Clarivel Ruiz, 2017. Photo by Hemi.

EmergeNYC Logo


EMERGENYC is an incubator for artist-activists interested in developing their creative voice, exploring the intersections of art and activism, and connecting to a thriving community of independent practitioners—most of them POC, women, and LGBTQIA+ folks. First launched in 2008 at NYU’s Hemispheric Institute—and now housed at BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange in collaboration with Abrons Arts Center—EMERGENYC offers varied entry points into art and activism, prioritizing process, discovery and reflection, and fostering a brave space for experimentation, risk-taking and community-building. The flagship annual program encourages participants to take interdisciplinary leaps, mix styles and traditions, and develop incisive new work at the intersection of performance and politics. Over the years, EMERGENYC has activated a strong network of artivists—in NYC and beyond—who have built solidarity across differences and challenged dominant narratives through artistic cultural resistance.


After two years of virtual-only cohorts, the flagship in-person Emerge is back for New York-based artists! And because our pandemic-era Zoom-based iterations allowed for an expansion of our Emerge network and brought us unforeseen magic and pleasure, we will run a  special virtual program that allows for the participation of national and international artists.


This is the flagship program that has been the heart and soul of Emerge since 2008. Designed and led by george emilio sánchez, this program is open to artists in the New York City area, and is comprised of weekly Sunday workshops facilitated by george, as well as workshops by guest artists who are leaders in the field of performance and politics. With a decolonial lens, we will explore the intersection of art and activism through creative writing, autobiographical narratives, group work, and other multi-disciplinary adventures—all while creating and re-creating a space in which all participants build community with one another, actively listen with heir bodies, and build intentional trust to lay a foundation where compassion and risk-taking guide our work together. We ask applicants to define issues that are important to them and explore how creative practices can harness their political voice. Participants have explored themes of racism and racial violence; police brutality and mass incarceration; radical joy as resistance; queer worldmaking; disability rights; undocumented immigrant activism; war and human rights; environmental justice; and myriad topics that affect their lives. These engagements have resulted in the creation of performance art pieces, multimedia installations, theatrical explorations, street performances, video art, and more.

The in-person program will take place at Abrons Arts Center every Sunday (10:00 AM – 2:00 PM Eastern Time) from Sunday March 20 to Sunday July 10th (*except for June 19 and July 4th). During this time frame, we will have an Intensive Week of daily workshops from Monday April 25–Friday April 29. Guest workshop leaders for 2022 will be announced closer to the date. (See the Faculty page to see past instructors.) Final works-in-progress will be presented live at Abrons in mid-July.  Abrons Arts Center is wheelchair accessible.

This in-person program has a fee of USD $1000.
Financial aid will be available to cover part of the tuition on a need basis. If your enrollment depends on financial aid, please let us know
in your application. We will work it out.

Mariano Ruiz & John Maria Gutierrez, Emerge 2021. Zoom screenshots.


This new iteration of Emerge, which will take place via Zoom on Sundays from March 27th to June 12, 11:00 AM–2:00 PM Eastern Time. This virtual program is intended for national and international participants (not New York-based) who are fluent in English and can attend all workshop sessions on Eastern Time.

Through a series of weekly sessions at the very core of performance art, activisms, and care and love for one another, participants in EMERGENYC’s Analog Bodies and Virtual Activations are encouraged to investigate genders, sexualities, class, race, politics, and spiritualities from the interstitial space between the analog and the digital that this pandemic moment has intensified. How do we as artists, instigators, dissenters, mediators, or meditators, wrestle with the back and forth between our flesh-and-bone bodies and the virtual spaces that allow us to bilocate, multiply, clone, and project our presences around the globe at any time and at all times at once? This program will pay equal attention to how these two seemingly opposing forms of engagement can mix and mingle, remain aloof or dissolve into each other. Some of the formats we will use include performance, writing, dance/movement, deep listening, visualization, somatic practices, and conversations, plus visits by and presentations of the work of mainly BIPOC and gender non-conforming practitioners from the Americas and the Caribbean. With all of this in mind/heart, participants in are invited to reflect upon themselves, their audiences, and the shifts that their analog movements in virtual realms have the power to ignite—way out there in the cosmos, and right here in our changing, aging, living, dying, breathing, pulsing bodies.

Our regular Sunday schedule will be 11:00 AM–2:00 PM EASTERN TIME (to find how Eastern Time maps to your time zone, please use this Time Zone Converter). However, on 4 Sundays around the middle of the program, we will go a bit longer (maximum 4pm), depending on guest artists’ availability (TBD). Visiting teaching artists for 2022 will be announced closer to the date. Final works-in-progress will be presented online at the end of the program.

This virtual program has a fee of USD $600.
Financial aid will be available to cover part of the tuition on a need basis. If your enrollment depends on financial aid, please let us know in your application. We will work it out.

STEFA (2019)

STEFA, 2019. Photo by Alexei Taylor.


— The in-person flagship EMERGENYC program is open to emerging artists/activists who live in the NYC area.
— The virtual program is open to emerging artists/activists outside the NYC area and who cannot attend in person.
— All applicants must have prior experience in various performance genres and/or activist practices. Age is not a factor (past participants have ranged in ages 18–45, all bringing their best selves to the experience); what we define as ’emerging’ is fluid, and has more to do with how you self-define than anything else. We very much encourage BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and disabled artists to apply.

Eric Taylor (2017)

Eric Taylor, 2017. Photo by Marlène Ramírez-Cancio.


The deadline to submit materials to either program via Submittable is Tuesday, February 1st, 2022 at 5pm Eastern Time. (To find how Eastern Time maps to your time zone, please use this Time Zone Converter).

Please note that this is a text-based application. If text is not accessible to you and you require an alternative form of application, please reach out to us via the form below and we will find a path forward together.

You will be asked to submit:

—A biographical statement (maximum 500 words) This is your chance to let us know who you are, where you’re from, your performance background, and your current obsessions/projects. Please do not submit this in the third person or copy and paste your bio—we want to hear your story in your voice, in the first person. Talk to us.

—A statement of purpose (maximum 750 words) This statement describes the reasons you want to participate in EMERGENYC. Please outline the specific issues you would want to address through the program and any preliminary ideas about the communities or practices that would ground this work.

—Your resume or CV

—Two (2) work samples (See Application Form for details)

—Contact information for the two (2) people writing you letters of recommendation. (Please select two recommenders as soon as possible, giving them ample time to write and submit your letters!)

—OPTIONAL: A paragraph explaining your request for financial aid to cover the program tuition. Be as detailed as possible to help us understand the circumstances of your needs.

For any questions about the application form or how to apply, please send us an inquiry via the form below.

Finalists will be interviewed via Zoom the last week of February and the first week of March; the first registration payment will be due the second week of March.

Troizel Carr,

Troizel Carr, 2016. Photo by Hemi.

The real power, as you and I well know, is collective. I can’t afford to be afraid of you, nor you of me. If it takes head-on collisions, let’s do it. This polite timidity is killing us.

—Cherríe Moraga

Refusing to contain yourself and giving in to sprawl can be a political act. Forcing yourself into a conversation with the past version of yourself and creating a new road instead of building on top of the old one is, almost always, a political act.

—Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib

I believe in low theory in popular places, in the small, the inconsequential, the antimonumental, the micro, the irrelevant; I believe in making a difference by thinking little thoughts and sharing them widely. I seek to provoke, annoy, bother, irritate, and amuse; I am chasing small projects, micropolitics, hunches, whims, fancies.

― J. Jack Halberstam

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Questions? Contact us.