Artists Space

Artists: NYC Is Not for Sale

October 29, 2016, 7pm

Nancy Meza, Defend Boyle Heights
Pati Ankalli Rodriguez, Mi Casa No Es Su Casa
Alicia Grullón, Mothers On The Move
Sandra de la Loza, North East Los Angeles Alliance
Chino Mayday, NYC Not 4 Sale
Raquel Namuche, Queens Is Not For Sale
Anthony Rosado
Samuel Stein
Shellyne Rodriguez, Take Back the Bronx

A flyer for the event depicting MTA subway routes in white on a red background. Event title reads "ARTISTS: NYC NOT FOR SALE" with a strikethrough on the alternative subtitle "IN THE BUSINESS OF GENTRIFICATION."
MTL+, Artists: NYC Not for Sale, 2016. [A flyer for the event depicting MTA subway routes in white on a red background. Event title reads "ARTISTS: NYC NOT FOR SALE" with a strikethrough on the alternative subtitle "IN THE BUSINESS OF GENTRIFICATION."]

"Please join Artists Space and Decolonize This Place for the second in a series of discussions bringing together local residents, artists, and organizers for a candid dialogue on the role of artists within gentrification across New York City.

Gentrification is accelerating, displacing working class communities of color at a rapidly quickening pace. It is a crisis—driven by the real estate industry and facilitated by City Hall. The incentives of developers and the changing make up of the city are turning artists, involuntarily or otherwise, into agents of this displacement. Artists are part of the problem, from Chinatown to the Bronx and beyond.

Analysis and debate can stem this tide, but can't stop it. Silent complicity and cynical resignation are no longer options.

Artists must draw a line in the sand, and act in solidarity with the communities in which we live and work as part of a city-wide movement that declares: NYC Is Not for Sale!

Moving forward from last week's conversation on the integration of art galleries within communities in New York's Chinatown, Artists: NYC Is Not for Sale will launch an artist-led effort to directly combat these forces of gentrification and join the struggle with local communities actively fighting against mass displacement."

– MTL+

Nancy Meza is a member of Defend Boyle Heights, an anti-gentrification collective working in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles.

Alicia Grullón is an interdisciplinary artist whose vision is to use art to create a world that does not yet exist. Whether through socially engaged projects, performance, works on paper, video or photography, she takes into account the use of space as a site of social construction where issues of race, class, gender, and activism open. Grullón has presented at El Museo del Barrio, Performa 11, Bronx Museum of the Arts, and Art in Odd Places. Most recently, she has conducted workshops for and Naturally Occurring Cultural Districts in New York.

Sandra de la Loza is the founder of the Pocho Research Society of Erased and Invisible History (PRS), an ongoing trans-disciplinary project begun in 2002. The PRS conducts archival research to better understand underlying power dynamics embedded in social space while exposing the gaps, absences and the in between spaces within dominant historical narratives. The PRS utilizes the research process to work with various community groups to contribute to social struggles through unconventional forms that result in site-specific interventions, public actions, and community organizing efforts. De la Loza has recently collaborated with a variety of groups including Staying Together Advocating for Our Youth (STAY), the North East Alliance (NELA), The School of the Echoes, LA Rooted, and Everything is Medicine to employ creative strategies to mobilize residents, shift the debate around gentrification, while producing alternative knowledge and practices to enact one's agency to reshape and redefine the various social, cultural and ecological landscapes we inhabit.

Northeast Los Angeles Alliance (NELA) is a group of local Northeast Los Angeles Residents committed to witnessing and documenting the changing socio-economic landscape of NELA. The group is committed to understanding the full effect of gentrification on immigrant, working class and poor communities and addressing these effects through popular education strategies, community organizing, visual and performing arts and research. NELA is composed of members who have witnessed and are directly affected by the processes of gentrification: current residents who are working class, Latina/o, queer, and/or undocumented.

Chino Mayday is a member of Take Back the Bronx and an organizer at the Bronx Social Center.

NYC Not 4 Sale is an alliance of anti-gentrification organizing groups from all five NYC boroughs.

Raquel Namuche is an organizer working on anti-gentrification efforts in Queens and East Harlem through her position as the community land trust organizer at Picture the Homeless. Born in Peru and raised in Queens, she has ten years of community organizing experience and has worked at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, New Immigrant Community Empowerment, Make the Road New York and MFY Legal Services, where she worked with tenants of illegal boarding homes to create the Three-Quarter House Tenant Organizing Project. She has also worked at the Queens and Brooklyn Housing Court for Housing Court Answers, providing assistance to pro-se litigants and getting a first-hand view on the impact that gentrification has on long-term residents of color. She is also the founder of the Ridgewood Tenants Union, an anti-gentrification group in Ridgewood, Queens, which is also the neighborhood she has lived in for the past 13 years, and has recently convened a new group called Queens Is Not For Sale to start working on borough-wide anti-gentrification organizing.

Anthony Rosado: After graduating Trinity College with a BA in Theatre & Dance, I performed in works by Anabella Lenzu, Deborah Goffe of Scapegoat Garden, Lindsey Dietz Marchant, Carmen Caceres of Dance Action, and Leyya Mona Tawil of Dance Elixr. I studied with George Emilio Sanchez during Hemispheric Institute's Summer 2015 EMERGEnyc Performer's Program. I have presented at Ange Noir Café via Chez Bushwick's 24 hour Choreographer's Project, Issue Project Room via Movement Research, Bronx Academy of Arts & Dance via their Blaktinx 2015 & Out Like That! 2016 Performance Series & Dancing While Black's Masculinities Reborn Series, and Gallatin Arts Festival's Black Lives Matter series. I am currently a core member of Arts in Bushwick. I am currently an Artist in Residence with Chez Bushwick. I am currently Ifetayo Youth Ensemble Program Coordinator with Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy.

Samuel Stein, who has written about NYC's housing policies for a number of publications, is an Adjunct Professor at John Jay College, and a doctoral candidate in Urban Geography at the CUNY Graduate Center.

Shellyne Rodriguez is an artist and activist born and raised in the South Bronx, whose work centers on strategies of survival and its varied malleable forms. She views these forms as gestures of decolonization, present in the way a colonized people continue to live through the attempted erasure of their cultures and collective selves but also in the sampling and remixing of the DJ, evident in Hip Hop culture. Her practice endeavors to sample, synchronize, remix or reinvent such gestures, as narratives, objects, marks and actions which possess these strategies of survival, using a variety of sources and mediums to think and to make. Shellyne graduated with a BFA in Visual & Critical Studies From the School of Visual Arts in New York City and an MFA in Fine Art from Hunter College in New York and has had her work exhibited at El Museo del Barrio, Queens Museum, and most recently at the New Museum as part of the Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter show. Shellyne describes her activism as not exceptional, but a social responsibility, especially for artists, now more than ever.

This discussion is part of Decolonize This Place, a three-month project by MTL+ on invitation of Common Practice New York hosted at Artists Space Books & Talks. For the purposes of this project, 55 Walker Street has been converted by MTL+ into an action-oriented community space around the issues of: De-Gentrification, Indigenous Struggle, Black Liberation, Free Palestine and Global Wage Workers. Views and opinions expressed in this project are not necessarily those of Artists Space or members of Common Practice New York.

MTL+ is a collective of artists and organizers comprised of Nitasha Dhillon, Amin Husain, Yates McKee, Andrew Ross, Kyle Goen, Amy Weng, Aiko Maya Roudette, Marz Saffore and Samer Abulaela