Civic Council Awards 2021 Community Grants

Each year the Civic Council award community service grants to local organizations. Grants award the work of local community groups and on profits for their work and commitment to improve the health, vitality and diversity of our community. Awards are given for projects in the arts, education, youth programs and civic improvement.

Community grants are typically funded by the Civic Council’s annual House Tour. We were unfortunately unable to have the House Tour this year, but thanks to a group of generous benefactors, we were able to raise funds to continue with our annual Community Grants program.

Descriptions of our winning organizations and their projects can be found below.

Brooklyn Arts Exchange

Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2021, BAX is a multigenerational arts organization that nurtures education, performance, creative expression and artistic process at the intersection of arts and social justice. From BAX’s founding in 1991 as a small, pioneer performing arts organization on an industrial block in the Gowanus area of Brooklyn, BAX has grown into a powerful supporter of artistic innovation and education in dance and theater. BAX moved to lower 5th Avenue in Park Slope in 1998 and remains a vital community based performing arts center dedicated to developing artists of all ages, from children to professionals. The organization offers community access to arts and culture, supporting the creation of new work by emerging artists, engaging diverse audiences and providing arts education to low-income youth and families. BAX intentionally and purposefully supports the voices of underrepresented individuals and groups of all origins, ages, races, sexual orientations, immigration and disability status. Our constituents join in ongoing anti-racism, anti-oppression, and pro-inclusion work. Our goal is to nurture artists in process, at all ages and stages of development, as they embark upon a creative journey to become more authentically expressive.

Due to COVID-19, for 2021, we have reimagined our 2021 YouthWorks festival as YouthWorkSTREAMS, which will offer young artists (ages 8-18) two distinct participatory STREAMS: a Live/In Person Cohort and a Digital Performance Cohort. The performance development process will take place over a consolidated period during spring break week (March 29-April 2) with support from select coaches and include additional pre- and post-program support. The YouthWorkSTREAMS Showcase will be livestreamed the weekend of April 10 and 11. YouthWorks coaches are always volunteer professional artists and arts educators who donate their time and expertise. BAX in turn compensates coaches with a space barter and this year, again due to COVID-19 safety considerations, we’re offering in-person coaches a nominal stipend.

With specific funding from the Park Slope Civic Council, we could be able to offer coaches a greater monetary compensation and also provide more professional development resources and workshops — a point of interest and frequent request from coaches – which would be facilitated by BAX’s Faculty Equity Committee and draw upon BAX’s well developed curriculum and equity building strategies in teaching and learning.

Brooklyn Seeds

Brooklyn Seeds has been gardening with kids in Brooklyn schools since 2010. We teach kids to plant organic food as well as planting and caring for native plants to support native wildlife. In the past 10 years they have had gardening programs for hundreds of kids at the following schools: PS 331, PS 133, PS 118, PS 9 and Montessori Day School amongst others.

Over 800 students at PS 133 planted 1200 native, rate and some threatened plants around the school perimeter in 2018 and 2019. Twenty of those plants alone support 200 native animals. Te plants were provided by the Greenbelt Native Plant Center. This spring, the students will continue to plant and care for the native garden but these plants are often mistaken for weeds.

We would like to put up interactive signs for the students, parents, teachers and neighbors to not only identify the plants, but educate the school and community about the wildlife that cannot survive without these plants.

Gowanus Dredgers

Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club promotes waterfront stewardship while raising awareness of sewer overflow issues of Park Slope that affect our Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, NY. Activities are conducted on the canal and shoreline, with occasional voyages to neighboring waterfront communities of Red Hook, Sunset Park and Brooklyn Heights. Since 1999 we have empowered people to care for the Gowanus Canal / Park Slope Shoreline through advocacy, conservation, and education. We are asking the Park Slope Civic Council to support our Street / Art walking tours of the Gowanus area. Some works of artworks are more permanent, and some are more temporary. Many mediums are included, and much of the art reflects current events, like the Black Lives Matter murals on 4th Avenue.

Tours meet / depart from Gowanus Corner Cafe at 4th Avenue near the Old Stone House. Please view the activity on this link:

In response to COVID19, the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club expanded our tour to include artwork on display inside hotels, cafes and the streets of Park Slope and Gowanus to support patronage of such facilities by art-walk participants. At the foundation of our tours is a goal to support and sustain the businesses of Gowanus and Park Slope.

Our organization believes 2021 will be a critical year for social re-integration as society regains comfort interacting with strangers. Social outdoor based art walks are an ideal method to further the effort and we believe a connection with art and place will help Park Slope residents re-acclimate to a post-COVID world. Partnerships with Gowanus Mutual Aid, Old Stone House, Arts Gowanus and like-minded community organizations are leveraged at each monthly walk.