Archive for the ‘Lakou NOU’ Category

2019 Lakou NOU | KONÈKTIF by Jonathan Michel


Jonathan Michel (East Flatbush) is a Haitian-American bassist, composer and arranger. Along with his work on the local Philadelphia and New York scenes, Jon has spent much of the past few years touring and serving residencies around the world. Born in the USA to Haitian Immigrant parents, he has spent time studying Black American, Western Classical and African music. Jon describes his voice as an exploration between cultures, technique and tradition. While each musical opportunity presents unique challenges, goals and lessons, his aim remains the same: to honor the masters of the music and to share his Haitian culture.  

In 1977 after getting married, Jonathan Michel’s parents Joseph and Marie moved into an apartment on Crown St and Utica Ave. 40 years later, shortly after getting married, Jon and his wife moved into an apartment on Rutland Rd and Troy Ave, unknowingly  just a few blocks from where his parents began their family life.  

“My goal in this residency to to inform and educate myself and others about our roots in EF as Haitian Americans, as well as to show the elders that we are a continuation of their work.” 

Through his Lakou NOU project, Michel will explore the roots of the Haitian community in EF through personal connection and the experiences of EF residents. Konèktif will open the dialogue between generations and help unlock the potential that dialogue can bring towards strengthening our community. 

Konèktif will activate East Flatbush as a site for intergenerational relationship building through outdoor performances, conversations and folk music shared by Haitian elders, and a public performance of community archived Haitian music and song shared by an intergenerational band comprised of professional musicians and East Flatbush community members. 

If you are interested in participating in Konèktif, please contact Jonathan Michel at jonmichelmusic [at] 

Stay tuned for upcoming Konèktif event dates!

Posted in Arts, Events, HCX Programs, Lakou NOU, Music, Public Forums, Youth Programs | No Comments »

Lakou NOU 2019 Application is now OPEN!


Screen Shot 2018-11-29 at 9.49.19 PMIn rural Haiti, the Lakou communal living system embodies the intersection of land, family, and spirituality.  Lakou members develop reciprocal patterns of resource sharing and jointly work the land.  Lakou NOU (“Our Yard” in Haitian Creole), HCX’s newest program, is a creative adaption of this traditional model. This project provides four artists of Haitian descent with the opportunity to create and present new work by connecting their skills and talents to four historically underserved Brooklyn neighborhoods, home to generations of Haitians and Haitian-Americans: Crown Heights, Canarsie, East Flatbush, and Flatbush. 

In 2016, the programs inaugural year, Lakou NOU artists produced diverse multidisciplinary projects that drew connections between artistic practice and neighborhood concerns. Drumming set the tone for discussions about health and wellness in Canarsie. Dance navigated the topic of state-sanctioned violence in East Flatbush. Storytelling and video art explored gentrification that is taking place in Crown Heights. Over ten partners, including high schools, tenant organizing groups, libraries, and the national non-profit StoryCorps, were enlisted by our Lakou NOU artists to help them work with local residents toward addressing community issues and building on neighborhood strengths.

This year, Lakou NOU artists will be provided with a stipend of $7,000 for creating new art; the development, implementation, documentation, and evaluation of projects; access to a network of other artists, community leaders, and local organizations; a platform to showcase their work to varied audiences; and the opportunity to develop leadership skills while becoming more acquainted with social issues affecting Brooklyn communities.

Artists in residence also interact with each other as a cohort through discussion and support around topics relevant to Lakou NOU projects and participate in HCX-facilitated professional development opportunities. Topics include tools for cultural preservation, art in public spaces, engaging in social practice, and implementation of community programming.

Application & Notification Timeline:

December 2018 – January 14th @ Midnight 2019: Applications are completed and submitted

January – February 2019: Applications are reviewed and cohort is announced

March 2019: Orientation for Lakou NOU residents; professional development series begins

Applicant Guidelines

Selection Criteria:

– Artistic excellence and originality
– Residence in or a demonstrated relationship with the Lakou NOU communities
– An artistic practice rooted in community, collaboration, and dialogue
– Identification as an artist of Haitian decent working in any artistic discipline 

Additional Requirements: 

– Artists are not required to live in the targeted “Lakou” neighborhoods (Crown Heights, Flatbush, East Flatbush, or Canarsie), BUT must live in the greater New York City area.
– Artists must demonstrate interest in and commitment to Crown Heights, Flatbush, East Flatbush, and/or Canarsie neighborhoods.

