Arts For Living: Artists Feed the L.E.S.

View Program for Arts For Living

Arts For Living: Artists Feed the L.E.S. is a virtual fundraiser featuring video commissions by collaborative teams of Lower East Side residents and New York City based filmmakers. Marking 1 year since New York City went into lockdown due to COVID-19, each work is a deeply personal reflection on the Lower East Side here and now. 

This screening will be hosted live by Penny Arcade from our historic Playhouse Theater, which for the past year has been operating as our Food Access Initiative, a food pantry that serves 700 Lower East Side residents each week who face food insecurity worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Featuring video commissions by

Linda Diaz with Theo X
TrippJones with Alejandro Hidalgo
Elroy Gay with Alicia Mersy
Eugene Puglia with Alon Sicherman
Barbara King and Sandra E. Walker with Gogy Esparza
Annie Tan with Andy K. Boyce

There will be live captioning and closed captioning for this event. 

Missed this program? Watch below!

How To Support The Food Access Initiative


Arts For Living is produced to support our Food Access Initiative which to date, has distributed nearly $700,000 worth of groceries to our neighbors. In addition to attending the event, please consider making a donation. Your donation will be directed towards our relief efforts

Buy A Shirt!

Abrons has collaborated with Lower East Side clothing brand The Good Company  to design a limited edition run of Arts for Living shirts, available for pre-sale on March 26 on The Good Company website. 100% of sales from every shirt sold will be donated to our Food Access Initiative.


Penny Arcade aka Susana Ventura is an internationally respected performance artist, actress, writer, poet, theater maker and an icon of artistic resistance. An avowed artist advocate, she has worked with artists all over the world, promoting other artists is a feature of her practice. In a career spanning 52 years she has inspired and influenced artists around the world for decades. She has created over 16 full length works and hundreds of solo performance pieces. Her work draws from oral history, journalism and memoir and has always focused on the other and the outsider in society in a cultural critique on history, class, race, and identity as well as critiquing the politics of art. The child of working-class Southern Italian immigrants, she debuted at 18 in NYC’s explosive Playhouse of the Ridiculous and was a teenaged Warhol Superstar featured in the film Women In Revolt. in 2010 Semiotexte published a partial collection of her scripts in Bad Reputation.

With her longtime collaborator of 29 years, Steve Zehentner, she co-helms the “LES BIO Project” and “Stemming The Tide Of Cultural Amnesia, a video documentary project that has broadcast and cybercast weekly for  21  years every Monday at 11pm on TV, cable, and Fios. 

Andy K. Boyce is a korean american filmmaker based in Brooklyn who graduated from Emerson College for film production. His work is driven by documentary practices highlighting key figures in altenernative and queer scenes. He has had works featured in film festivals such as “DOC NYC.” Andy’s work has also been featured in online publications such as Paper, Galore, Von, and Out magazine. 

Linda Diaz is a singer, songwriter, and performer from the Lower East Side of Manhattan. She is the winner of the 2020 NPR Tiny Desk Contest and co-host of the PBS musical education series “Sound Field.” The gentle yet soulful artist is easily recognizable by her lush vocal arrangements and powerful lyricism that accompany a jazzy r&b sound. 

In December of 2019, Diaz independently released “Magic,” a 6 track EP. In August of the following year, she won the 2020 NPR Tiny Desk Contest with a live rendition of the project’s lead single “Green Tea Ice Cream.” Her entry garnered early recognition from this year’s contest judges, notably NPR Tiny Desk Creator Bob Boilen and Grammy Award Winning Artist Brittany Howard. Diaz also featured in the 2020 MTV VMA’s J Balvin x Toyota collaboration where she opened the commercial singing and performing Balvin’s hit single “Mi Gente.” She lives in Brooklyn, NY. 

Gogy Esparza is an Ecuadorian-American, New York City-based artist who concentrates in photography and video. His photography project, El Vacîo (2012-14), was published by Dashwood Books and featured in accompanying exhibitions with Comme Des Garçons in Berlin and the Wayward Gallery in London. He has also exhibited at HVW8 Los Angeles; HVW8 Berlin; SO1 Gallery, DOMICILE, and Just Another Gallery in Tokyo; La Pierre in Paris; The Aishti Foundation in Beirut; 98 Orchard, No Romance Gallery, Magic Gallery, and Know-Wave Gallery in New York; Auto Body in New York and Miami; Good Taste in Miami; and Test Gallery in Copenhagen. Esparza has collaborated with brands such as Supreme, Comme Des Garçons, Nike, Adidas, Converse and Vans, and his work has been featured in publications including ARTFORUM, Purple Diary, The New York Times, Vogue, Interview, Richardson Magazine, Cultured, VICE, i-D, Office, Dazed, GRIND, Ollie, Eyescream, Highsnobiety, Hypebeast and Studio Magazine (published by the Studio Museum in Harlem).

Elroy Gay has called the LES home since moving to the “6th Boro” after a fire destroyed his family apartment in Brooklyn. Even as the neighborhood became a destination for NYC’s young and hip in the early 80’s, and teenage Elroy thrived in the LES’s blossoming cultural and social scene, he was hiding a severe reading disability from even his closest friends and family.  As an adult, Elroy overcame his reading disability and founded Tha 6th Boro, Inc. with its mission of organizing community events, designing urban apparel, and supporting artists and entrepreneurs in spreading messages of hope, positive life-styles and literacy development. He works to ensure future generations of Elroy Gay’s on the streets and school yards of NYC dream, plan, and accomplish life-affirming pursuits that contribute to the well-being of their communities. 

