Laundromat Offers Art Workshops To Underprivileged Communities

The Laundromat Project is a non-profit organization that brings various programs to low-income families.

New York City has an abundance of cultural activities and artistic endeavours, but not many of them are free. Recognizing the lack of access to the arts for lower income families, Risë Wilson set up a community art organization where workshops and programs could be freely available in a place where many already gather…the laundromat.

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The non-profit organization The Laundromat Project recognized the potential in using a space that is usually equated with mundane waiting, and filled it with possibility. The mission statement says:

Understanding that creativity is a central component of healthy human beings, vibrant neighborhoods, and thriving economies, we bring art programs to where our neighbors already are. In this way, we aim to raise the quality of life in New York City for people whose incomes do not guarantee broad access to mainstream arts and cultural facilities.

Through their programs Works In Progress and Create Change, the Project introduces adults and children to artistic experiences they may otherwise not be able to afford. The former provides community-centered art education through hands-on workshops and programs which include kite-making and terrarium growing. Create Change sees local artists take up residency at laundromats in Harlem, the Bronx and Brooklyn, where they create site-specific art and engage locals in its making.

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The hope is to one day expand The Laundromat Project beyond the washers and dryers, opening an art center attached to a laundromat, thereby continuing to engage the lower income families that use the coin-op but also providing a space for community artists to grow.

Says Executive Director Kemi Ilesanmi:

We don’t make creative people. We just facilitate the creativity already there, which sometimes haven’t been used or even realized yet.

The Laundromat Project

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