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Building a Cultural Center in Liberia, West Africa

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Greetings! My name is Colleen Ndemeh Fitzgerald and I have created this fundraiser to continue a project that I have been working on since 2019. I want to build a cultural center in Liberia, West Africa and need financial support/community buy-in to get the project off the ground. I’m asking for $20,000 to purchase 100+ acres of rural land, and conduct a 1-month research and site visit to begin construction.

This cultural institution will be a home for Liberian indigenous, African, African diaspora creative expression. A home for our people to maintain the memory of our ancestral ways, learn from each other through cultural exchange, and create new art that reflects our current moment. This will be a multiple structure institution; a sort of cultural village. Artisan workshops, multi-disciplinary art studios, performance venue, cinema house, working farm and food garden, experimental kitchen, housing, recording studio, library, open community gathering spaces. This ultimate vision will come to be through various phases over the coming years. I have the skills, the community partners, and the on-ground experts to make this vision a reality.

Liberia currently has little to no cultural infrastructure. Due to colonialism, indigenous cultures have been severely undervalued. And due to imperialism and capitalist greed, economic resources in the country have been scarce, which leaves little money destined towards cultural policy and cultural development. Culture and art are still abundant in Liberia, but without proper investment (of money and heart), some of our indigenous cultural practices will be lost. We need spaces where adults and young people can learn together, and transmit the importance of our cultural heritage. The photo above shows my experience of learning Kpelle dance with these incredible teachers in Gbarnga, and I believe we all deserve experiences like this: to exchange knowledge, to learn, to connect with who we are, to remember the importance of our culture.

BUDGET 
$8,000 land purchase (100 acres)
$2,500 land purchase closing and legal fees
$2,700 international and local travel
$2,000 palm/coconut tree investment (labor & seed)
$1,000 first dirt-block (ecological) structure
$1,500 need assessment (surveys, interviews, events)
$1,500 per diem ($50x30)
$800 malaria medication/emergency funds
TOTAL $20,000

TIMELINE
Phase 1 (2021)- acquire land and conduct 2nd research/site visit (the first one being self-funded in 2019); do need assessment in town where the center will be, neighboring villages, and further away (Monrovia/Bong); begin planting palm and coconut trees, part of self-sufficiency plan
Phase 2 (2022) - build 2 dirt-block (ecological) structures on property, a housing space and studio space; begin programming at the center with local youth and adults
Phase 3 (2023) - design layout for whole property, with all planned buildings and outdoor spaces; secure consistent funding; continue programming w/local, regional and international artists
**This project will continue to be developed after year three and will require consistent funding.**

Thank you for making it this far! I know this is a difficult year for so many, especially financially. I thank you in advance for the love and support. I leave you with a quote from one of the most important Black feminist thinkers, and a woman whose work has changed my life:

"Hope is essential to any political struggle for radical change when the overall social climate promotes disillusionment and despair." - bell hooks

...to hope my friends! And to building better futures from that hope.

You can more detailed information about me, my experience, and the fundraiser on my website.

Donations 

  • Verna Häyrynen
    • $5 
    • 2 yrs
  • susan lylis
    • $25 
    • 2 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • $20 
    • 2 yrs
  • Melvina King
    • $20 
    • 2 yrs
  • Joel Colf
    • $50 
    • 2 yrs

Organizer

Colleen Fitzgerald
Organizer
Granby, CT

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