How do I apply?


Applications may be submitted in two ways: 

OPTION 1: Written Submission Applications may be submitted as a written application in a PDF file.

OPTION 2: Video Submission:  Applications may be submitted as a video response in MP4, AVI, MOV, FLV file formats. Video submissions may be in English or Kreyòl. Videos should be no longer than 20 minutes in length.

Responses must demonstrate a detailed and organized thought process. Applications should be submitted to Régine M. Roumain at

Application Assistance 

In an effort to increase accessibility to this opportunity, HCX will be offering application assistance open hours. If you have specific questions, issues with access to technology, or require language assistance, please contact to  make an appointment for in-person help from an HCX staff member on Thursday, December 13 between 11am-7pm. 

Assistance is also available online. If you have any questions or concerns, please email Régine M. Roumain at or call 347-565-4429

To learn about past Lakou NOU projects, visit our Archives.



Lakou NOU Funders 2018

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Lakou NOU 2018 | Lakay Nou: Creating Flatbush Island Through Cultural Identity by Madjeen Isaac


Lakay Nou by Madjeen Isaac

Join Haiti Cultural Exchange’s Lakou NOU 2018 artist in residence Madjeen Isaac for an art exhibition and open discussion regarding cultural identity.

What if Flatbush were its own Island? This exhibition of the Flatbush area reveals a juxtaposition between urban and tropical landscape. Unusual yet nostalgic because it feels like home. From merchants selling herbs and vegetables on the street, to cab drivers transitioning from tap-taps to dollar vans, these small businesses provide leeway for immigrants to adapt and work towards new opportunities. These paintings serve as a learning point about the lives of Haitian immigrants and first generation Americans residing within the community.

DATE/TIME: Friday, October 19, 6-9PM
LOCATION: Beverley Social Club | 1016 Beverly Rd | Brooklyn, NY MAP
That the Q train to Beverly Rd Station, turn left and walk 5 blocks.

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Madjeen Isaac (Flatbush) specializes in oil painting, as she focuses on creating images based on her Haitian American culture. Growing up in a neighborhood where it is predominantly Caribbean immigrants, Isaac allowed her process to give her a sense of purpose from the memories and cultures that have shaped her. She says, “Flatbush is where I have lived most of my life. Flatbush is a place that emits culture and hustle. Overtime, I have developed a concern for immigrant youth and children of immigrants, becoming “Americanized” or assimilated out of fear, without reflecting back on the culture of their ancestors”. Her works are based on celebrating one’s existence and differences while showing patronage to the Haitian culture. Madjeen currently attends the Fashion Institute of Technology, and is expected to receive her BFA in Fine Art, May 2018.

Her Lakou NOU 2018 project, Lakay Nou: Creating Flatbush Island Through Cultural Identity, stems from her last two years at the Fashion Institute of Technology; the recent works she created there are based on Flatbush itself, “…the neighborhood that has shaped me as well as contributed to my Haitian American upbringing.” Throughout her artistic journey, the cultural fusion she’s created with Brooklyn and Haiti landscapes allowed for her to tap into how her Haitian roots are manifested within everyday life in Brooklyn, and how immigrants have rebuilt their lives after settling in Flatbush.

She says:

The inherited lifestyle of hustle that Caribbean immigrants seem to withhold reveals their resilience through their long standing businesses such as, their transportation services known as tap-taps, storefront churches and merchants selling herbs in the street imported from the islands. All of which I have incorporated into my paintings. Although I was fully invested in the idea of merging both urban and tropical, my process also allowed for me to compare my younger self and my present self. Breaking barriers of stigmatism I’ve always been taught to believe of the place my parents came from. I realized that during my painting journey, the works I’ve created were deeper than merging two worlds together. It allowed for me to understand why preserving my observations and showcasing my perspective was crucial for me to claim my Haitian American identity.

