Manhattan Community Arts Breakfast, 2022. Photo credit: Gregory Gentert

The October 18 event will honor recipients of LMCC’s 2023 Creative Engagement, Creative Learning, and UMEZ Arts Engagement grants and 2023 SU-CASA program.

LMCC (Lower Manhattan Cultural Council) is pleased to announce the 12th Annual Manhattan Community Arts Breakfast, a breakfast gathering celebrating the organization’s 2023 recipients of its SU-CASA creative aging program and Creative Engagement, Creative Learning, and UMEZ Arts Engagement Manhattan-focused grants. Featuring performances and opportunities to seed new collaborations and network, the morning event recognizes the meaningful contributions LMCC’s grantees have made with and for their Manhattan communities in 2023. Bringing together LMCC funders, grantees, and community partners, the Manhattan Community Arts Breakfast will be held on October 18, 2023 from 10 am-12 pm at The Arts Center at Governors Island. More than 300 grantees working within dance, music, literature, theater, visual art, and multidisciplinary practices will be recognized, a sign of LMCC’s deep impact and connection with its widespread Manhattan community. Guest speakers will include Commissioner Laurie Cumbo of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) and leaders from the New York City CouncilNew York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone (UMEZ), and Howard Gilman Foundation. The event will also highlight performances by two grantees:

Sugar Hill Salon, a chamber music series that centers black and brown woodwind artistry in classical music and brings free in-person and live-streamed concerts to Harlem

binbinFactory, a choreography and multicultural collaboration between the conscious and unconscious mind, and a fusion of elements of Eastern and Western culture.

This year, LMCC awarded over $1,900,000 through its Manhattan Arts Grants and SU-CASA program in funding provided by NYSCA, DCLA in partnership with the New York City Council and Department for the Aging (DFTA), UMEZ, and Howard Gilman Foundation.

Through Creative Engagement, LMCC’s largest program, 245 artists and arts nonprofits received grants totaling an investment of over $1,200,000. The Creative Learning grants supported 31 teaching artists and small arts organizations, totalling $180,000. The council’s third grant program, UMEZ Arts Engagement, focused on increasing artistic production in Upper Manhattan, awarded 64 artists and organizations, totalling $300,000. The programs prioritize funding for projects that amplify the cultural contributions of Manhattan’s diverse Black, Indigenous, and Immigrant populations with over half of this year’s grant recipients rooted in these communities.

Projects supported by LMCC’s Manhattan Arts Grants mark a return to frequent arts programming and activities in Manhattan, from the hyper-local to far reaching and across a range of artistic disciplines, genres, cultural traditions, and levels of experience. Together, the 2023 Manhattan Arts Grants projects will provide opportunities for over 800,000 members of the public to engage with and experience arts events.

2023 LMCC Arts Grants & Recipients
● The Creative Engagement grant provides direct funding to individual artists and small nonprofit organizations for projects and activities that offer Manhattan communities diverse artistic experiences. Each year the program supports more than 150 arts projects in Manhattan.

LMCC’s 2023 Creative Engagement cohort comprised 245 grantees, including:

Zishun Ning’s documentary about immigrant home care workers’ lives and struggle, a four-day screening event that will take place in the heart of Manhattan Chinatown, showing a film about immigrant Chinese home attendants organizing against the racist violence in the form of the most abhorrent working conditions—24-hour workdays.

Adam Ashraf Elsayigh’s Alaa: You Have Not Yet Been Defeated, a documentary play that will adapt Abd El-Fattah’s personal testimonials with his anthology “Not Defeated,” dramatizing Egypt’s most high profile political prisoner’s struggle for freedom.

Ian Dominique Castelo’s THE METRANSVERSE: The Neo-Renaissance of The Transgender, a collection of personal works that create an immersive art exhibit that aims to uplift POC TGI folks and their bodies of work.

Elliott McGee Casanova’s Arepa Coalition Dance Project, an interactive and choreographic Afro-Venezuelan hybrid performance that combines culinary, storytelling, and dance; including Venezuelan music (tambores/tonadas) with contemporary tunes.

●  The Creative Learning grant supports the increased capacity and development of Manhattan’s teaching artists and small arts organizations to provide community-based arts education projects and programming for participants of any age.

