more about that.
ARTIST VOLUNTEER CENTER MISSION STATEMENT:
The Artist Volunteer Center (the AV Center) promotes humanitarian volunteerism by artists, and supports the creation of artwork inspired by volunteer action. The AV Center connects arts and volunteer programs with the purpose of uniting organizations and individuals for the common goal of helping artists help people.
The AV Center is founded on the principle that art is most powerful when inspired by or attempting to establish a dialogue around social justice issues. Designed to act as a conduit between artists, communities, and opportunities, the AV Center offers access to experts in the advocacy, nonprofit, and fine art fields, while redirecting funding streams to provide an alternative to the commercial gallery track. The AV Center also fulfills the role of mentor and resource center, giving artists a framework for understanding and exploring social issues, as well as navigating the impact this may have on their artistic practice. All artist projects are collaborative endeavors from the beginning and are carefully designed to meet the needs of the community while challenging and expanding the skillsets and interests of the artists.
The AV Center has some exciting programs going on right now, visit www.avcenter.org
Funding for the Artist Volunteer Center has graciously been provided by:
The New York City Cultural Agenda Fund
The Pollination Project
Arts From The Ashes
As well as many private and anonymous donations
The Artist Volunteer Center is fiscally sponsored by Brooklyn Arts Council