Her focus as Lakou NOU artist-in-residence working in  Flatbush, will be to expand her work by focusing primarily on Haitian youth. She will be facilitating art making workshops with a core group, guiding them to weave in the parts of their culture that are not so obviously relatable nor taught at school. These workshops will cover topics as such, “ how will the youth go about exploring their culture and forming their own identities? ” and “ how can art making be a catalyst in forming narratives about the Flatbush community in the perspective of the youth?”

Posted in Archive, HCX Programs, Lakou NOU, Uncategorized | No Comments »

Lakou NOU 2018 | Temporary Protected Status by Stefani Saintonge


stefani saintonge flyer
Join Haiti Cultural Exchange’s Lakou NOU 2018 artist in residence  Stefani Saintonge for a discussion and screening on deportations & TPS.

Throughout 2018, Stefani Saintonge has gathered anecdotes from TPS holders and their family members in Crown Heights and throughout Brooklyn, documenting their journey to the US, their work since arriving here and their current state in order to highlight the human stories behind this issue. Some of these interviews were conducted on camera, based on the comfort level of participants. Saintonge has also looked to capture knowledge from field experts and community leaders on the current state of relations between Haitian immigrants and the US.

Saintonge will offer select excerpts from interviews and observational footage and join in discussion  with organizers Albert Saint-Jean (BAJI, Black Alliance for Just Immigration) and Janay Cauthen (former wife of Jean Montrevil, Co-Founder of New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City).

DATE/TIME: Saturday, December 8, 3PM
LOCATION: Brooklyn Children’s Museum | 145 Brooklyn Ave | Brooklyn, NY MAP
Take the 3 to Kingston Ave, A/C to Nostrand Ave, or C to Kingston/Throop Aves.

TPS by Stefani

Stefani Saintonge (Crown Heights) is a Haitian-American filmmaker and educator. In 2014 she won the ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Discovery Award for her short film, Seventh Grade. Her documentary, La Tierra de los Adioses, won Best Latin American Short Documentary at the Festival Internacional de Cine en el Desierto. Her work, which focuses on women, youth and immigration, has screened at several festivals in the US and abroad. A member of New Negress Film Society, she is a recipient of the Jerome Foundation Film and Video Grant, and works as an educator and adjunct professor in New York. She holds an MFA in Documentary Film Studies and Production.

For her Lakou NOU project, she intends to research current TPS holders as well as community leaders and activists fighting to have it extended.

There are currently 58,000 Haitians with Temporary Protected Status (TPS), with 20,000 living in New York. The US granted TPS in response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake, which declared that any Haitian immigrant residing in the US without permanent residency could apply. The Obama administration had consistently extended the program, but the Trump administration intends to put a stop to it leaving the 58,000 at risk to losing their documentation. TPS is due to end by July 2019 making this year a crucial moment.

From May to August 2018, she will work within Brooklyn particularly Crown Heights to gather anecdotes from TPS holders and their family members documenting their journey to the US, their work since arriving here and their current state in order to highlight the human stories behind this issue. The interviews will be conducted on and off camera depending on the comfort level of participants. She will also interview people in Haiti inquiring on their plans in case their family member is forced to return.

In addition, she will conduct on-camera interviews with experts and community leaders.

She plans to bring together the TPS families she would have been working with for 2-3 private events where they can meet each other, connect and share in an attempt at collectivizing. She will invite a community organizer for one event to do training on self-advocacy, and, an additional event will feature a community healer for a group talk on strategies for managing anxiety amongst state violence.

During her final project event, she will present the resulting footage at a space in Crown Heights for a public, educational forum on the current status of TPS to inform audiences interested in the struggle. The event will blend facts, personal anecdotes, excerpts from interviews and observational footage. She will also invite willing TPS holders as well as community leaders to participate in the forum.

The goal at the end of her residency will be to generate an audio/ visual record of current Haitian TPS holders as well as use the collected footage as foundational research for a possible in-depth film to be completed in the future.

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