“It is an occasion to see what’s going on the community, meet people who have been there for thirty years and learn about its history and heritage,” says Greenpoint Arts Block Festival coordinator, Marta Pawlaczek. “It also presents an opportunity to discover new things like organizations and initiatives that offer valuable services to people.”
According to the festival’s press release, the 2nd annual neighborhood street festival “consists of various cultural, educational, and recreational events with the goal of promoting Polish and local artists, highlighting the Polish identity of Greenpoint, and integrating its old and new inhabitants.” The festival will take place on Saturday, September 26 from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm on Leonard St. between Norman Ave. and Meserole Ave.
Karolina Gumpert, “local specialist when it comes to Polish modern cuisine,” will offer a workshop on Polish flavors to those interested in exploring them. Attendees interested in purely the eating part can enjoy pierogis and other Polish delicacies along with cuisines from France (Le Fond), Italy (Adelina’s) and Spain (El Born). The street version of the foods from these restaurants will “be present to highlight the multicultural character of Greenpoint.”
Building on that diversity, both Polish and non-Polish musicians will perform. The lineup includes the Slavic Art Ensemble, a classical trio playing Polish composers, Luiz Simas and Basia Błonska playing Brazilian choro, Sylwia Kloc & The Troubadours performing progressive folk, the Dorota Piotrowska Project offering jazz standards “with a touch of Polish folk,” and gypsy jazz band, Talking Strings.
A highlight of the event will be a photo exhibit showing the changes in Greenpoint from the 1980s to the present and a new exhibition that is a result of a series of workshops called “People of Greenpoint” that portrays Greenpoint residents along with their unique story. The content is culled from twelve workshops that took place earlier this year “on the border of photography, anthropology, and sociology. The goal [was] to meet and photograph Poles that [have lived] in Greenpoint most of their life and witnessed the evolution of the neighborhood. “
Polish community artists and craftsmen, known and up and coming, will have booths to present and sell their works and products. Festivalgoers can see and purchase everything from paintings, prints, and books to jewelry, toys, clothes, and cosmetics. Local businesses, Little Poland Gallery, WhimsicalArtShop, Polonia Bookstore, Rustic Soaps of Brooklyn, and Ridgewood Antiques, will have a booth on the festival block as well.
The festival is very family-friendly, offering a photo booth, educational contests with prizes led by Dobra Polska Szkoła, art workshops hosted by ArtBox Atelier, face painting, balloon art, a guided tour of Greenpoint by veteran guide Norman Oder, and urban and board games. In addition, one key aspect of the festival is the opportunity for Greenpoint residents to interact with members of local organizations that provide services within the community to improve Greenpoint’s overall well being.
The Pilsudski Institute, a Polish community historical organization that recently moved from Manhattan to Greenpoint, will be present along with city offices like Emergency Management NYC and NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, and Outreach, an organization that support people will different substance abuse issues.
Though not formally a part of the Culture Shock Foundation project, ‘Greenpoint. The Transition,’ the festival is organized by the foundation along with the Brooklyn Public Library and New York Dance & Arts Innovations. It is co-financed by the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York and supported by the Polish Cultural Institute in New York.
Last year, 1500 people passed through the festivals. Artists interested in displaying their work, non-profits wanting to introduce their work to the community, and artisans who would like to sell the outputs of their craft during the Greenpoint Arts Block Festival may contact Pawlaczek at email@example.com or (646) 589-2060. The festival itself is free to attend.