Arts and Culture Fest grows in Flatbush

The Creative Side brings arts, design and culture to an under-used plaza.
Photo courtesy Creative Side

Arts and Culture Fest, a production of The Creative Side, launched on Saturday, April 21, as a one-of-kind artisan market for artists and designers to sell their handmade goods to the Flatbush community.

An innovative project supported by Community Board 9 and fiscally sponsored by the Brooklyn Arts Council, the Fest is be located at Parkside Plaza, an outdoor plaza in front of the Parkside Avenue Train Station (B and Q Trains) in Flatbush, Brooklyn.

The Arts and Culture Fest feature for artists such as Noel Hefele, crafters, vendors and designers like Dunia Adornments, Dahlila Soleil and E.A. O’Connor and Chris Jimenez; crafters like Rasta Crafts who makes handcrafted leather sandals and slippers vendors like Naturally Sweets Desserts with organic muffins, Soaps by Me with soaps and lotions, and We Read Networks selling adult and kids books.

For the kids, there is Mr. Brown & Friends who does face painting, has balloons and arrives with Elmo to greet and meet local children.

The musical program began with DJ Duwani playing house music and bringing dance music to the plaza and will continue with other local musicians each week.

This month, Yelp ( will be brought on board as a partner to assist in marketing the festival to its 130,000 Brooklyn active users via its weekly newsletter. Yelp will promote the Arts and Culture Fest just in time for Memorial Day weekend. And as part of Internet Week — May 19-24, the organizers are also partnering with BKStyle, Bonnie Sandy and Occupy Fashion, an initiative to encourage shopping online and onsite.

In June, will join the fest to celebrate Caribbean Month with Caribbean food, music, and tourist associations.

“We have a unique blend of artisans and designers showcasing their talents of the city and exhibiting and selling art and design objects outdoors” says Atim Annette Oton, co-founder of The Creative Side.

She added, “It is great to conceptualize an idea and watch it grow.” The outdoor plaza will have 30 vendors showing and selling functional, collectible art, crafts and design items. It will offer an alternate venue of commerce, creative arts marketing and be a showcase for art and design goods in Flatbush, Brooklyn.

The market operates on Saturdays until Oct. 20, 2012. It was originally presented to Brooklyn’s Community Board 9 in June 2011.

For Pearl Miles, district manager of Community Board 9, “Arts and Culture Fest is a wonderful addition to Flatbush. It will re-energize an empty plaza in our community.”

The Creative Side was established in 2011 as a collaboration of Atim Annette Oton and Javaka Steptoe to launch and maintain an arts venue and business opportunity for artists to sell their work in Brooklyn. For additional information, visit the website

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