Grand Street Community Arts was formed by concerned neighbors in the Mansion Neighborhood in 2003 to provide a common forum to meet, discuss, and grow a shared sense of community.
In our 18 years in the former St. Anthony’s Church — a beautiful Italian Renaissance Revival church which was the hub of a vital Italian community displaced by the Empire State Plaza — our organization has worked to make this treasure into a vibrant center today which has become one of the most economically and racially diverse neighborhoods in the city.
Grand Street Community Arts has been the home to Vestuary Operatics, a triumphant one-weekend-only art exhibition by 19 local artists; performances by visiting musicians Kimya Dawson, from the movie Juno, and the Sierra Leone Refugee All Star Band. We hosted plays and musicals from the nearby Albany Free School, and organized the Boarded UP Exhibits by local artists on the basement windows of our building. GSCA’s first regular program founded by four college students was “YO!” — or Youth Organics! —for letting local children experience organic gardening. We launched the Vacant Lots Project, in collaboration with the City of Albany, transforming a number of vacant lots into places for gardening, playgrounds and community events (now part of AVillage).In 2008, Grand Street Community Arts initiated Youth FX, an award winning program Albany’s to explore their stories through digital filmmaking which has become its own organization.
We have given our blood, sweat and tears to better house our programs, as well as our community’s dreams. We cleared out trash and debris, replaced floors, fixed windows, got a heating system up and running. We’ve received donations and grants from the band Pearl, and the New York State Dormitory Authority, for roof repair, electrical work and the creation of small offices and a seasonal performance space. Other significant grantors include The Community Foundation, Troy Savings Bank, the Lincoln Fund, the Albany Housing Authority, the Troy Architectural Project, and the New York State Council for the Arts. Through collaboration with the Empowered Construction Workers Association, Local 102, our sanctuary received some much needed attention.
"Promoting arts, cultural education and activism."
To develop programs in the Capital Region that enlighten, empower, and engage our diverse community through the arts.
Our vision is a nationally recognized, socially just community that amplifies all voices through unity, creativity and self-expression.