Neal Ludevig and Vishaal ReddySnarky Elephant, A
New York, NY – Today, Snarky Elephant Productions, announced its new cohortNikoa Evans, the Executive Director of Harlem Park to Park, will receive the 2016 Lynnette Velasco Community Impact Award at its 5th anniversary gala on Thursday, March 18th at the Alhambra Ballroom. In addition to being a historic Harlem location, the venue was the site of HAF’s first gala event in 2012.
The Lynnette Velasco Community Impact award was first introduced in 2013 to honor Councilwoman Dickens’ late chief of staff Lynnette Velasco, who passed away unexpectedly in 2012. Lynnette was integral in making the Harlem Arts Festival, and many growing arts organizations in Harlem, possible. She provided advice, counsel, guidance and support to make HAF a success in its 1st year. HAF honors her memory each year through its annual Community Impact Award.
Past recipients of the award include Dr. Brenda Greene, Executive Director of the Center for Black Literature, Linda Walton, Executive Director of the Harlem Arts Alliance and the late musician and social activist Fred Ho.
Nikoa Evans, the 2016 Lynnette Velasco Community Impact award recipient, is a founding board member and Executive Director of Harlem Park to Park (HP2P), a neighborhood development organization of 130+ entrepreneurs in Central Harlem. HP2P has organized local events such as Food and Drink Blvd, the Harlem Harvest Festival, Harlem Days Harlem Nights, and more since 2009. Most recently, HP2P was the selected charity for Marcus Samuelsson’s Harlem EatUp! Festival in Morningside Park.
“Nikoa Evans has done a remarkable job celebrating Harlem’s rich cultural diversity while supporting and bringing together our community in truly unique and innovative ways, all at the same time.” said Neal Ludevig, executive director of the Harlem Arts Festival. “Her work personifies everything that Lynnette Velasco believed in and stood for during her life.”
The Lynnette Velasco Community Impact award is being commissioned from 2015 HAF Visual Artist Tiffany Latrice. Councilwoman Dickens is confirmed to attend and speak. Gala attendees will receive the first announcement of 2016 HAF artists and will have an opportunity to meet all of them at the gala. They will also be treated to a festival preview performance by 2016 artist Braxton Cook, an emerging saxophonist in Harlem. HAF selects its artists through an application working together with individuals from organizations within the community, including the Apollo, Harlem Stage, the Studio Museum, Harlem School for the Arts, and more.
The night will be hosted by Michael Mwenso, a former performer at the festival and programmer at Jazz at Lincoln Center, and Brianna Thomas, a Jazzmobile vocalist winner and performer from HAF’s 1st gala in 2012.
Christian Saul Moldes
Ryan Travis Chu
Tickets are available now from $75 and can be purchased at www.harlemartsfestival.com/gala.
About Snarky Elephant Productions
Snarky Elephant focuses exclusively on producing content about and by underrepresented groups, especially groups with the least amount of representation in film. Dedicated to providing equal pay and equal representation among crew and employees,
Within our company and its productions, we’re proud to say that over 75% of the cast and crew identified as a woman, person of color, and/or a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Our leadership, right down to our production assistants, is atypical and non-conforming. Perhaps most notably, our founders embody the underrepresented identities they are uplifting.
Since 2018 we’ve created content that has explored the underrepresented human experience, capturing the attention of major festivals, such as the Tribeca Film Festival and Sundance. Our projects have been recognized as the best in their categories, and have been covered in major news outlets, and we aim to keep it that way. We champion new voices, seeking to nurture and foster a new generation of creators who are aiming to change the status quo in our industry and culturally.
We produce emotionally rich visual content that explores the under-represented human experience. Through scripted and unscripted content, we champion emerging creators whose identities inspire them to defy societal barriers to educate and shift established standards. Our intention is to change company cultures, the entertainment industry, and larger global sensitivities with darkly amusing, inventive stories that chronicle the complexities of human spirit.