The Laundromat Project (the LP), an arts nonprofit that supports community-based projects across New York City, is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. For this milestone, the organization will relocate its headquarters to Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, after previously operating out of two separate locations in Harlem and the South Bronx.
The LP says it has committed to a 10-year lease in a storefront space located on Fulton Street in Bed-Stuy. Construction will begin on Thursday, October 1. Once opened, the organization plans to use the space to create collaborative programs with local arts and culture groups in the neighborhood; host community gatherings; offer art and community-building workshops; support artist commissions; and host exhibitions.
The relocation to Bed-Stuy will unify the LP’s activities under the same roof for the first time since its inception. The organization will continue to support artists from across the city.
“The Laundromat Project is thrilled to be returning to Bed-Stuy, a neighborhood with which we’ve been deeply entwined since our very beginnings as an organization, and home to such a rich arts and culture ecosystem,” said Kemi Ilesanmi, the LP’s Executive Director.
“We are eager to hold space for creativity and community building, especially in a post-pandemic future,” Ilesanmi continued. “We look forward to reconnecting and connecting with neighbors, finding our stride in the neighborhood, and amplifying the legacy of Bed-Stuy as a historically Black and culturally rich neighborhood.”
The LP was founded by Risë Wilson in 1999 with the idea that the organization would eventually operate a functioning neighborhood laundromat that housed community arts programming. In 2005, it was officially incorporated with the residency program Create Change, through which the LP provided resources and financial support for New York City artists — primarily of color — to make public projects in their local laundromats. Since then, the projects have spilled from laundromats out to other public spaces like libraries, community gardens, public plazas, and local cultural organizations, with nearly 30 programs hosted in Bed-Stuy. The current Create Change Open Call is accepting applications through October 18.
“Bed-Stuy has long been a space of black resilience, creativity, and entrepreneurship,” said Risë Wilson in a press release. “I look forward to the ways The LP will build on this history in a post-COVID reality, and inspire artists and neighbors alike to dream forward the world we want to live in.”