We are pleased to announce the third cycle of the Brooklyn-based Intergenerational Community Arts Council (ICAC), a multigenerational team of residents from Ingersoll, Whitman, Farragut, Gowanus, and Atlantic Terminal NYCHA houses and surrounding Brooklyn neighborhoods.

The ICAC is designed to support NYCHA residents as central stakeholders and decision-makers in the artistic and cultural life of the community, and facilitate connections with neighbors, resources, and local business outside the housing developments – ensuring Fort Greene and Downtown Brooklyn remain communities where both longtime and new residents of all income levels can live, work, create, and belong.

This cycle, running from February 2022 – June 2023, focuses on improving the health and wellness of the community through the arts, a theme that was selected by the members in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Melissa Apedo

Melissa Apedo was raised and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. As a writer, she champions honesty and raw storytelling. She believes it strengthens the human connection. She enjoys her professional work as a project manager in signage design, which allows her to give purpose to spaces. Melissa graduated with a degree in Hospitality Management & Tourism from Virginia State University, an HBCU. She loves travel, yoga, dance, and spending time in nature.

Zolanlly Brunson

Zolanlly Brunson is a first generation Latina who works with young people to rewrite their future through youth development. She’s a lover of her two Stevens, her family, her Dominicanidad, and God.


Andrew Ceneus


Andrew Census is a dynamic project manager and founder of FoodwithFam, a free food distribution organization that runs on a mutual aid framework. A Brooklyn native, he went to Xaverian high school and earned a BA in computer science from the University of Hartford. He is an expert in seeing projects from incubation to completion with attention to detail and nuance. Andrew would call himself a Community Liaison. From his relationships with community leaders and tenants throughout the NYC area, he is a servant to the people and holds these relationships close to his heart.


Denise Evans

Denise Evans is a Brooklyn native, a community outreach worker, Photoville’s Fort Greene Community Hero, a Parent Coordinator, and a nature photographer (https://www.communityheroes.nyc/projects/denise-evans/).


Alyssa Forte

Alyssa Forte is a choreographer, writer, and dancer focused on empowering the community through movement and expression. Daily creativity has always been her resource for joy. Fort Greene is home.



Chasity Fryer will never lose her love for her childlike imagination – she has a big imagination and has always encouraged her children to think big. She also has a love for fantasy, and believes it is important to never lose that wow factor – be impressed by the lights and wonder and keep that childhood light to be amazed. Chasity’s saying is “dream in color,” and she gets to put this into practice by being a vocal/chorus after school teacher, putting together shows and teaching the children to sing their heart songs. Chasity also runs a organization called Being A Great Samaritan where she puts her imagination to work by putting on community events. No matter the event, Chasity incorporates music, dance, poetry, and art. One other way Chasity incorporates her imagination is by writing. She has written one self-published children’s book and has more to come. She is also an independent filmmaker and is looking forward to her first film feature on the big screen.

DaQuan Herring

DaQuan Herring is a modern day renaissance man with a backround in fine arts, teaching, TV studio productions, and film. Born and raised in Brooklyn, DaQuan dreams of becoming the male version of Oprah.


Mutale Kanyanta is the owner of a business called LOCALS located in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Mutale is an immigrant who has lived in that community for 28 years. In that time, it transformed from a food desert to a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, in which a large number of its Black working-class residents were displaced by an affluent, mostly white-collar demographic. The remaining working-class community has been left in poverty, feeling marginalized and with limited access to affordable, non-processed foods. Located at the intersection of these two worlds, Mutale saw the need to repair the widening schism between the two. His solution was to create LOCALS, a new form of food business that centers the needs of people and the planet alongside the pursuit of profit. LOCALS functions as a cafe/community kitchen and grocery store during the day. In the evenings, it is a community and event space with programming focused on culinary arts and food justice that highlight conversations around community, equity, and sustainability using food. In the near future, it will offer culinary arts education to the community as a gateway to sustainable employment.


Nicole Norton-Evans

Nicole S. Norton-Evans is the Editor-n-Chief for Nowprmagazine.com. Nicole was born and raised in the Clinton Hill section of Brooklyn. She lives with her family and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism, Communications from Long Island University. She then acquired her Master’s degree in Information Technology with a minor in Business and PR from NYU.


Squala Orphan

Squala Orphan began freestyling and writing music as therapy to deal with the hardships of life at the tender age of 14. Squala has made a name for himself with hip-hop fans and industry insiders all over the globe.



Brandon Payne is an educator with a mission to inspire the current and next generation by supplying space and resources through the arts. He is an avid creator through the landscape of writing, video, and sound.


Julius Roberts

Julius Roberts is a New York native who enjoys long walks, a good conversation, and motivating people. Writing poetry, photography, and speaking up against the negative stigma surrounding mental health issues are a few of his passions.


Tanja Richardson

Tanja Richardson is a Brooklyn native who enjoys poetry, writing, hip hop, and various forms of art. Community outreach, giving, and connecting people are her passions.


Desiree Rucker

Desirée Rucker is a multidisciplinary artist who tells stories using film, video, and words.

Her purpose with the ICAC is to share her enthusiasm for the arts with fellow members and to share her skills as a writer and filmmaker to further the group’s efforts to increase communication and the spirit of community.

She completed her MFA in Creative Writing (LIU Brooklyn) in 2015. In the past two decades, Desirée has filmed and produced hundreds of hours of content for her cable access television program Culture Matters TV on BRIC TV, which features local artists in diverse genre. In 2017, she received the B Free George Stoney Award for Social Impact for her program. Her mockumentary The Theatre screened at Anthology Archives in the 48 Hour Film Festival (2004), and her documentary Hairstory screened at B Scene’s Documentary screening series at the Bishop Gallery (2016). Her writing has been published in literary journals such as Brooklyn Paramount, By the Overpass, and Downtown Brooklyn. Her poem “The Legacy” from her MFA Thesis Relativity: A Memoir in Prose and Poetry is anthologized in the Writers Studio, 30th Anniversary Anthology. Her Monologue “Junk In The Trunk” was selected by Frank Silvera and the Billie Holiday Theater for inclusion in the bicoastal theatrical reading of 50 in 50: Letters to Our Daughters. She is a founding member of The Future Historical Society, which uses art to celebrate and strengthen community while collecting the oral histories of the people living and working in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Her documentary short “Ebony Kiss,” produced in the 2021 Documentary Intensive Lab at BRIC, premiered in January 2022 in broadcast and online.


Shawna Ryals

Shawana Ryals has a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Management and an affinity for the well-being of her community. She has a background in customer service and experience with insurance and utility companies, and has volunteered as a classroom parent for her children’s school.

She is currently a Customer Care Associate scheduling transportation services for the disabled. She has studied, volunteered, and worked with BRIC’s Community Media Division and aspires to incorporate film as a form of expression of interest for her community.



Celeste Staton

Celeste Staton is a PROUD Brooklyn native, a tenant and communitay advocate, and a founding member of the ICAC. She is so Brooklyn that she remembers MAYS Departments Store on Nevins and Fulton. She served for many years as the President of the Atlantic Terminal Tenants’ Association. She loves music, dancing, the ICAC, laughing, and chanting with her fellow Bodhisattvas. https://www.communityheroes.nyc/projects/celeste-staton/

Ketriana Yvonne

Ketriana Yvonne is a Fort Greene native, BRIC Community Producer, poet, and author. She connects with audiences by seeing beyond the physical and connecting with their spirit.


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