Greenpoint resident Kristin Melkin, the Founder and Executive Director of ESS Community Projects, is looking forward to bringing the community together for a fun-filled artistic fundraiser called the Family Art Brunch

This is ESS Community Projects’ third annual fundraiser, after a two-year pandemic-related hiatus. “We’re looking at it as a chance to get back together in person,” said Melkin.

ESS Community Projects has had a journey filled with ups and downs. Melkin, who had a long career in museum education, wanted to bring art to neighborhood families when she became a mother about ten years ago. ESS started with baby classes and then built an art lab and added more classes.

In 2013 Melkin opened the Eckford Street Studio. “We wanted to engage all of the kids in the community,” said Melkin. To that end, she started an afterschool program and summer camp workshops. 

When the pandemic hit, Melkin lost the studio. After losing the lease on the Eckford Street Studio, Melkin connected with other organizations. Afterschool art classes are now at Park Church Coop (129 Russell St.), and baby and toddler classes now take place at The Last Place on Earth (531 Graham Ave.). Summer camp will be at ELM Foundation (191 N 14th St.), a center focused on art therapy for kids, offering free youth workshops. 


ESS Community Projects became a nonprofit organization in 2017 and started offering scholarships. There are still kids on scholarships in every kids program at ESS. They also have “pay what you wish” events and offer payments on a sliding scale. “We hope to expand the pay what you wish program,” says Melkin.

These programs are funded by the community through fundraising efforts like Family Art Brunch on Saturday, April 30. The event will take place at local restaurant Maracuja (279 Grand St.) from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Expect cocktails, food, art, games, and a spinning wheel to win prizes. 

The Family Art Brunch flyer, designed by Rae French.

Melkin said they made an effort to make the tickets accessible, but it is a fundraiser. Individual tickets are $40, couples are $70, kids over three are $10, and kids under three are free. ESS is still looking for volunteers to help with the Family Art Brunch. If interested in helping, follow this link.

The event also kicks off ESS’s online auction. “Over 50 local businesses have contributed,” exclaimed Melkin. “We are still adding items, and will continue soliciting donations up until the launch on the 30th,” she said. 

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