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398 backers pledged $26,820 to help bring this project to life.
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$26,820

398

FUTURE HEADLINE: INWOOD GETS AN AMAZING PERFORMANCE SPACE!

We invite you to be part of this exciting new project, much needed in our community. Your contribution will help finance the infrastructure of a brand new performance space in Inwood!

WHAT YOU ARE SUPPORTING:

THE BUUNNI PERFORMANCE SPACE will present live performance (music and theater), artwork (fine art and photography), literature (readings and poetry) and social justice and wellness programming (lectures and workshops), with the mission to serve the diverse community of upper Manhattan. We plan to showcase local talent, provide world-class entertainment and share transformational ideas thus making the brand new Buunni Performance Space a go to spot in New York City!

Om Grown Variety Show, Ras Moshe and Mariposa Fernandez, Photo by Cristobal Vivar
Om Grown Variety Show, Ras Moshe and Mariposa Fernandez, Photo by Cristobal Vivar

We are seeking funds to outfit the space with professional quality sound and lighting to support a variety of events and programming. The infrastructure will consist of:

  • a small LED lighting plot
  • a sound system with the capacity to support anything from a lecture to a full band
  • a removable platform stage area which can be configured in size according to need
  • a projector and screen to support visual presentations and film screenings

The space is the hub, the focus of activity, where new ideas, creativity, connection and entertainment are showcased.

Every dollar counts! Even pledging $25 goes a long way and makes you an integral part of this community effort. Please see our terrific rewards and make a donation today!

The total budget for equipment and installation is 25K. The infrastructure will support the entertainers and speakers as well as give audiences a high quality professional experience. We've chosen this not-for-profit by donation route to raising money as it will help us keep the entrance fees for events super low or, in many cases, free!

Om Grown Variety Show, Victor Verhaeghe and Matt Higgins, Photo by Cristobal Vivar
Om Grown Variety Show, Victor Verhaeghe and Matt Higgins, Photo by Cristobal Vivar

WHO WE ARE:

ZENA GROUP is a New York City non-profit arts organization operating since 1991. Zena Group has produced, or had a hand in producing, a myriad projects ranging from theater, film and the arts, to educational and health related outreach. Selected projects: MATT HIGGINS: THE IMPROVISOR; THE WHAT IF LOVE PROJECT, bringing awareness to gun violence; the award winning civil rights era short film AMERICAN FALLS; POSITIVE VOICES, a documentary featuring interviews with long term survivors of AIDS; TIMSLOFT, a long running late night series in NYC featuring hundreds of performers, playwrights, musicians and filmmakers; and premieres of plays by a wide range of playwrights produced in New York City at One Dream Theater in TriBeCa and Interart Theater in Hell’s Kitchen.

Partners:

BUUNNI COFFEE is an independent coffee shop providing exceptional coffee and baked goods in an inviting community meeting place for all that live, work and enjoy the neighborhood. 

BREAD AND YOGA features classes in yoga, a popular after-school program, The OM GROWN Holiday Market, extensive workshops on health and wellness, free Yoga in the Park, and other live events. With a focus on health and mindfulness, BREAD AND YOGA is committed to contributing to the quality of life in Upper Manhattan.

The design staff consists of Lucrecia Briceno (lighting), Marc Dittmar (sound) and John McDermott (stage).

Om Grown Variety Show, Suni Reyes, Photo by Cristobal Vivar
Om Grown Variety Show, Suni Reyes, Photo by Cristobal Vivar

WHY SUPPORT THIS FUNDRAISING EFFORT?

There is nothing like it in Inwood! In the spirit of reciprocity, we are looking to give back to the neighborhood and we feel that providing a space like this will serve to elevate the quality of life as well as fill a need for those looking for live entertainment and a forum to create change. We need you to be a part of this mission.

All your donations are 100% tax-deductible as Zena Group is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization. 

Om Grown Variety Show, Suni Reyes, Photo by Cristobal Vivar
Om Grown Variety Show, Suni Reyes, Photo by Cristobal Vivar

HOW WILL WE MAKE THIS HAPPEN?

