LES History Month 2016 Announced; Open Call to Participate

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LES History Month 2015’s LES Stories; Photo by Cherylynn Tsushima

Our friends at Fourth Arts Block (FAB) sent along their announcement for the third annual Lower East Side History Month.  The month-long series of local events will take place in May 2016, kicking off with the popular #LESStories, an interactive chalking project, on Sunday, May 1st and Monday, May 2nd.

If you or your local organization is interested in participating, be sure to fill out the “Invitation to Participate” form here.

They write:

This year, over 100 Lower East Side community groups, small businesses, and local artists are expected to participate and present a diverse menu of cultural and community events, ranging from exhibitions to walking tours to public art to cultural festivals.

Once again, LES History Month promises inspiring collaborations and dialogues, as the entire Lower East Side collective explores the neighborhood’s past and present, and how our history can inform and inspire our future. All events and happenings will take place within the historical definition of the Lower East Side—which includes the East Village, Chinatown, Little Italy, and Alphabet City.

Signature key event LES Stories – an interactive chalking project inspired by Ruth Sergel’s public art project, CHALK, commemorating the 146 garment workers who lost their lives in the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire – will kick off the month’s celebrations on Sunday, May 1st through Monday, May 2nd. LES Stories encourages anyone and everyone to share memories and images of the Lower East Side on the city’s pavements. Last year, over 50 people chalked 173 locations with drawings, stories, and historical tidbits about local heroes, happenings, businesses, buildings, parks and more.

Returning is also the LES Community Heroes Awards, an award ceremony for unsung local heroes nominated by the public. Last year, six community members were honored – Chino Garcia, Paul Garrin, Mateo Gomez, Nelson Landrieu, Joyce Mendelsohn, and Nelson Valentine.

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LOISAIDA Inc’s Libertad Guerra presenting the 2015 LES History Month Community Heroes Award to Chino Garcia; Photo by Whitney Browne Photography

This third edition of LES History Month will also see a volunteer fair connecting local residents both old and new with opportunities to help one another; a video series spotlighting LOISAIDA’s community, culture, and history; a memorial project inviting the public to put up physical edifices on the streets of Lower East Side dedicated to community members who passed away in the previous year; and besides presenting their own programming, participating businesses and organizations will be contributing to the LES History Month blog highlighting their local, organizational, and personal histories in the neighborhood.

An updated calendar of events, upcoming news, and a list of participating groups will be available at the LES History Month website in February 2016.