Stoops Art Walk, 2017, Bedford Stuyvesant, Kendra Ross
Photo: Stoops Bed Stuy

Get ready for an afternoon of dance, music, spoken word, theater, visual art, conversations, workshops – and all round good vibes in Bed-Stuy.

STooPS Bed-Stuy is returning to the neighborhood for its 8th Annual Art Crawl on July 24, bringing art and performance to the neighborhood’s stoops and community gardens.

Hosted by America’s Next Top Model Winner Naima Mora, the current lineup of local artists includes dance by Kendra J. Ross and Cheri Stokes; theater performances by Dragonfly; music by Courtnie, spoken word and poetry from Kai Diata Giovanni, visual art from Mut’Sun, and workshops, readings, and conversations from Akika Apothecary and Free Black Women’s Library.  

The artists will partner with home and space owners to transform their front stoops into galleries and stages, supported by local business sponsors, where they can explore innovative, community-minded creative experimentation with the aim of opening dialogue between neighbors.

STooPS Bed-Stuy said its approach was about bringing different facets of the community together around neighborhood stoops, historically a space of gathering, visibility and celebration, to encourage community building.

In recent years, a balancing act has occurred between embracing changes brought on by gentrification, while still maintaining the energy and traditions of BedStuy. STooPS said in a press release. It added that it builds on the “unmistakable Bed-Stuy identity and bridges the gap between Bed-Stuy ‘then’ and ‘now.’.”

“As any neighborhood evolves, it takes the effort of many to maintain and increase the cohesion of the community. By connecting over art, STooPS opens a dialogue for everyone in the community,” the organization said.

“When folks are no longer strangers, there is more accountability towards working together towards a welcoming and supportive community for all.”

Founder and Director Kendra J. Ross said while the event had become an anticipated mainstay of Bed-Stuy summers, it had become even more important in the midst of the pandemic.

“As many NYC performance venues remain closed, opportunities to experience the power of live art in our vibrant city have been limited. Since being outside has always been our model, we offer a premiere opportunity for folks to experience live art while still being socially distanced and safe,” she said.

The all-ages, family-friendly event, which will include a Kiddie Korner, will take place on July 24 between 1:00 and 5:00pm at 398 Hancock Street or the Hancock T&T Community Garden. It will also be streamed live online.

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