STooPS Bed-Stuy brings art to Brooklyn streets

Kendra J. Ross leads the crowd in a dance during the annual STooPS Art Crawl in Bed-Stuy.
Photo by Caroline Ourso

Brooklynites hit the streets this weekend as the eighth annual STooPS Art Crawl took over the front steps of some Bedford-Stuyvesant brownstones.

Pitched as a celebration of creativity in Brooklyn, the festival has brought dance, music, spoken word, theater, conversations, and workshops to the stoops and sidewalks of Bed-Stuy since 2013.

“While the event has become an anticipated mainstay of Bed-Stuy summers, it has become even more important in the midst of the pandemic,” said founder Kendra J. Ross. “As many NYC performance venues remain closed, opportunities to experience the power of live art in our vibrant city have been limited. Since being outside has always been our model, we offer a premier opportunity for folks to experience live art while still being socially distanced and safe.” 

Robin “Dragonfly” LaVerne Wilson leads the crowd for a variety of games during the annual STooPS Art Crawl.Photo by Caroline Ourso

This year’s art crawl along Hancock Street featured performances from Ross, who is a dancer, as well as vocalist Courtnie, 15-year-old Bedford-Stuyvesant poet Kai Diata Giovanni, Robin “Dragonfly” LaVerne Wilson, dancer Cheri L. Stokes, and more.

Dozens of locals packed the street to witness the performances on Saturday, July 24.

Brooklynites gather for the annual art crawl.Photo by Caroline Ourso

Event organizers say the annual art walk aims to bridge the “then” and “now” of the rapidly changing Central Brooklyn neighborhood, with gentrification pushing out some longtime residents and changing the face of the community. Through local arts events, the organizers say they hope to bring together all factions of the neighborhood and increase the cohesion of the community.