project leader
Sheila W
2113 Amsterdam Avenue
(Harlem and Washington Heights)
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the project

The mission of Uptown Community Cooperative is to facilitate access to creativity and health services, provide jobs and opportunities, and support grassroots organizations, with a focus on the Harlem and Washington Heights area. These two neighborhoods, consisting mostly of Black and brown New Yorkers, have been consistently overlooked and devalued despite being historic beacons of creativity and talent. In increasing access to resources, we hope to nurture and support the spirit, creativity and spark of Uptown youth.

At the moment, we are piloting our first program, a community arts bin housed at the WordUp auxiliary space in Washington Heights. The bin, similar to a community fridge, provides arts materials and resources to support the community’s creative pursuits. Many of the funds we hope to receive this year will go towards stocking the bin and potentially establishing more community bins. 

We also hope to use funds to fund three additional programs: community photography sessions, virtual arts workshops, and an apprenticeship program. Community photography sessions allow individuals to book headshots, studio time for small business promotional shoots, and other photography services at no cost. We would also be able to provide virtual workshops such as screen-printing and photography, as well as a paid apprenticeship program, which matches individuals to a peer mentor in their field of interest as they complete creative capstone projects. 


the steps

Because the arts bin has already been established, once we receive funds we can immediately buy stocking supplies and look into creating another one. Additionally, funds will also go towards film and studio expenses for our community photography sessions. Because we plan on withdrawing funds around August, near the beginning of the school year, we can then launch our apprenticeship program, which will compensate both apprentices and their mentors as well as fund the creation of a capstone project in the apprentice’s creative field of interest. Additionally, upon receiving funds we can extend our virtual programming (in hopes that by August we can host hybrid, socially distanced sessions) in both screen-printing and photography.

why we're doing it

As uptown NYC natives, we are often in contact with creative, passionate, and revolutionary individuals whose plans are constantly hindered by a lack of resources and support. Additionally, as Barnard students, we also see how readily available those resources are to individuals that have already had access to them for most of their lives. Our project was born out of a desire to bridge that gap and provide our community with the same creative resources and supplies our more privileged peers have. 


That gap in question is substantial--despite the clear value and benefits of arts education, funding and support for programming in the city is at an all time low. According to the NYC Department of Education’s Annual Arts Report, spending on arts and cultural services for public schools has declined 47% (Stringer). Spending on arts materials and supplies has continuously decreased at even higher rates for the past seven years. 20% of New York City high schools have no part or full time arts staff, and 10% of schools have no rooms dedicated to the arts (Stringer). 


In addition to disproportionate health outcomes, the exacerbation of systemic racism by the COVID-19 pandemic has left Black communities financially, mentally and socially vulnerable. Community care, support, recovery and joy in all forms are needed now more than ever. We hope that in nurturing our community’s creative passions during a time where unjust factors leave such passions unprioritized and stifled, we can provide some of that relief and joy.  Funds raised will go directly toward both budding and experienced community artists as well as materials that will increase creative accessibility Uptown.



Apprenticeship Stipends- $10,000

Community Art Bin Stock and Maintenance- $2,500

Virtual Art Workshop Art Supplies (Screen Printing and Photography workshops)- $5,000 ($2,500 each)

Community Photography Sessions Fund- $2,500

ioby Platform Fee waived
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $619
TOTAL TO RAISE = $20,619


Sorry, but this project doesn't have any updates yet.


This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


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