Alejandro Hidalgo is a New York City based visual artist and designer. Originally trained in architectural design, Alejandro progressively gravitated towards working outside of his initial discipline. Over the past several years, he has worked closely with musicians such as Lower East Side native, Tripp Jones, directing and editing visuals for songs and instrumental tracks. More recently, he has continued his work in design and is dedicated to expanding his skills in 3D rendering and animation in order to apply this specialty to his visual projects.

Tripp Jones is an underground artist born and raised in the heart of the Lower East Side of New York City. A New York native, Tripp remains true to the gritty environment he grew up in despite the considerable changes to his community. Tripp found music as an outlet to express himself creatively and tell the harrowing stories he witnessed and experienced growing up. After releasing over 36 mixtapes he has built an incredibly strong cult following both online and in New York, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia. Tripp’s energy and consistency established himself as an underground legend in today’s digital age, and a living testament to the New York underground that continues to shape pop culture.

To date, Tripp has collaborated with veteran producers such as Oogie Mane, Black Noise, Nedarb, Tony Seltzer, f1thy, and many more. With a dark sound that can be attributed to Memphis rap legends and the grimey New York streets, Tripp has one of the best live rap performances in today’s modern age and frequently performs on genre stretch- ing bills drawing a variety of diverse audiences. Additionally, he is affiliated with 5 Finger Posse and the New York hard core scene. He is member of popular hard core band Show Me The Body’s label Corpus, and released his debut album “Machine Smoke” under the Corpus imprint. You can find Tripp Jones’ music on all streaming platforms. 

Alicia Mersy is an artist and filmmaker of Lebanese/French origin who lives and works in New York. Her work uses the camera to connect to people and to the divine, by forging pathways towards personal and collective peace within a world of infinite production and boundless orientation. Mersy draws from big phenomena including the natural sciences, global capitalism and the infinitude of galactic spirituality to explore decolonial aesthetics and political resistance. Her approach to new media, photography and installation creates space for conversations surrounding self representation, social, class guilt politics, and the resistance of repressive global structures. Mersy received an MA in Fine Arts from Central Saint Martins in 2015. Alicia Mersy’s work has been featured in exhibitions at The Institute of Contemporary Arts (London, UK), Tel Aviv Museum of Art (TLV, Israel) and The Migros Museum of Contemporary Art. 

Eugene Puglia is a queer multimedia artist based in New York City. Puglia writes, produces, and directs “The Dawn Lombardi Show,” a variety talk show featuring established and emerging artists in various comedy sketches. He also produces documentaries featuring family members and characters from his hometown in Akron, Ohio and, a completed a piece featuring the New York City hardcore band Show Me The Body, as well as two fictional documentaries completed in 2016 and 2017 featuring actress/comedian Terriona Morgan. He has directed films for Mademe NYC and Converse. Puglia has traveled around the world performing as the country music sensation “Caroline Tennessee” and the hardcore/screamo solo act “Malakai Johnston.” He has also contributed to many group exhibits in New York as well as features in Magazines like Dizzy Mag, Cultured Mag, ID mag, and King Kong Mag Issue 7

Theo X works in the field of photography and performance art. He has an advance diploma in photography from Pathshala, South Asian Media Institute. Recently. Atish has been awarded the Overseas Press Club of America award and the VQR prize for photography. His participation in major group exhibitions includes: Murder Not Tragedy, Drik Gallery in 2014; Murder Not Tragedy, Australia 2015; 1134: Lives Not Numbers, Pathshala, 2014; Lives Not Numbers, Art Gallery of EMW Bookstore, Boston, 2015. First solo exhibition was Rana Plaza: An Act of God? Out of the Blue gallery, Scotland, 2015. His interests include and show a deep understanding of people’s individuality, the private space that has been violated by the society since his motherland’s independence, the struggle of being in the minority, identity crisis, and religious extremism.

Alon Sicherman is an artist and entrepreneur and native of New York City.  He has won many awards for his work including multiple Emmys and a Sundance Juror Award.

Michaella Shiamilis is a Cypriot-American cellist, born and raised in New York City. Classically trained, She began playing her instrument at the age of 6 at Diller Quaille School of Music. Michaella played with Cyprus Symphony Youth Orchestra for several years between the ages 10 to 14. She has also played with World Peace Orchestra at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in 2013. Since graduating high school, she’s begun playing with New York Session Symphony Orchestra and has recorded with/for varying artists including Standing On the Corner, Elke Music, and Dan English.

Annie Tan is a special education teacher, activist, writer and storyteller based in Chinatown, New York City. Annie fights for her students, public education, teachers unions, tenants rights, and Asian American issues, working to organize a better world. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, The New Republic, PBS’ documentary series “Asian Americans,” and twice on the “Moth Radio Hour.” Annie is currently working on her first book, a memoir, and hopes to write an epic book one day about her family and Asian American history. 

The 2020-2021 Season at Abrons Arts Center is supported, in part, by generous grants from the Howard Gilman Foundation, the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, the Harkness Foundation for Dance, the Jerome Foundation, the Scherman Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, the Jerome Robbins Foundation, the Trust for Mutual Understanding, and other generous Henry Street Settlement funders. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and support from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.