Could you use a side of coffee with your community activism? El Museo de Los Sures a compact museum nestled in south Williamsburg, will be offering up free java as a ‘coffee co-op’ for the next four months. Part of a project curated by Juliana Cope, Director of Development and Program Manager at the International Studio and Curatorial Program, the “Aridoamerica Winter Plan” is the concept of Fran Ilich, a Tijuana born, New York-based media artist and writer. In a recent talk at the museum, Ilich spoke about his hopes for the space to be a place to convene during this time of “transition to a new global climate.”
Aridoamerica is part of an ongoing project that is built on the double mission of experimenting with financial and social structures in order to support and expand the scope and reach of the arts. Inspired by the ancient Nahuatl game of Patolli, the project aspires to spark discourse among visitors and neighbors, and gives all an opportunity to participate in an alternative micro-economy.
The south side of Williamsburg is a particulary fitting locale for Winter Plan, as its tradition of utilizing the arts to propel social justice is vibrant and enduring despite a transitioning community. El Museo de Los Sures itself was made possible thanks to a partnership with the Southside United HDFC, an organization that celebrates the roots of the Los Sures community. The non-profit celebrated its 45th anniversary this year.
Reflecting on the show and its significance, the Executive Director of Southside United, Ramon Pequero, put it eloquently: “As I walked around and looked at the various artifacts and thought about the economic tone of the exhibition, the message that resonated was that we have to pause and ask what is valuable to us—family, interpersonal relationships—all of those things have value that cannot be codified. Los Sures gives value through affordable housing, social services and community organizing. What is valuable? I put that to the Los Sures history in the sense that we have a mission: we believe that affordable housing is valuable. It’s the cornerstone and basis for Los Sures.”
Using free coffee as a starting point to connecting with each other, it will be illuminating to see how the Aridoamerica Winter Plan sparks a conversation within the neighborhood in the coming months. Free organic Zapatista coffee will be available at the venue through March 30th.
Images courtesy of Jennifer Lauren and Juan Manuel Rios Villanueva