Artists Rally Around City Council Hopeful, Host Fundraiser

The Artists for Cumbo Art Sale is Thursday, Jan. 10 from 6-9 p.m.


On Thursday, the local arts community will come together to host, the Artists for Cumbo Art Sale, an art auction to benefit a candidate for City Council at the Free Candy mixed-use arts space. Though the creative collective does not typically band together to endorse a politial figure, this instance is unique in that the candidate is one of their own. 

Laurie Cumbo, an arts advocate and community leader, is running for City Council for the 35th Council District. Currently represented by Councilwoman Letitia James, the seat will be available for the taking in the upcoming election. 

In 1999, Cumbo created the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA), currently located in the BAM Cultural District. She also served as director of the museum. 

"Her candidacy is bigger, more important, than just the district she’s representing. What Laurie is really representing is the arts," wrote Danny Simmons, Neo-African Abstract Expressionist painter and co-founder and chairman of Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation.

"We have a chance to elect someone who is from the arts, from a family of artists, who knows the struggles and needs of artists and arts organizations," Simmons continued. "For sure she will have way more on her plate than just our needs, but she is intimate with how the arts change lives and communities."

More than 50 Brooklyn-based artists are rallying in Cumbo's behalf, making donations of their artworks to raise funds for her campaign.

All works are valued above $300, and many of the early submissions are available to be previewed online. Among those showing support by donating pieces to be auctioned off are artists including Agnes Murray, Kathleen Hayek, Stephen Basso, Anne Kaye, Audrey Anastasi and Simmons himself, who is spearheading the event.

The public is invited to view the show and to enjoy the festivities for the $10 admission, applicable to an art purchase. The art sale runs from 6-9 p.m., with an after party celebration from 9-11 p.m. Free Candy is located at 905 Atlantic Ave., one block east of Fulton Street at St. James Place.

For more information about this event and the campaign, call: 1-347-470-0609.

Joe Gonzalez January 10, 2013 at 09:46 PM
Dear Laurie Cumbo: I just spent the past hour carefully combing your LaurieCumbo2013 website. I am pained to report that excepting a fleeting two sentence mention under your biography link that you held a concert in Fort Greene Projects, your website is devoid of any references to NYCHA Public Housing within the 35th Councilmanic District. The several public housing projects thru out the District are home to over 35,000 people. I am stunned, shocked and now OUTRAGED that YOUR website has nothing to do with this group of would be voters. Please tell me its some kind of error. Please--I refuse to believe YOU are aware of this glaring absence. Your website has ample photos and statements addressing every other group in the District. Please provide a prompt response for the NYCHA community as to why YOUR website has no reflection of the issues of the day and YOUR vision to fix same. Then go to YOUR website and add photos, statements and reports to the NYCHA community detailing what YOU intend to do about same. Also while YOU are at it please explain why the majority of the listed endorsements on your website are of folks who don't live in the 35th District? I am troubled that you don't have more local bonafide residents of the 35th District signing on as endorsees to your campaign. Please explain.
Joe Gonzalez January 11, 2013 at 04:40 PM
After much reflection and prayer I have now concluded that Ms.Laurie Cumbo does not belong in the New York City Council--nor any elective public office. That is not to say that there is no place for her in public life. I now am certain I know where Ms. Cumbo ought be. Since her focus is singularly about the Arts--and Entertainment set--I want Ms. Laurie Cumbo to be the next Commissioner of either the NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs or the NYC Dept. of Parks and Recreation. That way she can spent all her waking hours focusing on fun and games and singing and dancing. Surely there is a place for such things and certainly Ms. Cumbo would do well as Commissioner of either such NYC agencies. That said I now insist that all Mayoral candidates be questioned closely to ascertain if one Laurie Cumbo would be part of their Administration should they be elected Mayor. We the People (the first three words of the U.S. Constitution) must demand that Ms. Laurie Cumbo be the next Commissioner of either the Departments of Cultural Affairs or Parks and Recreation. Mayoral candidates who don't recognize Ms. Cumbo's talents and commit to having her placed in the aforementioned posts ought NOT get our votes.
Laurie Cumbo January 12, 2013 at 08:42 PM
Mr. Gonzalez, I don't make a habit of responding to blogs, however, in this case I will make an exception. You originally expressed an interest in working on my campaign in a paid capacity and I suspect that because that did not happen in the timely matter that you would have liked... you have resorted to this level of public discourse. It is unfortunate. Perhaps you have found employment with another candidate and I wish you and them the best of luck!
Laurie Cumbo January 12, 2013 at 08:47 PM
To address your first blog statement. I have done extensive work in public housing in my capacity as a Museum Director. I have had dozens of interns and summer youth workers intern at the Museum over the last seven years one of those young men is currently at Brandeis University. Thousands of young children have come to the Museum for school tours and family programs. I have provided after school programming in the schools that directly serve the three developments in the District as well as an arts mentorship program. Last year, I secured a $150,000 grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to provide monthly cultural programming in the three developments beginning in 2013 in order to give young people opportunities to channel their energy and talent. I believe that when young people have opportunities to channel their energy they do not feel the need to shoot one another. So I respectfully disagree with your depiction of the arts as "fun and games and singing and dancing". Highly successful and intellectual societies regard the arts as a major economic development platform that creates jobs, attracts tourists, supports local businesses, educates young people and changes the way we see ourselves and one another. While I have participated in all of the major press conferences surrounding public housing and the march following the shootings last year, I feel it is more important to bring resources, solutions and opportunities to those that are most underserved.
Bear January 12, 2013 at 08:51 PM
To Joe Gonzalez. Every elected official, and those looking to run for office, are owed a tad more respect from you. You are very talented at whimsical banter, but common sense and dignity elude you...hence the JOKE that you are in Brooklyn. If you spent more time looking for a REAL job instead of begging for a JOB amongst the same folks you chastise, you would be better off. I have attended all of the LC2013 Fundraisers, and I can say that you have only attend the ones that offer FREE FOOD or DRINK !! Every elected did not sprout from the back room of politics and we need a fresh look at all issues that affect our communities of color. Ms. Cumbo's history speaks for itself and you should let the people decide. Get a real job, or at least get paid for all of your jibberish !!... a friend
Laurie Cumbo January 12, 2013 at 08:52 PM
As far as the endorsements on my website... those are not endorsements... they are individuals that have contributed to my campaign. Just a little FYI - when you decide to run for office, it is very common to ask individuals in what they call "your inner circle" to donate to your campaign... those are family members, friends, colleagues, etc., that might live outside of your immediate District. For example, if you were to run for office your contributors might be from... well I can't say because I don' know where you work, where you live, who your family members are or where you are from. Joe, you are a very eloquent speaker in person and on the blogs, however, I am at a real loss for what impact your bashing of elected officials and others has had on creating real sustainable solutions in our community. As far as my future, only God can control where my destiny lies. Trust me... leave it in Gods hands he knows best and I will continue to pray for you!
Bear January 12, 2013 at 09:05 PM
Can anybody tell us who the real Joe Gonzalez is? Where he lives, where he grew up, his education, his church affiliations, his family, his friends, his hobbies. Can he play a sport or chess...if he's a movie goer or just a critic. Most importantly...If he has a criminal past ? Let's turn the camera and microphone on one who seems to know all about everyone. Who are you...Joe Gonzalez ?!?


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