It's up to all of us!

The way we get many of our dreams funded these days is through crowdfunding which is asking our supporters in the community to play a big part in the creative process by donating money and resources. It's such a vital exchange. It feels good to do it whenever and however we can whether it be by making a pledge to a friend's crowdfunding campaign or lending our experience and resources. It's a beautiful give and take with such satisfying results. In many ways, this is the new paradigm in an age where finding funding for arts related endeavors is virtually impossible otherwise. As a long-time members of the Inwood community, it's so important to build a community of support and we are grateful to be a part of this empowering project. 

We are asking for your help in the spirit of gratitude and reciprocity. This is a win win for our community and we appeal to you to be a part in this new adventure! 

This project is about inclusivity. It’s about diversity. It’s about expansion. It’s about transformation!

Om Grown Variety Show, Victor Verhaeghe, Photo by Cristobal Vivar
Om Grown Variety Show, Victor Verhaeghe, Photo by Cristobal Vivar
Om Grown Variety Show, Laura Fois and Victor Verhaeghe, Photo by Cristobal Vivar
Om Grown Variety Show, Laura Fois and Victor Verhaeghe, Photo by Cristobal Vivar

JOIN US! 

Our plan is to raise the full 25K by the end of June so we can build out the space by the end of the summer and start programming events on a regular basis in September. You are all invited to the opening night celebration!

This is about us. Please make a tax-deductible donation to our campaign!


THE PEOPLE INVOLVED:

Sarina Prabasi, Author & Co-Owner of Buunni Coffee
Sarina Prabasi, Author & Co-Owner of Buunni Coffee

SARINA PRABASI co-founded Buunni Coffee with her husband in 2011. She has had a career in international development, covering global health, education and water and sanitation. Most recently, she serves as the CEO of WaterAid America. Prabasi is also author, of The Coffee House Resistance: Brewing Hope in Desperate Times, published in April 2019 by Green Writers Press. The book documents Prabasi's journey to become an American citizen, and how after the 2016 election, Buunni Coffee became a hub for local activism and action. In addition to her non-profit work and writing, Prabasi focuses on community and events at Buunni, which now has three locations --- Washington Heights and Inwood in Upper Manhattan, and Riverdale in the Bronx. 

Elias Gurmu, Co-Owner of Buunni Coffee
Elias Gurmu, Co-Owner of Buunni Coffee

ELIAS GURMU has been an entrepreneur since the age of 18. Before moving to New York in 2011, he started and ran successful businesses in his home town of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia: an office-crowd-pleasing restaurant, a transport service and a logistics and delivery company. Now, Elias can be found most days around Buunni Coffee in Washington Heights and Riverdale and most recently at the newly opened Buunni Coffee in Inwood. Elias is proud of the coffee culture in Ethiopia, where coffee was first discovered, and is happy to bring this to his new home in Upper Manhattan in New York City. 

Marcela Xavier, Founder and Director of Bread and Yoga
Marcela Xavier, Founder and Director of Bread and Yoga

MARCELA XAVIER is the founder and program director of Bread and Yoga in Inwood. Bread and Yoga is a community focused yoga studio offering services that support the growth and well being of individuals and families in our community. More than just a yoga studio, we strive to be an inclusive healing and gathering space, a space to break bread and connect with each other. Marcela is excited to lending her programming experience to this project and to be working with Buunni Coffee and Zena group in producing events that inform, challenge and inspire our community.  

Josh Liveright, Artistic Director of Zena Group, Photo by Nathan West
Josh Liveright, Artistic Director of Zena Group, Photo by Nathan West

JOSH LIVERIGHT has been working in film and theater for over thirty years. He's run two theater companies, Zena Group and The Interart Theatre Development Series, developing new plays by many acclaimed writers. He won best director at the 2010 NY Fringe Festival for Patricia Davis's play ALTERNATIVE METHODS. He's produced and contributed to several feature and short films including DAYS AND NIGHTS, AMERICAN FALLS, LET GO and HOW YOU LOOK TO ME. For AMERICAN FALLS he was presented an award at The Obama White House as part of The March On Washington Film Festival. He's worked extensively with Joan Scheckel and Filmmaking Labs and is currently developing two feature films. In his spare time he’s been working as a Rapid Resolution Therapist in order to help people clear their trauma and stuckness. He's interested in causing transformation through the arts and through rewriting the current narrative. Channeling the spirit of his beloved activist grandparents, Herman and Betty Liveright, he would like to see this current project contribute to changing the world.

