What is Abolitionist Place?
As part of the creation of a new public space in Downtown Brooklyn - Abolitionist Place - the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Percent for Art program has commissioned artist Kameelah Janan Rasheed to design a permanent public artwork engaging with the neighborhood's abolitionist history, building on the work of the In Pursuit of Freedom project. Rasheed has proposed text-based public art installation - Questions Worth Having Answers To - featuring engraved text throughout the open space, plus a free-standing structure, inspired by the area’s abolitionist history.
Read more about the plans for Abolitionist Place here.
Why is there public programming?
As part of this project, Rasheed will spend the months of January, February, and March 2022 speaking with community.
The goal of the public programming is to hear from different communities about how they are making sense of abolitionist pasts, abolitionist presents, and abolitionist futures in order for me to generate the text to be engraved and featured on the free-standing structure.
To participate in our public programming, please see below. To ensure safety during these COVID-19 times, all events will be conducted via Zoom.
In addition to directly connecting with community groups and residents in the area, Rasheed will offer a number of opportunities for anyone to participate in engagement remotely.
◠ Google Form: Share your ideas anytime with this form.
◠ Send an Email: email@example.com
◠ Leave a Message: (347) 926-3137
◠ Schedule a Call: Visit Calendly to find a time for you or your organization to speak with me.
During this project introduction, Rasheed will describe the trajectory of this public art project in relation to Brooklyn’s abolitionist history and her ongoing practice. There will be 20-30 minutes set aside for a moderated Q&A.
◠ Monday, February 7, 2022 (5-6pm EST): Project Introduction | Register Here
◠ Monday, January 24, 2022 (6-7pm EST): Project Introduction | Register HereAbolition Study Group
This study group begins in the spirit of Dr. Ruthie Gilmore’s assertion that “Abolition is about abolishing the conditions under which prison became the solution to problems rather than abolishing the buildings we call prisons.” Likewise, the work of abolishing slavery was not solely about ending chattel slavery in the United States, but about abolishing the conditions which legitimized and propped up chattel slavery. In this study group, we will engage with texts (video, articles, poems, etc.) and participate in collaborative activities to explore the past, present, and futures of abolition.
◠ POSTPONED! Sunday, January 30 (5-7pm EST): Attend an abolition study group session | Sign Up
◠ Sunday, February 6 (2-4pm EST): Attend an abolition study group session | Sign Up
◠ POSTPONED! Sunday, February 20 (5-7pm EST): Attend an abolition study group session | Sign Up
◠ Sunday, March 6 (2-4pm EST): Attend an abolition study group session | Sign Up
An Ongoing Collection of Articles about the Project
- Artist begins three-month public engagement process for contentious Abolitionist Place Installation (Brooklyn Paper, January 31, 2022)
- The Art Design for Abolitionist Place in Brooklyn Moves Forward (The New York Times, January 28, 2022)
- Activists Protest Plans for a Dog Run Next to Abolitionist Home in Downtown Brooklyn (The Brownstoner, January 20, 2022)
- Willoughby Sq. Renamed Abolitionist Place, But Activists Say History Is Not Being Honored (BK Reader, June 23, 2021)
- A Monument Honoring Brooklyn Abolitionists Stalls Under Scrutiny (The New York Times, January 25, 2021)
- Preservationists slam city's D'town art proposal for glossing (BK Reader, January 20, 2021)