project leader
Layman L
50 Belmont
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the project

Storefront for Brownsville is a pop-up participatory art show celebrating Brownsville’s past, present, and future in an interactive exhibition that showcases historical objects from the Brownsville Heritage House and encourages residents to contribute objects and stories from the present day to bring the archive to life!

The Brownsville Heritage House, Inc. (BHH) was founded by visionary Rosetta Gaston as an educational and cultural center for young and old, which would spark individual and community achievements by focusing on a common heritage. Mother Gaston, as she was affectionately known, started the Children's Cultural Corner in 1969 out of her home, where she taught young minds about their culture and history. This laid the foundation for BHH, Inc. The BHH is now located on the second floor of the historic first children's library built in 1914 by Andrew Carnegie for the Stone Avenue Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. Storefront for Brownsville aims to utilize the archive as the foundation for an exhibition that invites residents of Brownsville to expand on this archive with objects, personal stories, or artwork as a means to showcase the rich history and culture that continues to exist in Brownsville now.

Working with young people from the Brownsville Community Justice Center, youth will be introduced to curatorial and placemaking practices and the history of BHH before assisting with the selection of objects to be displayed at the exhibition. This work will be cataloged and transported to a vacant storefront (TBD) in Brownsville as the foundation for the exhibition.

For the duration of the exhibition, local residents, artists, historians, and more are invited to participate in the exhibition. Residents are invited to bring in objects of all kinds (newspaper clippings, personal paraphernalia, etc.) to be included in the exhibition that will be cataloged. Artists can bring their work in any format (either existing or made in reaction to the archive) to be exhibited. The individual's corresponding story about Brownsville will be documented via audio and accessible during the exhibition.

For the duration of the show, events to activate the storefront and the street will take place as part of the neighborhood’s commercial corridor revitalization efforts. A gift shop will be available to showcase local artists and designers. At the conclusion of the exhibition, the expanded archive including new artwork and objects expanding Brownsville history will be returned to the Brownsville Heritage House.


the steps


  • Draft scope of work and project budget;  Set working group meeting schedule;  Launch IOBY fundraiser.


  • Host tour of BHH with youth placemaking group from BCJC;  Assist with creation of event calendar; Assist w/ event space scouting;  Complete IOBY fundraiser.


  • Secure event location;  Prepare floor design and layout;  Create digital and hard copy draft of exhibition space and gift shop;  Select objects for exhibition; Create catalogue;  Design event marketing materials.


  • Begin marketing activities; Create press release for distribution;  Finalize event calendar;  Prepare BHH archive materials for transport; Transport archive to pop-up location;  Space build-out and exhibition installation.


  • Setup for Opening Night;  Special Event Night;  Assist with all Gallery Events as-needed;  Closing Night Event ; Exhibition Deinstallation and return materials to BHH.

why we're doing it

Brownsville, Brooklyn, a neighborhood covering only 1.2 sq miles with a population of around 84,000 residents, is plagued with the narrative of high crime, chronic disease and people living in extreme poverty. This neighborhood has the largest concentration of public housing in the nation with 18 NYCHA public housing development. In Brownsville, 28% of residents live in poverty. Brownsville’s unemployment rate is higher than the citywide average of 9%. Decades of systematic disinvestment and a media narrative that sensationalizes crime in the community have galvanized a negative perception of Brownsville that has an effect on the connectedness, health, and prosperity of residents.

This project is part of a community effort that includes the Pitkin Avenue BID, Brownsville Community Justice Center, Made In Brownsville, and the Brownsville Heritage House to change this narrative through a contemporary collective neighborhood voice as a means to build a community identity and boost local commerce.

Find out more at


Disbursed Budget:

  • $1,508.84 - Exhibition Display

  • $78.97 - Supply Delivery

TOTAL RAISED = $1,673.00
ioby Platform Fee $35.00
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $50.19

Original Budget:

Supplies & Materials

  • $200 - Transport Supplies
  • $2,750 - Exhibition Display
  • $1,000 - Gift Shop Display
  • $150 - Signage


  • $500 - Graphic Design


  • $400 - Gift Cards
  • $4,000 - Storefront Space


- $5,000 - Support from SBS Neighborhood 360° Commercial District Needs Assessments (CDNA)

$4,000 - Remaining funds needed to complete the project

SUBTOTAL = 4,000
ioby Platform Fee $35
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $120


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This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


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