Bushwick Crossroads aims to foster meaningful discourse with the diverse members of Bushwick’s community, exploring different ways of understanding in how we build our community together. The public library holds a unique opportunity to provide a safe and truly communal space for Bushwick residents—both new and long-time—which is separate from the effects of gentrification—a place where residents can come together, examine, and deconstruct stereotypes about one another and develop meaningful relationships as neighbors and friends. The guiding mission behind each workshop will be to provide a platform for true civic engagement in which participants learn skills collectively—not separately—and build community by building relationships with one another. The program aims not only to leave participants with new skills and new knowledge, but also a new perspective on Bushwick, creating a unifying counter-narrative to the divisive discourse of gentrification.
Bushwick Crossroads is a series of twelve interdisciplinary workshops inspired by the informal and collaborative spirit of the interdisciplinary art workshops of Black Mountain College. The program was developed in partnership between the DeKalb Library branch of the Brooklyn Public Library and the non-profit art organization Silent Barn. Silent Barn is a collectively directed art space located in Bushwick. Functioning round-the-clock as a center of multidisciplinary experimentation, Silent Barn hosts public art performances, exhibitions, and educational events.
Bushwick Crossroads’ workshops aim to bring participants to the crossroads of music, technology, art, and activism and together find new ways to make their voices heard in Bushwick and Brooklyn at large. These workshop topics include: How Synthesizers Work; DIY Recording Tips & Tricks; Running an Independent Radio Station; Grassroots Community Organizing; Agricultural & Arts Intersection; Independent Publishing; Intersectional Activism; Arts Fundraising; Zine Making; Neighborhood Picnic and Recipe Swap; Prose y Poemas—Bilingual Poems & Pastry-Making; and Silent Barn Book Worms—Reading & Public Speaking.
Bushwick Crossroads’ workshops will be held weekly in two-hour sessions at DeKalb Library. Attendance is free and open to all members of the public and, in order to bring in as many people as possible, registration will not be required to attend. Instructors from the Silent Barn will lead each course with participants and provide materials and supplies relevant to the workshop’s topic. At the end of each workshop, BPL staff will highlight library resources and materials which will bolster and expand the participants’ knowledge and skills on each workshop’s topic. BPL staff will also encourage participants to continue to practice the skills and keep the connections made in each workshop by providing application forms to reserve DeKalb Library’s meeting rooms for future, independent meet-ups.
To enhance the workshops and encourage new ways of looking at the library, workshops will take place in multiple locations at DeKalb Library including the auditorium, the Technology Training Room, the main floor, and the outside garden and gazebo area. Participants are encouraged but not required to attend all workshops in the series and may pick and choose which workshops they wish to attend. At the end of the program, participants from the various workshops will exhibit their newfound skills in a culminating event to be held at the DeKalb Library.