Could the Silent Barn’s soon-to-be former home live on as an all-ages venue with an educational bent?
Educated Little Monsters, a Bushwick-based program serving under-resourced youth of color, is seeking to take over the multipurpose venue after it closes at the end of April.
When Silent Barn, named the city’s Best DIY art space by New York magazine, announced that it was losing its headquarters of the past five years, it cast uncertainty on the future of Educated Little Monsters, which shares the space. On May 1, the collective launched an online fundraiser seeking $50,000, in part to cover “storage of our equipment and supplies over the next few months while we find a new location.”
Now ELM is seeking to take over the Silent Barn’s space, per an email sent out today.
The fundraising campaign, which will help ELM expand its curriculum of performing and visual arts programs for the neighborhood’s underserved youth, has so far raised $15,000 of the $50,000 goal, which will go to covering rent, renovations and new supplies for a new round of students in the fall.
“Our first concern is to secure the space and then create an all ages music and art venue that centers black and brown youth and the Bushwick native community,” Yazmin Colon (aka Jazo Brooklyn), founder and director of Educated Little Monsters, told Bedford + Bowery. “That being said, with access to the entire first floor, we’ll be able to comfortably run youth programming several days a week that spread out throughout the space as well as continue our community programming with our partners Color Scenes, The Lab Recording Studio and Bushwick Street Art.”
Within the Silent Farm premises, ELM grew from twice-weekly classes in the main room to its own dedicated space, providing music lessons, photo shoots, cyphers, and more. As the potential new leaseholder (Colon notes that the collective is in touch with the landlord to try to figure out length and terms), ELM is seeking to fully reassure its backers that survival is not contingent upon Silent Barn, whose community of artists and volunteers have been portrayed as supportive but also an indicator of the community changes that threaten to displace programs like ELM.
“This fundraiser is not ELM asking to be saved,” Colon added in a statement. “This is us asking for a chance– a first chance– to do this the right way. This is us asking our communities and supporters, including the Silent Barn network, to take a leap with us, to help build a sustainable future.”