This past July, the Willow Arts Alliance and Weeksville Heritage Center hosted the 2016 Summer Arts Residency for 10 Fellows, selected from applicants from across the country to work with renowned Brooklyn poet and writer Aracelis Girmay.
During the three-day event, this group of literary fellows went through an intense series of writing classes, workshops, readings and a tour of the historic Weeksville Hunterfly houses, which date back to the early 1800s. The theme of the residency was “Memory, Culture, and Place.”
Weeksville is one of several new residencies created by the Willow Arts Alliance (a program of Willow Books) to provide multidisciplinary artists of color nurturing and inspiring environments in which to work, learn, meet other artists, and share ideas.
Look At Flatbush was invited as a guest to listen to the winning fellows recite their poems in front of a live audience and to meet with each artist to discuss their work during this inaugural event. In the coming weeks, Look at Flatbush will go beyond Flatbush into Crown Heights to shine a spotlight in a series of posts about the artists we were in conversation with at Weeksville.
The first featured fellow and scholarship winner, Gabriel Ramirez, is an Afro-Latino poet living in Brownsville, Brooklyn. He is also a fellow at the Watering Hole and Callaloo, a mentor and teaching artist at Urban World NYC. In this audio recording Gabriel reads the poem, Jon/G-D from his working manuscript, “Doves With Hooves” which was published in The Volta. Gabriel also talks about the relationship he has with his brother, Jon, who was diagnosed with Schizophrenia in 2013, what he’s been up to and his feelings about the Weeksville Arts residency program.