Mahogany L. Browne. Photo by Jennie Bergqvist.
Residency Draws on Experience as Poet and Organizer, Features In-person and Virtual Events, New Poetry Commissions from July through September
Featured Artists and Collaborators Include Richard Blanco, Aracelis Girmay, Rachel Eliza Griffiths, Isaac Fitzgerald, Terrance Hayes, Sarah Kay, Christine Platt, Liza Jessie Peterson, DJ Reborn, Crystal Valentine, Hank Willis Thomas, Jacqueline Woodson, V (formerly Eve Ensler), Vuyo Sotashe, & more
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts today announced Mahogany L. Browne as its first ever poet-in-residence. The residency, entitled “We Are The Work”, will feature a variety of in-person and virtual events, along with new poetry by Browne, commissioned specifically for the residency.
It is presented as part of Restart Stages, a program of the SNF-LC Agora Initiative with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), which activates outdoor space through artistic and community initiatives that speak to our current moment, and reimagines cultural engagement in public space for a new era.
For her residency, Browne has curated events that draw from her experience as a poet and activist—including a racial justice writing workshop, film screenings, a poetry jazz night, book readings of justice-oriented children’s books, and more. The residency opens on July 10 with a multipart roving artistic experience that showcases visual and literary artists as they investigate systems of oppression and includes art by Russell Craig, Rico Frederick, Eboni Hogan, and more. The event will be hosted by Browne, and features youth poetry performances as well as live music by DJ Reborn and Mylez Gittens.
“This residency will include all of the intersections that shaped my process as both artist and advocate,” said Mahogany L. Browne. “My landscape of being has been impacted by mass incarceration, poetry, social movement work, abolition, immigration, reclamation of joy, youth leadership, literacy, and mental wellness. This grouping of writers, artists, movement workers, experts, performers, and educators is a call to the frontline. We are collecting our heartbreaks, our anxieties, our fears, and our desires. We are growing this harvest of impossible humanity; this messy evolution that can grow so much goodness.”
Additional highlights include the Woke Baby Book Fair, a family-friendly celebration with book readings, a baby movement class led by Paris Alexandrea of BK Yoga Club, and a fresh produce giveaway from Seeds in the Middle; a conversation with V (formerly Eve Ensler), Yolanda Sealey Ruiz, and Idrissa Simmonds on Racial Equality Work in the Community and Classroom; and a jazz and spoken word event featuring Adam Falkner, Max Michael Jacob, Vuyo Sotashe, and Shanelle Gabriel. Film screenings include Wash the Dead, a short film by Mahogany L. Browne & Russell Craig on The GREEN. The culminating in-person event on September 10, How the Work Begins: A Revolutionary Concert, includes poet, DJ and activist, Jive Poetic, Resistance Revival Chorus, dance performances, film presentations, hands-on activities showcasing Words of Art and Brain Yoga, and readings by Isaac Fitzgerald, Jon Sands, and best-selling YA Authors.
“As we do our part to champion the cultural and economic comeback of our city, it’s incumbent upon us to ensure we’re supporting the voices, stories, and lived experiences of those whose artistry holds up a mirror to our world—even when those stories and experiences may be difficult to see,” said Jordana Leigh, Senior Director of Programming at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. “Poetry is a uniquely powerful art form. We are so fortunate to be working with Mahogany and the phenomenal group of artists she is convening.”
All events are free and open to the general public. Tickets to the event on July 10 are now available via the TodayTix Lottery or by calling Lincoln Center Guest Services at 212-875-5456.* To learn more about free tickets and access to the in-person and virtual events, please visit LincolnCenter.org/WeAreTheWork.
Since the pandemic began, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts has driven efforts to bring the power of the arts to New Yorkers outdoors and digitally—from Love From Lincoln Center concerts for individual essential workers to works of art that elevate the voices and lived experiences of people of color in America, such as Carrie Mae Weems’ installation Resist COVID/Take 6!, Davóne Tines’ Vigil, and digital commissions like The Baptism by Carl Hancock Rux. Future SNF-Lincoln Center Agora Initiative international collaborations with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens (SNFCC) will bring new approaches to cultural engagement in both cities. These are just the beginning of a reorientation towards prioritizing openness, access, and inclusive excellence—elevating talent from every corner of the globe and fostering a sense of radical welcome on the campus. The transatlantic exhibition, Faces of the Hero, a partnership with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) will be on view beginning in July, as will the new commission You Are Here, conceived by choreographer Andrea Miller.
