In 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), now in its fifth year, is a creative adaptation of this traditional model. Lakou NOU 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.
Positioning their own creative talents as a component of a collective commons, the artists, selected via an open call, further their own artistic visions while addressing neighborhood issues through support from community assets. HCX helps facilitate the formation of partnerships between selected artists and neighborhood entities, including community gardens, nonprofit organizations, small businesses, and local cultural institutions. These relationships engage artists with challenges and opportunities unique to each Lakou and afford access to valuable resources, such as spaces for exhibition or a platform for community conversations.
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, engagement in social practice, and implementation of community programming.