As I watched many of my friends post their stories of sexual assault and harassment over the past week, I was reminded of the importance of artist collectives that create safe environments for women. This Thursday marks the Bae collective’s one year anniversary, and it couldn’t be better timed.
When my feed first began to fill with #metoo stories, I happened to be in a space cultivated by the Bae team. The collective was hosting another one of its wellness and feminine focused events, which bring women together to collaborate and share artistic gifts they may otherwise be unable to find a space for.
“What we really want is for girls to feel safe to perform, because the whole nightlife is very masculine,” explains Mimi von Koerber, Bae’s co-founder. “We just want you to feel safe to do your art, just express yourself.”
Bae was inspired by a Bernie Sanders rally in 2016, when Koerber, 26, and Reem Abdou, 25, met in Prospect Park under the voice of a political revolution. Both were close with members of the Junxion crew, who host events around the city, and had been part of the Burning Man community. Abdou had been working as a yoga teacher while Kroeber was slowly building up her skills as a DJ. They saw the potential to offer something unique to women, which they themselves had never been given: a place to perform and play.
After a tumultuous year and the rise of feminism in the wake of the election of a pussy-grabbing misogynist, women have been working even harder to make a statement about the importance of places for them to safely gather. The idea of a safe space has become more important as people begin to feel less safe in the public eye.
“We are shifting the society that we live, and that we go out in, and that we play in, and that we party in,” says Abdou.
Bae’s go-to spaces have been The Keep, for its intimacy, and Lot 45, whose high vaulted ceilings and large, open floor space lends itself to a diverse mix of artistry. Events at the Lot feature tarot readers, energy workers, live painters, musicians and DJs.
Recently, Bae teamed up with Future Clear, another Brooklyn event production company, to take over a hidden boat in Bushwick. These collaborations move away from the partying aspect of New York nightlife and aim to celebrate wellness, and cooperation between artists.
“There are so many parties everywhere, but [we’re] shifting more towards a nightlife that’s about conscious celebration, not just going somewhere and getting drunk,” says Koerber.
Many of those welcomed into Bae’s spaces are sharing their art publicly for the first time ever. Quite often women are not given a space to experiment or try something new, or made to feel comfortable unleashing a creative project. The non-judgmental Bae experience gives them the ability to try new things without being shut out, or shut up.
Hosting everyone from filmmakers to DJs to painters, Abdou and Kroeber work hard to elevate various kinds of artistic expression. The success and proliferation of events like these show that movements like #MeToo are not in vain. That people are seeing a call for women to be heard, and creating a growing number of platforms for their voices.
The Bae Anniversary event will be held at Lot 45 in Bushwick on Thursday starting at 8pm.