EMERGENYC is an incubator and affinity network for socially engaged artists to develop their creative voice, explore the intersections of art and activism, and connect to a thriving community of BIPOC, migrant, and LGBTQIA+ practitioners who challenge dominant narratives through cultural resistance. 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. Through in-person and virtual annual programs, EMERGENYC 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 engaged in artistic world-making together.
In the fourteen years since its founding, our cohorts of emerging practitioners have learned from artist, scholar, and activist george emilio sánchez, as well as other leading practitioners, including Carmelita Tropicana, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Karen Finley, Tim Miller, Favianna Rodríguez, Daniel Alexander Jones, Avram Finkelstein, Ebony Noelle Golden, and Anna Deavere Smith, to name a few.
EMERGENYC is entering its next stage of evolution and growth. We are expanding out from our flagship annual training program towards building a robust network of intergenerational artists and like-minded institutions that can mentor and support our Emergers as they bring their ideas and urgencies into professional art, activist, and community settings. In its expanded form, EMERGENYC seeks to address a gap in the commitment to radical cultural change: While there is support for individual projects and artists doing transformative cultural work, there are not adequate structures for harnessing the collective power of these diverse emerging artists, nor building the continuity of support that will allow them to take the necessary risks at the core of their practice, develop and present their work, and build power by strengthening their collaborative communities. Building this network of advocacy, support, continued growth, mentorship, and opportunity for bold, politically committed artist-activists who address inequity is the work of EMERGENYC.
We are exploring innovative collaborations with organizations for new artist residencies, workshops, mentorship, performance series, and cohorts beyond our core program, which will serve artists of diverse communities.
STEFA, 2019. Photo by Alexei Taylor.
Marlène is a Puerto Rican cultural producer, artist, and educator based in Brooklyn, New York. She is the Founding Director of EMERGENYC, an incubator and network for emerging artists-activists in New York City and beyond, focused on developing the voice and artistic expression of people of color, women, and LGBTQAI+ folks. In 2021, she brought the incubator to BAX | Brooklyn Arts Exchange, where she is currently part of the leadership staff as Director of EMERGENYC and Practice Lab. Marlène is also co-founding director of Fulana, a Latina satire collective, and Director of Implementation of the Latinx Arts Consortium of New York, a network of arts organizations dedicated to knowledge exchange, resource sharing, and collective action. Through Mujer Que Pregunta, she uses Tarot as a tool for visioning and works as a Process Doula for artists, scholars, and cultural workers as they shape their ideas, clarify their purpose, and make sure their projects align with the goals of their practice. She serves on the Board of Directors of the National Performance Network, and on the Board of Advisors of The Action Lab and the Center for Artistic Activism. In 2018, she curated “Cuerpxs Radicales: Radical Bodies in Performance,” a live art series presented at the Brooklyn Museum in conjunction with the Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985 exhibition.
george emilio sánchez
george emilio sánchez has been the Performance Director and Lead Instructor of EMERGENYC’s flagship program since its inception in 2008. george is a writer, performance artist, and social justice activist. He began making original pieces in 1992 and has continued making performance work and social justice projects to this day. He is currently in the process of crafting a new performance series titled “Performing the Constitution.” As the Abrons Social Practice AIR he works with youth groups on the Lower East Side to use the arts as a restorative tool while addressing the reality and trauma of gun violence. For the past two years, he organized and facilitated BANG BANG GUN AMOK, a 24-hour performance filibuster on gun culture. He is a Professor in the Performing and Creative Arts Department where he served as the chairperson for 12 years. george’s work has been presented by theaters and museums in over 25 states and has received support from National Performance Network, the Fulbright Program (Peru), New York Foundation for the Arts, the Jerome Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation.
What can we do better together than alone? How can we join forces to strengthen our work and the field at large?
If you’re supporting BIPOC or queer emerging artists anywhere in the US, let’s talk! How can we—together—be better connective tissue for these fierce world-makers? What are you already doing that EMERGENYC can amplify? What do you need that we might have? Who can we introduce to one another? To the artists we work with? Contact us through the form below!