About Haiti Cultural Exchange
Haiti Cultural Exchange (HCX) is a nonprofit organization established in 2009 to develop, present and promote the cultural expressions of Haitian people. We seek to raise awareness of social issues and foster cultural understanding and appreciation through programs in the arts, education, and public affairs.
Our Arts Presentation, Cultural Engagement, and Artist Development programs support emerging and established artists, promote cross-cultural exchange, preserve Haiti’s cultural heritage, and encourage discussions around contemporary social issues that Haiti and its Diaspora face.
Haiti Cultural Exchange created the Lakou NOU artist residency in 2016 with the conviction of an artist’s central role in social transformations. Through active listening and dialogue, we invite artists to create within the specific context of a community with whom they share ties. The designated areas that delineate our Lakous are four underserved Brooklyn neighborhoods, home to generations of Haitians and Haitian Americans: Crown Heights, Canarsie, East Flatbush, and Flatbush. In rural Haiti, the Lakou communal structure manifests a sustainable intersection of land, family, and spirituality. Former enslaved people created the Lakou as an alternative to the colonial plantation and its supremacist stratification. By organizing around shared land, the Lakou is a cultural site of gathering that also promotes socio-economic equity and resists exploitation. Lakou NOU (“Our Yard” in Haitian Creole) is a creative adaptation of this traditional model. We encourage residents to continue the work of artists before them who rendered visible the socio-political and cultural realities that Haitians live through, such as forced migration, foreign occupations, and revolution.
Lakou NOU artists-in-residence collaborate with community members on an artistic project that empowers local stories and offers a transformative framework for addressing the inequities they face and collective resources they generate. Lakou Nou artists all share a commitment to engage with the complex conditions of these four neighborhoods with nuance. They deepen and index grassroot activism, foster critical communion, and revel in the possibilities of the diverse perspectives they receive to shape their project.
HCX facilitates partnerships between the selected artists and community constituents, nonprofit organizations, small businesses, community gardens, local cultural institutions, and artists. These relationships guide artists to grasp the challenges and opportunities unique to each Lakou while also providing valuable resources, such as presentation venues or a platform for community exchange. Artists-in-residence interact with each other as a supportive cohort through discussions and feedback. HCX accompanies the artists with professional development opportunities and mentorship.
-A $7,500 stipend for development, implementation, documentation, and evaluation of projects.
-Professional development/mentorship activities aimed at building tools and skills necessary for community engaged artistic practice. Topics include: tools for cultural preservation, art in public spaces, engagement in social practice, and implementation/evaluation of community programming.
-An opportunity to become more acquainted with assets and issues in Brooklyn’s Haitian communities.
-Access to a network of other artists, community leaders, and local organizations, including meetings with our Lakou NOU Community Stakeholders Committee.
-An opportunity to further develop artistic practice through the creation of new work.
-A platform to showcase work to members of the Haitian diaspora and their diverse Brooklyn neighbors.
-A chance to develop professional skills through production, promotion activities, public speaking, networking, and working in group settings.
Previous Lakou NOU Artists-in-Residence are not eligible to apply.
Lakou NOU Application Period:
Application Launch: Wednesday, March 1, 2023
DEADLINE: Sunday March 26, 2023, at Midnight
Finalist interviews: Wednesday April 5 to Monday April 10, 2023
Announcement of four residents: Monday, April 17, 2023
Participation in the program is contingent on in-person attendance at our HCX office in Brooklyn for a two-day Lakou NOU Orientation in the week of May 1, 2023.
Three professional development workshops at the HCX office between May and September.
Three cohort dinners in June, July, and August
Work-in-progress presentations to Lakou NOU Community Stakeholder Committee in July and September 2023
Culminating event showcasing the work of all four Lakou NOU artists in late October/Early November 2023.
*Exact Dates will be agreed upon by all artists before signing their residency contract.
Phase 1: Lakou NOU Project Development Stage, May- Mid June 2023
During this phase, artists in residence will become more familiar with their Lakous through HCX facilitated group meetings. These sessions invite artists to consider practice as a component of a Lakou commons, to join their work to existing efforts and/or resources. As artists connect with local residents, organizations, and other stakeholders, HCX provides mentorship to implement participatory processes and tools to establish relationships that are effective and beneficial for the Lakou communities. During this phase, artists will present their proposed project to their Lakou, receive feedback, and adapt their plan to fit the needs of the community.
Residents will also engage in curated professional development activities designed to help them prepare for the challenges and opportunities that come with cultivating and stewarding space for their projects. This series of workshops introduces artists to the principles of social practice, community engagement, project planning and implementation, as well as impact assessment.
Project descriptions are finalized by residents and approved by HCX during this stage.
Phase 2: Lakou NOU Project Implementation Stage and Culminating Event : End of June – November 2023
The exact schedule of the implementation phase depends on the scope of each project, as determined by the artist. During this period, artists in residence will carry out their Lakou NOU project. They will also plan the details of their project presentation for the Lakou NOU culminating event, a collaborative event in late October/Early November featuring the work of the entire cohort located in one of the four Lakous. The culminating event will also showcase how Lakou NOU artists in residence merge their artistic practice with neighborhood needs, while sharing space and engaging in reciprocity with community.
Phase 3: Lakou NOU Project Evaluation Stage: November 2023
During this period of self-assessment, artists complete evaluative reports that measure the success of their projects against metrics created as part of their project proposals as well as any additional criteria identified during the life of their projects. The artists themselves compile documentation and notes for assessing their own projects.
HCX facilitates conversations and provides an opportunity for artists to measure their own success within the context of socially engaged art.
· Identification as an artist of Haitian decent working in any artistic discipline.
· An artistic practice rooted in community, collaboration, and dialogue with a generative purpose and understanding of the artist’s own work.
· Artist must live in the greater New York City area and are not required to live in the targeted "Lakou" neighborhoods (Crown Heights, Flatbush, East Flatbush, or Canarsie). During the residency period, we ask participants to limit their time away to two weeks at a time.
· Artist must demonstrate ties and commitment to Lakou Nou communities.
· Applicants must be able to legally work in the United States and provide a W9 form
How do I apply?
Applications may be submitted in writing OR as a video. Responses must demonstrate a detailed and organized thought process. If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
• OPTION 1: Written Submission:
Applications may be submitted via this form.
• OPTION 2: Video Submission:
•Please complete Part One of this form.
•Video submissions answering the application questions may be submitted as a MP4, AVI, MOV, FLV file. Please upload files to the Dropbox link below.
•Video submissions may be in English or Kreyòl. Videos should be no longer than 8 minutes in length. Save the file as 2023_Lakou_NOU_FirstNameLastName_Supplement.
•Supplemental Documentation is still required with your video application. Upload a PDF titled: 2023_Lakou_NOU_FirstNameLastName_Supplement
In an effort to increase accessibility to this opportunity, HCX offers application assistance. If you have specific questions, issues with access to technology, or require language assistance, please contact email@example.com to schedule an appointment.