The 2023 Creative Learning cohort comprised 31 grantees, including:

Sizhu Li’s 3D Basics Mask Project, a bilingual weekly fundamental sculpture workshop, for the Chinatown community.

Sloka Iyengar’s Contemporary Rasas, a series of sessions on Indian dance where participants will use the vocabulary of “Navarasa” (the nine emotions in Bharatanatyam) to express their feelings.

The Alston & Logan Foundation Inc.’s Cultivating Ujima, a series of open level workshops in African dance and percussion in celebration of the Kwanzaa principle of Ujima (Swahilii for Collective Work and Responsibility).

Ra Ruiz Leon’s Anaba: a Hiwatahia-Taino Language Poetry Workshop, a 10-class series in the newly reconstructed Hiwatahia-Taino Indigenous language, culminating with a poetry reading and a printed anthology.

●  The UMEZ Arts Engagement grant enhances the diversity and frequency of arts and cultural presentations in Upper Manhattan by providing direct support to Upper Manhattan artists and nonprofit arts organizations.

The 2023 UMEZ Arts Engagement cohort comprised 64 grantees, including:

Barrio Independent Production’s Frenzy Fest, a unique bilingual theatrical andshort film festival intended to raise awareness of mental health.

Re-Entry Theater of Harlem’s theater program that, using social uplifting rituals such as rites of passage, supports individuals as they transition from prison back into society, to live as productive members in their communities.

Jenny Boissiere/DanceBoissiere’s Red Brass Dream, a 45-minute immersive dance and music performance by eight dancers and four musicians that explores the role of jazz dance and jazz music in collective liberation, with choreography by Jenny Boissiere and music composed by Jerrick Matthews.

Marjorie Eliot’s 31st Annual Jazz the Mansion, an annual 2-day concert celebrating life on the grounds of the historic Morris-Jumel Mansion.

2023 LMCC SU-CASA Art Residency

A community arts program that connects older adults with a variety of artistic disciplines, SU-CASA develops collaborations between artists and senior centers by awarding funds for the creation and delivery of arts programming for older adults. Featuring 30 artists in senior centers throughout Manhattan, the 2023 program supported five-month residencies leading to public showcases of the created work in June 2023. Since the program’s inception, SU-CASA has supported over 200 artists, engaging over 500 older adults each year.

The 2023 SU-CASA Artists in Residence included:

Ash Marinaccio’s Documentary Theatre Workshops at Carter Burden Luncheon Older Adult Center in the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

JoAnna Powell’s Rhythms Of Life Dance Circle at Central Harlem Kennedy Older Adult Center in Upper Manhattan.

Sika Foyer’s Quilting Our Stories Together at Goddard Riverside Older Adult Center.

BodyStories: Teresa Fellion Dance’s My Creative Aging, Dance your Journey at the Center at Lenox Hill Older Adult Center in the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

“Funding is essential to artists’ longevity in New York City. Every one of these programs helps artists receive compensation and support for their invaluable work. The annual Manhattan Community Arts Breakfast celebrates those possibilities and promising connections,” said Craig T. Peterson, President of LMCC.

“LMCC acts in service of what artists, organizations, and community members can create together. Our regranting programs set guideposts for what community engaged art can be, what publicly funded art can embrace, and who gets recognized for such collective practices,” said Ana Fiore, Director of Artist Services.


Founded in 1973 by Flory Barnett with support from David Rockefeller, Sr. and Chase Manhattan Bank, New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), and other local business and civic leaders, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) was built on the premise that artists were pillars of resilience and inspiration and therefore vital to New York City. For almost five decades, LMCC has advanced their vision to serve, connect, and make space for artists and communities in NYC through programs that deepen artists’ creative practices and afford them opportunities to share their process and work with local communities.

LMCC’s Manhattan Arts Grants are supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone (UMEZ), and the Howard Gilman Foundation.

SU-CASA is a collaboration among the New York City Council, the Department of Cultural Affairs, the Department for the Aging and the City’s local arts councils. This program is administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and supported by public funds from the New York City Council in partnership with the Department of Cultural Affairs and the Department for the Aging.