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The Laundromat Project's annual Field Day celebrates neighborhood culture in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Harlem, and Hunts Point/Longwood. Photo by Emilee Ramsier. Courtesy of The Laundromat Project.

Questions of Practice: Kemi Ilesanmi of The Laundromat Project on the Role of Artists in Community Development

The influx of socially engaged work among today’s artists has brought about conversations surrounding artists’ roles and long-term investments in the communities in and for which they create art. Here, Kemi Ilesanmi of The Laundromat Project in New York talks about the importance of regarding artists, not as interlopers, but as “neighbors” and “citizens” who hold multiple roles in the communities in which they live and work.

Kemi Ilesanmi, Executive Director of The Laundromat Project, on the role of artists in community development. Filmed at The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage on May 11, 2015.

Kemi Ilesanmi is the Executive Director of The Laundromat Project in New York, which brings art, artists, and arts programming into community spaces to amplify the creativity that already exists within communities. She has worked previously with Creative Capital Foundation, where she supported adventurous American artists, and the Walker Art Center, where she organized exhibitions and ran the visual arts residency program. In 2015, Ilesanmi served as a Center panelist in Exhibitions & Public Interpretation.