Almost Home / Casi Llegando a Casa

Engaging Artists Projects

Almost Home / Casi Llegando a Casa

Almost Home/Casi Llegando a Casa was a series of storytelling, oral history, art, and video workshops that took place in locations throughout Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, and Corona, Queens. The project highlighted the struggles and victories of community organizing against gentrification and displacement, criminalization, and hyper-policing of immigrant communities, and aimed to strengthen community connections through public programs, participatory art, and documentary films.
Artists
Bridget Bartolini & Priscila Stadler
When

2016 – 2018

Where

Jackson Heights, Elmhurst and Corona, Queens, NY.

Almost Home, Bridget Bartolini and Priscilla Stadler, with Milton X. Trujillo, 2016 - 2018.
  • Project description
  • About the artist
Almost Home, Bridget Bartolini and Priscilla Stadler, with Milton X. Trujillo, 2016 - 2018.

Almost Home/Casi Llegando a Casa was a storytelling, oral history, art, and video series presenting story-sharing and art-making workshops from April-July 2017 in different locations throughout Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, and Corona, and a culminating celebration in January 2018.

Exploring the meaning of “home” through telling the powerful stories of the challenges that communities face, and inspiring victories that local organizers have won, Almost Home/Casi Llegando a Casa aimed to strengthen community connections through public programs, participatory art, and documentaries that examined themes of vulnerability, resilience, and resistance.

Almost Home highlighted the struggles and victories of community organizing against gentrification and displacement, criminalization, and hyper-policing of immigrant communities in Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, and Corona, Queens. The project aimed to support the local organizing movement for housing justice and the human rights of immigrants.

The project was developed by 2016 Engaging Artists Fellows Bridget Bartolini and Priscilla Stadler, with Milton X. Trujillo, in collaboration with Queens Neighborhoods United, a grassroots coalition, with support from Citizens Committee for New York City.

Bridget Bartolini & Priscila Stadler

Bridget Bartolini is a socially engaged artist, educator, and aspiring oral historian who uses story-sharing to strengthen community connections. Inspired by her love for New York City, her belief in the power of storytelling as a tool for social justice, and her frustration with the lack of cultural programming in areas like her home neighborhood in Queens, Bridget launched the Five Boro Story Project in 2013. Under the Five Boro Story Project, she produces community storytelling events that bring New Yorkers together through sharing true stories and art inspired by our neighborhoods. Her creative process involves working with community members, organizers, activists, and artists to collaboratively create tributes to the people and places that make up our homes. Bridget holds a Masters in Community Education from Columbia University’s Teachers College, and was a 2013 Create Change Fellow and 2014 Commissioned Artist with The Laundromat Project, a 2015-16 Creative Community Fellow with National Arts Strategies, and an artist in residence with More Art’s Engaging Artists 2016 Housing Justice Residency. She received the More Art Prize for Public Art in 2017, and in 2018 joined the Oral History Masters Program at Columbia University.

Priscila Stadler
Whether making buildings from cheesecloth, envisioning underground networks between fungi and tree roots, or designing open-ended dialogues as starting points for reflection and community activism, Priscilla Stadler explore the resilient and precarious structures of connectedness - sometimes among humans,and sometimes among plants.

Through exploring landscapes -whether the ones imagined underground or in NYC's contested streets - Stadler has learned that things that appear delicate (cloth, communities, and seedlings) can be much tougher and more resilient than they seem.

  • Public Programs

Almost Home Culminating Celebration
Saturday, January 27, 6:00-8:30pm
D’Antigua, 84-16 Northern Blvd, Jackson Heights

The Almost Home/Casi Llegando a Casa culminating celebration featured interactive art, and storytelling, music, and poetry performances by notable Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, and Corona residents who told powerful stories about gentrification, displacement, immigration, activism and housing justice in our neighborhoods.

FREE EVENT

Featuring:

* Goussy Célestin – Haitian-American, Brooklyn-born, Jackson Heights-based “Renaissance Woman” who interchanged the roles of pianist, composer, vocalist, dancer, and arranger.

* Shekar Krishnan – community activist, tenant lawyer, and co-chair of Friends of Diversity Plaza who led efforts to bring Jackson Heights neighbors together around this unique public space.

* Yessica Martinez – poet and teaching artist originally from Medellin, Colombia, who has lived in Corona since she migrated to the United States at age ten.

* Leticia Ochoa – activist with Queens Neighborhoods United and daughter of a street vendor on Roosevelt Avenue widely known as La Chola Cuencana.

* Esneider X – Colombian-born social movement activist, Queens food tour guide, and vocalist in punk band Huasipungo.

Following performances by featured artists, the public was invited to add their voice to the open mic!

Throughout the event, people could experience the pop-up art “Fragile City” installation by Priscilla Stadler, live painting by Oscar Toro, and a “City of Stories” activity that invited to collaboratively build a city by adding stories to a paper building.

Sunday, April 23, 5:00-7:00pm
Manhattan Cocktail Lounge (formerly Tempo Libero)
88-08 Roosevelt Ave, Jackson Heights

The artists led the second round of story circles where participants shared experiences, listen to each others stories, and discussed the challenges of resisting the forces of gentrification rapidly changing the neighborhoods of Jackson Heights, Corona, and Elmhurst, Queens.

This was a free workshop, open to all, with yummy refreshments from El Toro Bravo.

Sunday, April 30, 11:00am-4:00pm
Park of the Americas, 41-98 104th St, Corona
(at the corner of 104th St & 42nd Ave)

At Queens Se Defiende / Defend QueensAlmost Home joined local community and grassroots groups offered a story-sharing workshop following a presentation by Queens Neighborhoods United and Queens Is Not For Sale. The presentations began at 1:30pm, followed by a story circle in the park.
Organized by ICE Free Queens in collaboration with Free University of NYC, this was a day of interactive presentations and family activities.

Saturday, June 17, 12:00-3:00pm
Flushing Meadows Corona Park
(near Queens Zoo entrance at 111th St, btwn 54th & 56th Avenues)

The public told their story, and got free food from a BBQ! They came and enjoyed a day in the park, exchanged a story for food, met neighbors, joined conversations about our ever-changing neighborhoods, and made their voice part of a collaborative City of Stories installation.

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