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Giving Access to Artists in the Bronx & Other Underserved Communities

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$1,647.37 of $2,500

Help put on our 1st Annual Flip the Script Virtual Performance! We will be featuring artists from our monthly Flip the Script workshop and producing an anthology of the performed art (available for purchase on Amazon after the event).

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Did you know Manhattan receives 7-8x the funding for arts than the Bronx receives despite having only a handful more residents and triple the median income?

Seems unfair, right? That's where we come in.

Our Story

At Art Defined Productions, we are developing the careers of literary and performance artists in underserved and under-resourced communities with access. We encourage the marginalized voices of literary and performing artists by supporting them and uplifting their work to help fill the gaps formed by the systemic racial and financial inequalities of the Bronx and other underserved communities.

What We Do

We provide a safe space with access for artists who are typically silenced, underserved, and marginalized, especially BIPOC and LGTBQ+ artists by providing:

  • Workshops, mentorship, and an artist community with the tools and resources to grow as a literary artist,
  • The inspiration and encouragement to discover and develop their artistry and ‘sound’,
  • And opportunities to practice and get discovered on stage and at community events and be valued for their art.
Current Programs

A Poetic Affair Showcase: a once-a-month, one-night event to get discovered and have more exposure to the arts. These showcases are comprised of two parts:

  • Featured Artist Showcase ($ award)
  • Open Mic - Poetry Slam

Line Breaks and Bronx Beats Poetry Workshop: a twice-a-month writing workshop that covers different genres, poets, and poems, analyzes form & structure, and includes peer/group work

Flip the Script Writers Workshop: a twice-a-month writer's workshop that focuses on the specific visual art of storytelling, covering craft skill sets using various concepts and techniques

A variety of Community, Family-Friendly Events that features and incorporates our artists’ works to create an immersive, interactive, and community-building experience. Some examples of past events include Nightmare on Bedford (Fall) and our Annual Family Scavenger Hunt (Summer).

The Challenge

You might have guessed, but the largest barrier is accessibility - to art-related work, opportunities, communities & resources. Marginalized and under-resourced communities are still being marginalized and under-resourced. :/

  • Nearly half of artists (47%) in the US stated that their artistic pursuits accounted for less than 25% of their total income
  • The Bronx houses 1.4 million, a little less than 200,00 than Manhattan, yet there are almost 10x fewer art-related opportunities for Bronx residents
  • And despite having 17x more art organizations than the Bronx (with only 200K more residents), Manhattan continues to receive 7-8x more funding than the Bronx, perpetuating the lack of workshops, resources, and developmental programs these underserved communities have access to
  • On top of that, the typical workshop costs $350-500 at a private organization. At universities, costs are typically between $4-6.5K. With the median income being under $39K in the Bronx, workshops are a novelty that is not an option for most in these underserved communities.
  • Manhattan's median income is $118,161 (New York City Overall: $70,846)
A Note from Our Founder, Amira Mustapha

As a recent graduate, I was still green, inexperienced, and scared. I pushed through and found myself in rooms where I didn’t feel enough. I wasn’t confident that I had what was needed. The lack of resources and support made quitting the industry a more realistic and pragmatic choice. I saw locked doors everywhere and my support system, the artists I graduated with were switching their careers.

I recently read a testimonial from one of our patrons. She said, “People cannot afford to spend hundreds of dollars on the workshops that private organizations offer.” This echoes the crux of the problem we're trying to solve for. Access, despite your economic standing. The average Bronxite grosses $21,778, per year. Nearly half of the average New Yorker. I realized the best course of action was to create our own way. Only we, the underserved, know what we need stemming from the gaps systemic racial and financial inequities bring. And we know when we are being heard. We know what to listen out for and what we're looking for — Equity. For artists like us, marginalized and silenced.

Amira Mustapha is a Ghanaian-American born and raised in The Bronx. She is an actor, playwright, producer, and poet. Amira is the Founder and Executive Director of Art Defined Production, Inc, a non-profit organization dedicated to building platforms for literary and performing artists living in underserved communities. For more information visit artdefined.org.

Art Defined Productions is a tax-exempt public charity (federal tax ID #272251367). All contributions are tax deductible to the extent allowable by law. No goods or services were provided in exchange for your generous financial donation.
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