“We Are The Work”
Mahogany L. Browne Residency
Schedule of Events
July 10, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
We Are The Work Opening
Sunken Plaza & Performance in Hearst Plaza
A live and roving artistic experience showcasing visual and literary artists as they investigate systems of oppression. The event includes musical performances, youth slam poets, and a poetry reading with Mahogany L. Browne and special guests. Artists include Russell Craig, Rico Frederick, Rachel Eliza Griffiths, Eboni Hogan, Caits Meissner, Migz, The Supremacy Project x Michael Boyd, DJ Reborn, and Mylez Gittens.
July 17 at 7:00 p.m.
Poetic Intersections – Online Premiere
On July 17, Browne hosts the first virtual event of her residency: Poetic Intersections, an online collection of poetry readings from some of the most compelling voices in the literary field and Browne’s personal literary heroes and colleagues. Experience the artists that teach, challenge, and fortify her as a mother, writer, and community organizer. Performers include: Terrance Hayes, Jon Sands, Richard Blanco, Tai Freedom Ford, Yesenia Montilla, Christina Olivares, Crystal Valentine, Roberto Carlos Garcia, Jive Poetic, Aricka Foreman, Jen Benka, Cathy Linh Che, Sarah Kay, Aracelis Girmay, and Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz.
July 24 at 7:00 p.m.
JUST:talk – Online Premiere
JUST:talk is the second virtual event of the season, premiering on July 24 at 7:00 p.m. Join us for a panel discussion on art as a form of social justice work, where leading art justice advocates give tips and insight on how the practice of art can be a transformative and powerful vehicle for change, and how to make these opportunities accessible to the community at-large. Guest speakers include: Cat Gund, Hank Willis Thomas, Tanya Selvaratnam. Moderated by Mahogany L. Browne.
July 31, 1:00 – 3:30 p.m.
Woke Baby Book Fair and Spoken Word Reading with Live Music
Outdoor Reading Room and Hearst Plaza
On the last Saturday of July, bring the kids to Lincoln Center for the Woke Baby Book Fair, a family-friendly celebration of justice-oriented children’s books curated by Mahogany L. Browne. The day’s events offer just the right balance of fun, play, and learning, with eight back-to-back book readings and signings by guest poets and authors in the Outdoor Reading Room and at the foot of Tisch Illumination Lawn, games and crafts, baby movement classes led by Paris Alexandrea of BK Yoga Club, live music for kids, and a fresh produce giveaway sponsored by Seeds in the Middle.
August 14 at 7:00 p.m.
A virtual photography viewing featuring the work of Jeff Kay accompanied by the poetry of Sarah Kay.
August 21, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Who Got the Jazz?
Jaffe Drive Jazz Café
Lincoln Center’s poet-in-residence Mahogany L. Browne curates this thought-provoking program of politically driven spoken word poetry and live music as a continuation of her ongoing residency. Scheduled guests will include the author and co-founder of the Dialogue Arts Project, Adam Falkner; featured HBO Def Poet, educator, and singers Shanelle Gabriel and Vuyo Sotashe; and the rising multi-disciplinary singer-songwriter, Samora Pinderhughes. A film installation showing Wash the Dead, a short film by Mahogany L. Browne & Russell Craig, runs all day.
August 28 at 7:00 p.m.
Are You Doing Your Work?
Join the virtual conversation with leaders who use their platforms to ignite change through poetry as a lens for racial and gender equity. Featuring V (formerly Eve Ensler), Yolanda Sealey Ruiz, and Idrissa Simmonds.
September 4, 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.
We Are The Work
Join us for a racial justice writing workshop and poetry open mic event, hosted by Adam Falkner and Mahogany L. Browne. The afternoon also includes poetic meditations, yoga and breathing exercises with Brooklyn Yoga, and an organic produce farm-box giveaway by Seeds In The Middle.
September 10, 7:00 – 9:30 p.m.
How the Work Begins: A Revolutionary Concert
Damrosch Park and The GREEN
The culminating in-person event on The GREEN and Damrosch Park stage includes Mahogany L. Browne alongside co-founder of the Brooklyn Poetry Slam, poet, DJ and activist, Jive Poetic, with Resistance Revival Chorus, dance performances, film presentations, hands-on activities showcasing Words of Art and Brain Yoga, and readings by Isaac Fitzgerald, Jon Sands, and best-selling YA Authors.
