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Healing, Bridging, Thriving: CRNY Premieres Short Film at NEA Summit

February 1, 2024
By Staff

This week, on January 30, 2024, CRNY participated in a national convening hosted by the White House Domestic Policy Council and the National Endowment for the Arts: “Healing, Bridging, Thriving: A Summit on Arts and Culture in our Communities.” The Summit “explored how the arts can contribute to health and well-being, animate and strengthen physical spaces, fuel our democracy, and drive equitable outcomes for communities across the country.” As part of our participation, CRNY was pleased to premiere a short film that spotlights three Artist Employment Program artists—artists whose work, artistry, activism, and perspective have a profound impact on their local communities, on New York, and on our nation.

Watch our NEA Summit film and read about featured AEP artists Aitina Fareed-Cooke, Víctor María Chamán, and Jocelyn Jones—below:

“Art is a language, and every medium is a different dialect,” says Aitina Fareed-Cooke, featured AEP artist. With Buffalo Arts Studio, she captures portraits and stories of those across her city—with particular emphasis on Buffalo’s East Side. “We’re all human beings, and everyone has a value to add to the community at large. The more we share, the more we understand each other.” 

Featured AEP artist Víctor María Chamán, who emigrated from Mexico to the U.S. as a teenager, is a writer and poet based in Syracuse, New York. At The Workers Center of Central New York, he is documenting the experiences, “problems, dreams, objectives, and daily lives” of Workers Center migrant workers. “Using the tools of art and narrative to open up a space in which the members of the Latino immigrants in the State can choose what they want to say in their own way—this is, by itself, radical,” he says.

Jocelyn Jones (or Dëgawënö’di:he’t) of The Seneca Nation is a multidisciplinary AEP artist. At the Onöhsagwë:de’ Cultural Center, she works to preserve cultural lifeways: an “act of defiance to external pressures, from oppressive government systems [to] assimilation practices,” she says. “The work that I’m doing with other artists is bringing light to these types of issues.”

We’re hopeful that this short film underscores our collective need to involve artists, creatives, and arts workers in policy making decisions at every level.

To learn more about the NEA Summit, Healing, Bridging, Thriving: A Summit on Arts and Culture in our Communities, click here.