The Brooklyn Hi Art Machine is a project that began when we two artists, Mildred Beltré and Oasa DuVerney, began making art together in each others apartments and found that the activity made us better friends. As we shared stories and experiences through our work, we wondered if they could bring a similar experience to our other neighbors.
In the summer 2010 we co-founded a collaborative public art project that explores the possibility of art making as a community-building tool. The Brooklyn Hi Art Machine is a community based social practice art project in Crown Heights Brooklyn. Our intention was to create a stronger community by giving people an opportunity to get to know each other through art activities.
Our goals are to create a greater connection between neighbors in our community and make art friendly and accessible to all. We believe that by becoming active, collective participants in art making, members of the community can find new ways to relate to each other and new uses of space.
Group projects are a way of combating the social isolation that leads to suspicion amongst neighbors as opposed to cooperation. By engaging our neighbors on the street, we facilitate conversation and trust which is often lost when a community is undergoing big transitions and upheaval. As with the community of Crown Heights which is now undergoing rapid change and gentrification.