In this day and age, artists are constantly pushing the boundaries in order to showcase their talent in an engaging way. On an average day, a New Yorker can be entranced by a saxophonist on the subway, a dancer in the streets or a graffiti artist that is putting their latest creation on a fresh wall. This vibrant art culture inspired young Brooklyn entrepreneurs Stephen Small-Warner and Gavin Webb to produce a web series entitled Stoop 55 where they invite extraordinary artists to perform right on their stoop.
The warm and inviting Brooklyn stoop is actually the family home of Stephen Small-Warner where he and his family have lived for decades. After college, Stephen and Gavin decided that they wanted to help artists showcase their talent in a unique way while creating a platform that involved the community. The surprisingly personal performances not only invite artists to network but also promote a sense of community within a neighborhood that is drastically changing by the day.
“The performances bring people out of their homes and allow new residents to connect with the culture of the neighborhood. When it comes to finding artists to showcase, at this point, we know what we’re looking for.” Stephen explains during an exclusive interview for the Brooklyn Reader.
It’s important to note that as the stoop gains notoriety, it joins an exclusive list of Brooklyn stoops that have played important roles in the community’s history and the production of modern art. Most Brooklynites know of 17 Arlington Place, the Brooklyn stoop that was made famous by Spike Lee when it was used in his 1994 classic film, Crooklyn. One of the most famous, is the small stoop at 70 Willow Street, where writer Truman Capote lived for nearly ten years as he penned the classic Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
The web series is well on its way to making history as its already on its second season and boasts about 19 episodes for viewers to choose from. Armed with a powerful sound system, a flat screen mounted on the front of the home and an eager audience, each episode is an experience in its own right. Earlier this year, the series put the spotlight on rising rap star Jalib. While standing tall on the infamous stoop, Jalib effortlessly raps about being young and rebellious, almost preaching in time for a generation of young people who are finding the courage to question the environment around them.
The Stoop 55 collective pulls artists from various places, including other performance venues in New York City. If they like a certain street performer or they receive recommendations from other artists, Stoop 55 is quick to invite them to the stoop in hopes of introducing them on their platform. In the future, the stoop is hoping to spotlight female MCs, who often don’t receive the spotlight that their male counterparts enjoy. On September 3rd, Stoop 55 is hosting their next event at 170 New Lots Ave. and they encourage the Brooklyn community to come see dynamic new artists in a welcoming environment.