“Tivoli: A Place We Call Home”
A multi-media exhibition of photographs, words and video documenting the people of Tivoli Towers, a 35-year-old apartment building in Crown Heights, will open at the Brooklyn Historical Society on February 11.
Tivoli is located in a neighborhood that once suffered harshly from lack of investment and the crack epidemic. Today, this same neighborhood is rapidly changing due to gentrification. Tivoli Towers is one of the few buildings in the neighborhood that has not been gentrified as yet, due to its status in the city-sponsored Mitchell-Lama affordable housing program. When the landlord recently tried to sell the building and remove it from the Mitchell-Lama Program, the tenants sued — and won. Since several NYC landlords have successfully removed their buildings from this program, this proved to be a landmark decision and important victory in 2005.
In May 2009, the tenants were informed that their landlord is going to appeal the case. If he wins, Tivoli Towers will no longer provide affordable housing for this diverse community of people. “Tivoli: A Place We Call Home” aims to put a face and identity on Tivoli’s tenants at the onset of gentrification in this Brooklyn neighborhood and will help answer questions such as: Who lives there? Where do they come from? What experiences have they had living in this building? How do they use this space that they call home? What are their aspirations for this community that they have created? What contributions do they make to society? How have they been affected by the lack of investment in their building? What does gentrification mean to them?
“Tivoli: A Place We Call Home” is produced by photographer/filmmaker, Delphine Fawundu Buford, along with filmmakers Scott Brathwaite and Anthony Clouden Jr. These three long-time friends and residents at Tivoli Towers felt the need to collect visual histories of their own community.
“Healing the Wounds of War: The Brooklyn Sanitary Fair of 1864”
Opening on January 29 will be a new exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum that will present a selection of artworks and historical objects celebrating the contributions of women to the mid-19th century Sanitary Movement, particularly the highly important Brooklyn and Long Island Sanitary Fair of 1864.
During the Civil War, sanitary fairs were held to raise money for the war effort in major cities in the Northeast. These large-scale fairs were social events that combined entertainment, education, and philanthropy. Although the U.S. Sanitary Commission was headed by men, most of its work was accomplished by thousands of women volunteers. In Brooklyn, civic-minded women’s organizations orchestrated the hugely successful Brooklyn Sanitary Fair, a separate event from the New York Sanitary Fair. It raised $400,000, well over the projected $100,000 and equal to more than four million dollars by today’s standards. The money was used for clothing, food, medical supplies, and other provisions for the Union Army.
For more background on the Sanitary Fair, check out this Eagle article.