Om Grown Variety Show, Mariposa Fernandez & Ras Moshe, Photo by Cristobal Vivar
Om Grown Variety Show, Mariposa Fernandez & Ras Moshe, Photo by Cristobal Vivar
Om Grown Variety Show, Mariposa Fernandez & Ras Moshe, Photo by Cristobal Vivar
Om Grown Variety Show, Mariposa Fernandez & Ras Moshe, Photo by Cristobal Vivar
Om Grown Variety Show, Matt Higgins, Photo by Cristobal Vivar
Om Grown Variety Show, Matt Higgins, Photo by Cristobal Vivar
Om Grown Variety Show, Erica Smith, Photo by Cristobal Vivar
Om Grown Variety Show, Erica Smith, Photo by Cristobal Vivar
Om Grown Variety Show, Ananda Liveright and Ayla Huguenot, Photo by Cristobal Vivar
Om Grown Variety Show, Ananda Liveright and Ayla Huguenot, Photo by Cristobal Vivar
Om Grown Variety Show Full Cast! Photo by Cristobal Vivar
Om Grown Variety Show Full Cast! Photo by Cristobal Vivar

Make a pledge today!!! We can all make a change and it starts right here in our community!

Risks and challenges

Quotes from Amanda Palmer’s book, The Art Of Asking; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help:

“From what I've seen, it isn't so much the act of asking that paralyzes us--it's what lies beneath: the fear of being vulnerable, the fear of rejection, the fear of looking needy or weak. The fear of being seen as a burdensome member of the community instead of a productive one. It points, fundamentally, to our separation from one another.”

“American culture in particular has instilled in us the bizarre notion that to ask for help amounts to an admission of failure. But some of the most powerful, successful, admired people in the world seem, to me, to have something in common: they ask constantly, creatively, compassionately, and gracefully. And to be sure: when you ask, there’s always the possibility of a no on the other side of the request. If we don’t allow for that no, we’re not actually asking, we’re either begging or demanding. But it is the fear of the no that keeps so many of our mouths sewn tightly shut.”

“Asking for help with shame says:
You have the power over me.
Asking with condescension says:
I have the power over you.
But asking for help with gratitude says:
We have the power to help each other.”

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    Buunni Coffee Mug

    A signature Buunni Coffee mug for drinking your favorite beverage!

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    Buunni Gift Card

    A $25 gift card for use at any Buunni Cafe (Inwood, Riverdale or Pinehurst)!

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    A Yoga Class and a Coffee

    Take a yoga class at Bread and Yoga and then grab a coffee & pastry at Buunni!

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    Buunni Gift Basket

    Coffee, mugs and a signed copy of Sarina Prabasi's new book "Coffeehouse Resistance"!

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    Buunni Coffee VIP Card - One Month

    One month of free coffee at any of the three Buunni Coffee locations! This reward is non-transferable.

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    NEW! Private Voice/Piano Lesson -4-18 YO

    4-18 years old, beginner to advanced voice, beginner to intermediate piano, all styles

    Take a voice or piano lesson with Elana Hedrych at Lissemore Studios in WaHi! Perfect for the one who's always humming around the house, the teenager who's preparing for voice auditions, or the little one who's ready to play piano with a side of fun!

    Elana is a Berklee College of Music graduate with 8 years of dedicated teaching experience. She draws from the methods created by her close mentors: Somatic Voicework (LoVetri Method), Effortless Mastery, and Treblemakers piano method.