About Mahogany L. Browne
Mahogany L. Browne is the Executive Director of JustMedia, a media literacy initiative designed to support the groundwork of criminal justice leaders and community members. This position is informed by her career as a writer, organizer, & educator. Browne has received fellowships from Agnes Gund, Air Serenbe, Cave Canem, Poets House, Mellon Research & Rauschenberg. She is the author of recent works: Chlorine Sky, Woke: A Young Poets Call to Justice, Woke Baby, & Black Girl Magic. As the founder of the diverse lit initiative, Woke Baby Book Fair. Browne’s latest project is a poetry collection responding to the impact of mass incarceration on women and children: I Remember Death By Its Proximity to What I Love (Haymarket Books). She lives in Brooklyn, NY.
About Restart Stages
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is spearheading Restart Stages, a sweeping initiative creating 10 outdoor performance and rehearsal spaces—an outdoor performing arts center—as well as other civic venues to help kickstart the performing arts sector and contribute to the revival of New York City.
As one of New York City’s leading arts institutions and an anchor of its cultural and public life, Lincoln Center is embarking on this effort as a symbol of its commitment to the city and to an equitable revitalization that elevates all New Yorkers. Restart Stages is a major, public-facing component of its broader effort to provide resources in this moment not just to Lincoln Center’s resident companies, but to the performing arts community as a whole — helping get artists back to work and supporting institutions from Brooklyn to the Bronx to engage their communities in the elevating power of the arts.
Designed with expert advice from medical and public health professionals, Restart Stages will create a safe, welcoming, accessible, and dynamic environment for arts and community organizations from across New York City, including Lincoln Center resident companies.
The initiative is being developed in coordination with NY State PopsUp, part of Governor Cuomo’s New York Arts Revival, in a partnership to help extend reach of the initiative far beyond Lincoln Center’s campus.
Restart Stages is made possible through the generous support of the Lincoln Center Board of Directors and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) as part of the SNF-Lincoln Center Agora Initiative, a collaboration that reimagines and reactivates public space for a new era.
Select Restart Stages events are being offered via livestream on Lincoln Center and partner organization digital platforms, increasing access nationally and internationally, well beyond those able to travel to the physical campus. Visit RestartStages.org for more information.
* No purchase is necessary to enter the TodayTix Lottery and reserve free tickets for these July performances. The prize value of tickets is $0. The odds of winning tickets depend on the number of eligible entries received. The TodayTix Lottery is open to residents of the 50 United States and D.C., age 18 or over. Complete official rules, prize description, and giveaway entry information will be available on the TodayTix website at TodayTix.com.
Visit RestartStages.org for updates.
About Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is the steward of the world’s leading performing arts center, an artistic and civic cornerstone for New York City comprised of eleven resident companies on a 16-acre campus. The nonprofit’s strategic priorities include: supporting the arts organizations that call Lincoln Center home to realize their missions and fostering opportunities for collaboration across campus; championing inclusion and increasing the accessibility and reach of Lincoln Center’s work; and reimagining and strengthening the performing arts for the 21st century and beyond, helping ensure their rightful place at the center of civic life. LincolnCenter.org.
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Restart Stages is made possible by Stavros Niarchos Foundation-Lincoln Center Agora Initiative
Major support provided by First Republic Bank
Additional support provided by BNY Mellon, Cleary Gottlieb, Warburg Pincus, Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A.) Inc., the Scully Peretsman Foundation, Shari and Jeff Aronson, and Lincoln Center’s 20/21 Donors and Members
Endowment support is provided by Oak Foundation, PepsiCo Foundation, The Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Foundation, and Rockefeller Brothers Fund
In-kind support is provided by United Staging and Rigging, Worldstage, Inc., Audio, Inc., Hudson Scenic Studio, and TGIF Event Services
Lincoln Center’s artistic excellence is made possible by the dedication and generosity of our board members
Operation of Lincoln Center’s public plazas is supported in part with public funds provided by the City of New York
Public support for Lincoln Center is provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Gonzalo Casals, Commissioner, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature
NewYork-Presbyterian is the Official Hospital of Lincoln Center