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Black-Led Nonprofit Opens Brand New Makerspace in Flatbush Central Market

The newly-opened Mangrove Design Studio is a place where artists and makers can work on creative projects such as digital media, apparel, photography, audio and more.

Last week, Youth Design Center commemorated its 10-year anniversary as a Black-led nonprofit in East Brooklyn with a ribbon-cutting for the grand opening of the Mangrove Design Studio.

YDC is an award-winning, youth-led creative agency and innovation hub — based out of the Flatbush Central Marketplace — that has provided young people with pathways to learn and develop marketable design and tech skills over the past decade.

The Mangrove Design Studio was established as part of a residency partnership between YDC and Mangrove — an open workspace and cultural development center that supports local creative producers, makers, workers and entrepreneurs of color.

The newly-opened design studio is a place where artists and makers can work on creative projects such as digital media, apparel, photography, audio and more.

It also serves as a collaborative workspace (or "Makerspace") where creators can exchange ideas and knowledge with one another, in addition to offering residency programs to aid in the development of artists and makers.

“We are grateful to celebrate ten years as a Black-led million-dollar organization that is thriving due to the support of our stakeholders and funders who believe in our work for the young adults we serve,” said Quardean Lewis-Allen, founder and executive director of Youth Design Center.

"Our residency partnership with Mangrove has allowed us to expand our services and Creative Apprenticeship Program to reach more young people in Central Brooklyn. In addition, the partnership will enable us to work together to provide a design and technical training space for young people and other community members in Brooklyn, New York."

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, guests in attendance were taken on an interactive tour of the design studio, along with getting the opportunity to listen to a panel of professionals in the tech and design industry.

The panel discussion was the first of YDC's "Design Disruptors Event Series: Creating a New Norm for The Future of Tech, Media, and Design," which the nonprofit said will continue to take place over the course of the rest of the year in celebration of its decade-long anniversary.

The first panel, titled "Career Pathways in Tech and Design," focused on upending conventional working methods and gaining access to job opportunities in the tech and design sectors.

For more information on Youth Design Center and its programs, head over to