Last weekend, we continued to fuel the spirit of local entrepreneurship with a brand-new iteration of one of our themed weekend events.
Alongside a few of our venerable regular vendors, we spent this previous Saturday standing— and dancing— in support of Minority Report, the NYC-based art collective focused on highlighting and showcasing artists of Color, and connecting those artists with children and teens interested in expanding their understanding of the arts— offering art and multimedia exhibitions, workshops, concerts for and by People of Color around the city.
Hester Street Fair was honored to help the collective host a multifaceted fair day, with an array of talented artists from across the five boroughs who debuted their work with site-specific pop-up show in the park, featuring figures in art and photography, Zora Sicher, to documentary-style, Juan Camillo, to artists such as East Village staple Andrew Straub, and Edward Salas, famed for his artful representation of Latinx identity.
The exhibition was presented beside a series of vendors selling products curated by Minority Report, such as the notable city skate brand Canal NYC, as well as others close to the collective’s concepts.
Pairing perfectly with the artwork on display, Minority Report also hosted a professional photography workshop for local youths, focusing on educating students of basic practice techniques— from lighting, to exposure and aperture— and emphasizing, as well, the idea of accessibility in the photography industry by utilizing camera phones.
The day continued, and concluded, with a truly lit lineup of DJs— starting off with HD, probablyourdaddy, LITA, Pieces hittin, ITYS, dreams west, and finishing up with Din/Void— all of whom were a more than appropriate musical accompaniment for a Saturday street fair that slowly shifted into what felt like the ultimate to skatepark party.
Get to know more about the collective, and some of the featured vendors, below.
Danny Castaneda, Founder of Minority Report
What is the origin story of Minority Report? What experiences lead to what and where the collective is now?
I started Minority Report as response to the current state of the arts. As a PoC, coming from a lower income part of New York City, and working in a very gentrified and “forward thinking” part of the city, I saw how exclusive the art scene could be. I felt ostracized, and overtime became more and more frustrated with the realization of art being accessible to only the elite.
Out of frustration, I came up with the idea for a t shirt. A plain, white shirt with the text “white artists bore me”. The mixed reactions I received, which for the most part were mostly negative, caused me to use my anger and then it into something more positive for my friends and other people of color. Of course I’m still mad and frustrated, but now I’m turning that negative energy into something sustainable.
Why Hester Street Fair?
I chose Hester Street Fair because of the location and accessibility. Luckily, I was able to do this because of a mutual friend who got me into the spot. But also I saw it as the origin of my frustration.
I think it’s important to cut through the the stereotype of arts. That being that you have to be rich to do it, and/or white. And being able to showcase my by my friends (of colors) in a space where I wouldn’t necessarily feel welcomed, felt great.
Johnny Ngan, Co-founder of Canal NYC
Why do you feel connected to the concept that has constructed Minority Report?
My partner and I behind Canal are both of minority backgrounds— myself being Chinese and Esteban is biracial, afro-Panamanian and English. We’ve always been supportive and encouraging of fellow minorities creating their own paths and seeing their visions come to fruition.
What do you do? What built your brand, both experience and idea-wise?
I am one of the co-creators of Canal New York, a skate wheels, apparel, and accessories brand. My partner and I collaborate to design collections. I specialize in marketing, social media presence and general PR, and Esteban has taken on the production and financial management roles.
I would say our brand was built by a series of small victories. Identifying trends, creating them, connecting with our community, and engaging our followers. We aim to inspire and get people to see their environment differently— to share the New York vibe with the rest of the world.
So what is the origin story of your brand?
The origins of Canal actually have a lot to do with Midtown’s Art & Design High School. There, I was able to meet characters from all over the city, which really shifted my perspective. Esteban didn’t attend, but he dated a girl who went there and would film all of us skating, so we became friends. Fast forward to 2014, and we launched our first run of skateboard wheels!
Why Hester Street Fair?
Hester Street Fair is a great opportunity. The location is great. When I mentioned small victories this is was one of them.
The day we hosted a booth, so many people that support our brand and vision came out for us. There was magic in the air. It’s because of our community that we’ve gotten this far. They’re the ones wearing our clothes, and telling our story. At the end of the day it’s about storytelling— and Hester Street Fair is now part of that story.
So it was a pretty fun day for you guys, especially for a work day!
Super fun, and everyone we invited out had fun too. Also a lot of people were curious about us, as the people behind Canal, and Saturday they got the chance to meet us. We all got to see some of the guys in action too— there was a good space to skate flat and a courtyard out back!
We made good sales too. Everyone’s happy we did it.
Photos by Danny Castenada