When was the last time you walked past a laundromat? Did you set foot or take a look inside? If so, you might be surprised by what you find. The Laundromat Project is a New York City non-profit arts organization that’s turning laundromats into community hubs for creativity.
Through their commitment to the well-being of people living on low incomes and understanding that creativity can play a large part in raising their quality of life, The Laundromat Project brings art programs to those without broad access to mainstream arts and cultural facilities to build vibrant neighbourhoods, thriving economies and healthy human beings.
Works in Progress are hands-on workshops to make art education more readily available regardless of income, age or background; the public programs include visual literacy and studio art courses, and a drop-in series which takes place each Sunday afternoon from June to August. The Laundromat Project is also piloting a five-week after-school arts program for Harlem teens this year.
Create Change, an artist residency program in the Greater New York Area and Philadelphia, is aimed at building meaningful connections between artists of colour and their communities. Professional Development Fellows participate in monthly workshops to discuss having socially-minded creative practices, and through knowledge exchange learn about both the arts and social justice sectors while expanding their personal and professional networks. Public Artists in Residence, in addition to being part of the monthly professional development workshops, apply their learning to art projects at their local laundromat to engage neighbours and laundry patrons in the creative process, and actively create socially relevant art unique to their community.