We are the founding members of the new Relative Arts Community Center, located in New York's historic East Village. Our mission is to provide a collective community space to celebrate and foster the advancement of contemporary, sustainable textile and Indigenous art through education and representation.
Majority Indigenous owned, founding members Korina Emmerich (Puyallup), Liana Shewey (Muscogee Creek), and textile artist Rachel Leal have been working towards developing an education space, design showroom, and community center. As NY designers and artists, we see the need for a peer-run accessible space for our relatives in the arts. The space will be utilized to host classes on sustainable textile techniques and design, and Indigenous guest instructors from beadwork to fish tanning. In celebrating these practices we will also be a showroom dedicated to Indigenous and sustainable designers. Featuring a diverse in-house showroom as well as a digital showroom. We will be an accessible atelier for visiting fashion designers, in order to hold fittings and do in-house alterations. We will also host gallery events, poetry readings, intimate musical performances, and knowledge-sharing events, in a comfortable and safe environment.
Korina Emmerich (Puyallup) is the designer and founder of EMME Studio whose interdisciplinary artwork is centered on expression, art, and culture, with a focus on social and climate justice. Emmerich serves as a special advisor and educator with The Slow Factory Foundation and a community organizer within the urban Indigenous community. Her work has been featured in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Moma PS1, The Denver Art Museum, Vogue, Elle, Instyle, New York Magazine, and more. Because of the accolades and celebration of Korina's work, she sees it necessary to foster and promote the work of other incredibly talented Indigenous designers and relatives. Korina works as the creative director of Relative Arts as well as the showroom manager and curator.
Liana Shewey (Mvskoke) is the programming and design manager at Relative Arts. Presently working as an outreach educator at the New-York Historical Society, Shewey uses inquiry-based and hands-on learning to teach NY history to K-12 students. Shewey is a committed community organizer and has led educational events, teach-ins, and speak-outs to create awareness around missing and murdered Indigenous relatives, the damaging effects of fossil fuels, and Indigenous liberation. She has also worked in music and event production for more than 15 years and will be bringing those skills and relationships to Relative Arts to host events featuring artists of all forms, and to develop progressive educational programming.
Rachel Leal is an independent textile artist and community educator. Her designs and work are focused on sustainability and the practice of repairing and upcycling. An East Village local for over 12 years, Rachel has strong ties to the community. She has worked as an Educator teaching art to children in several East Village elementary schools, in TriBeCa at the Church Street School for Music and Art, and she provides private lessons. Living only 4 blocks away, Rachel and her family are well-integrated into the East Village neighborhood.
Rachel will be heading our education program and serving as showroom co-curator, sourcing local and sustainable artists at Relative Arts. Hosting community events on dyeing, sewing basics, children’s programming, and more. She will also aid visiting artists at Relative Arts, who host courses on Indigenous arts. From near or far, we look forward to welcoming a wide range of knowledge keepers.
We successfully secured our East Village location, 367 E 10th St. New York, NY 10009, on November 1st, 2022, and have been planning our budgets and timeline for renovations, electricity, wifi, furnishings, and supplies along with general contracts and preparations.
Our soft opening goal is the first week of December to welcome our Relatives into the space just in time for the holiday season. We plan to host a holiday pop-up to introduce ourselves to the Loisaida neighborhood and give Indigenous vendors a chance to showcase their work in New York, from a peer-run space.
With the soft launch, we will be able to really get a feel for the best ways to support the needs of our community and relatives and be ready for an official grand opening by January 2023. Our goal is to have all contracts secured, and furnishing and safety measures in place by end of December 2022.
The funds donated through our generous Go Fund Me community will go toward utility deposits, installing small business wifi, securing our liability insurance, online domain fees, and mailboxes. We will be prioritizing safety measures including workers' compensation, and other government licenses, an alarm system, security cameras, an automatic door locking mechanism, window coverings, updated tools, lighting, security gate maintenance/repair, pin and lock for a security gate, window maintenance, fire safety measures, step stools, water filters, sandbags, and salt as well as window decals informing our neighbors what we're working on.
As we build out Relative Arts we are confident the online community will join us in supporting the celebration of Arts and Education in an intimate and safe space. With our hard work, we have been able to watch this seed grow into a beautiful sprout. Will you help us continue to grow Relative Arts?
Your Relatives in NYC
Korina, Liana and Rachel
Relative Arts acknowledges the land designated as "New York City" to be the homeland of the Lenape (Lenapehoking) who were violently displaced as a result of European settler colonialism over the course of 400 years. The Lenape are a diasporic people that remain closely connected with this land and are its rightful stewards. We also recognize that New York City has one of the largest urban Native American / Indigenous populations in the United States.