Hello Spring!

Though we’ve had a few challenges with the weather these first few days of Spring, we can all see things are changing. Each day, we welcome the new and potential growth that comes with the beginning of a new season. Perhaps, a new Spring outlook is an opportunity to scan your environment for a seed of information that may germinate into new growth for yourself and that of another person. 

I read somewhere recently that “if you are the first or only one in the room that it is your responsibility to ensure the door remains open for those coming behind you.”   We’re dedicating this newsletter to those who have journeyed these paths and demonstrate traits of resilience, fortitude and leadership. Those that enter the ring and withstand the pressures and what at times feels like insurmountable challenges to make a way. Amongst chaos, these are the visionaries who light a path toward all that is possible simply because they believed it could be. 

Here’s to all of us, may we have the focus to chart our way forward, the grace to bend when needed and faith to know the call to action will never lead us astray.
We are excited to welcome new client, Ms. Foundation for Women to the P.S. 314 collective .

Under the dynamic leadership of Teresa C. Younger, the Ms. Foundation for Women works to bring attention to the real challenges facing women, especially women of color and low-income women.

We're honored to join the Ms. Foundation for Women as we explore the dynamics of radical philanthropy in support of activists working to address issues impacting women. 
Congratulations to our dynamic client, Alice Sheppard for her recent NY Times feature Innovator in Disability Arts and sold out NYC Premiere at New York Live Arts March 22- 24. 

Driven by a deep passion to examine and provoke new language and ideas around identity, Alice's work transforms common assumptions about the ways we conceive of space, dance, disability, race, and gender.

We are honored to partner with such a visionary. Her work to highlight the vibrancy of disability culture is transformational and inspirational.

Brava, Alice!
In 1969, shortly after the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook founded the Dance Theatre of Harlem in the basement of a church on St. Nicholas Avenue. Mr. Mitchell believed that the skills gained in studying classical dance and the allied arts would provide opportunities for a better future for children of color in Harlem and beyond. Challenging stereotypes, breaking down barriers between communities, and bridging gaps of disparity worldwide, the Dance Theatre of Harlem continues its mission to use art as a social justice platform. 

The core of their success is the cultivation of a space of diversity on stage; one that reflects the language of ballet and art innovation in a personal, emotional, and sacred way. Today, Dance Theatre of Harlem is proud to present a new vision of classical ballet.  Over the course of its nearly 50 years of existence, DTH has nurtured, trained and provided opportunity for the greatest number of ballet dancers of color in the world

“P.S. 314 is a group that delivers on the results. For me, they really made everything better There were challenges that we were facing and sometimes they felt insurmountable. But Pi has a way of breaking down those challenges into manageable tasks. That was a huge improvement- being able to successfully tackle those issues. Pi is able to do that in a really succinct and focused manner. She has a particular way about her work, how she works. And I think really, it was just trusting that she understood the challenges and the things that we want to accomplish. There wasn’t a huge learning curve with her. She really understands the field and understands the challenges of being a non-profit. She is able to get to the source of whatever the issue is and strategically and creatively come up with solutions.”
-Anna Glass, Executive Director, Dance Theatre of Harlem
The Infinite and Animated Possibilities of Black Women Identities | Taylor K. Shaw is the Founder and CEO of The Black Girl Animators Collective (BGAC). The founder of the world's first and only Black Girl Animators Collective, Taylor is an innovative creator, producer, writer, and on-camera personality whose vision is changing the quality and scope of animation by giving black women their rightful place in the industry, especially when it comes to controlling their narratives. P.S. 314 collaborated with BGAC on a project illustrate P.S. 314's story in a compelling and accessible way to visually present the simplest but most difficult question to answer: "What do you do?" 

"I grew up watching school house rock and know firsthand how important it is to simplify complex ideas so it can be received by as many people as possible. That's the art of teaching when you're able to explain your ideas with ease, chances are you'll be able to reach and engage with a larger audience. I was really intrigued by Taylor's mission to own our own identities. As we shift into the fast lane of the digital age, having a seat at the table with those literally shaping our identities, narratives and images seems like an appropriate place to have a voice with impact and a clear and positive and realistic representation of women in a global way.  It was a great learning and creative process collaborating with BGAC. Their videos are engaging, smart and accessible to all ages.  While they are educational in nature, they are also kind of fun and sometimes it just needs to be fun!"   Everyone in my age group can recite "I'm just a Bill...," my hope is that the Black Girl Animators Collective will have the same the level of engagement and impact."
- Pi-Isis S. Ankhra, President, P.S. 314
This month, Free Speech TV premieres a new half hour weekly program aimed at activating and mobilizing historically marginalized communities. The Last Sip, the only national news program hosted by an openly transgender person, will be featured on Sundays at 9:30 am EST. Directed at millennials of color, specifically LGBTQI community, the program will filter national news stories through the lens of grassroots communities on the frontlines of social change. Emphasizing solutions which foster equity, the program will be hosted by journalist, economist and on-air news analyst Imara Jones – a transgender woman of color – whose work in media has garnered Emmy and Peabody Awards.

“My hope is that this show will support and enhance change by focusing on the people and places driving societal transformation from the ground up. I believe that solutions-based reporting grounded in the experience of our audience is essential to bringing the transformation required to make our society fairer and more equitable.”
– Imara Jones, Host and Producer

“Our challenges in the industry, outside of our race, were that our concepts were a bit out of the box. In addition there was no expectation that we would have highly creative ideas. Despite the success of science fiction writer Octavia Butler, African Americans in the genre of science fiction have not been traditionally supported in the movie industry. Our goal is to change that thinking in the industry – and hopefully the next Star Wars type of franchise. “
- Chike Ozah, Co-Founder, Creative Control

Coodie and Chike, founders of production company Creative Control, successfully transitioned their careers as highly sought after music video directors working with talented artists such as Kanye West, Mos Def, Erykah Badu to dynamic storytellers working in film, television, digital and tech. One of the most notable elements beyond their talent is their partnership and ability to maintain focus and faith in their vision.  Currently, Coodie and Chike are in production on a highly anticipated documentary  “The First To Do It”  about the first African-American to play in the NBA.