    Elana's goal is to instill a love of music, while teaching students about technical aspects of the voice, piano, and music. She aims to create an exciting learning environment, while helping students realize the masterful musician inside of them.

    Link to website for more info:
    www.elanahedrych.com

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    Private Barista Class

    One private specialty coffee and barista class with Elias Gurmu! You'll learn the whole process from a master and leave with three bags of delicious Buunni coffee.

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    Yoga and Coffee for a Month

    Unlimited coffee and yoga for one month at Bread and Yoga and Buunni! You get a one month class pass at Bread and Yoga and a one month Buunni Coffee VIP Card!

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    NEW!! Baby and Me Music Class for 12

    0-3 years old, up to 12 children and 12 caretakers (24 total), 1 hour class

    Family Rhythms is a music class for little ones and the grownups who love them!

    Family Rhythms is an engaging, playful, meaningful way to make music together - coupling music with movement and exploration! This program has an ever-growing songbook ranging from lullabies to bouncy upbeat tunes, exciting age-specific activities, and a range of age-appropriate instruments to play with.

    This pledge reward would make for a great birthday party, or just a special activity to spend with your loved ones and friends! This class can be held in the beautiful park, or in-home!

    Link to find out more about the teacher:
    www.elanahedrych.com

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    Buunni Coffee VIP Card - 3 Months

    Three months of free coffee at any of the three Buunni locations! This reward is non-transferable.

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    Ethiopian Coffee Course

    A series of three hands-on barista training sessions (for one or two people) with Elias Gurmu! You'll gain master class experience and take home three bags of specialty coffee to practice at home!

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    Private Event at Buunni Coffee

    Schedule a two hour private evening event at Buunni Coffee Performance Space in Inwood! Ideal for a party, live performance or social gathering. Your event must be held after regular business hours.

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    Buunni Coffee Subscription

    A full year coffee subscription -- bean, roast and grind of your choice!

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    NEW!! Sourdough Breadmaking Class for 12

    Josh Liveright (of Bread and Yoga's holiday market grilled cheese station) will teach you and a group of up to 12 friends how to make a delicious loaf of French style sourdough bread at home. This is an immersive lesson on maintaining the sourdough starter, and then mixing, shaping, scoring and baking. You will leave the class with a jar of starter and Josh's sourdough recipe.

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    NEW!! Group Kayaking on the Hudson River

    A magical kayaking experience for you and a group of friends/colleagues on the Hudson River, courtesy of Inwood Canoe Club. Up to 10-12 adults; all equipment is provided. Schedule is TBD, based on group preferences, club member availability and weather. For groups 18+, all verified swimmers, waivers required.
    www.inwoodcanoenyc.org

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    Buunni Coffee VIP Card - Full Year

    A full year of free coffee at any of the three Buunni locations! This reward is non-transferable.

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    Full Year Subscription

    Free admission to all Buunni Performance events for a full year!

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    Produced Event at Buunni Coffee

    Artistic Director of Zena Group, Josh Liveright, will produce your event at the brand new Buunni Performance Space! You'll get a hands on producer and a space to present a live performance event. We'll even help promote it!

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    NEW!! Hanuman Foundations Class

    This Hanuman Health Club class is taught in a series to promote progressive awareness and skill acquisition, allowing you to transition into our other classes with more comfort and confidence in your ability.

    The series will begin on the first Tuesday of every month and will last for 4 weeks. In each class we will cover one or two of the foundational movements that are the basis for the rest of our programing. Taking the time to really learn how to use your core while hinging, squatting, pushing, pulling and rotating will have lasting benefits in your movement and training practice.

    The foundations course allows you unlimited access to all of our open level classes during the 4 weeks.

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    NEW!! Private Dinner Party for 12

    Buunni will host a three course meal for up to 12 people at our Inwood space. We will collaborate with you on the menu and will provide appetizer, main course and dessert along with beverages. All you'll have to do is show up and have a great time with the people you invite! Could be a birthday party for a loved one, a celebration, or simply a gathering with friends. This reward must be claimed by March of 2020.

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Funding period

- (34 days)