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Village Award Winners: Past, Present, and Future

With the deadline for submitting nominations for the 2021 Village Awards fast approaching (it’s this Friday — submit your nominations HERE), we thought we would take a look at some of the incredible awardees over the past years. Here are a few of my favorites that beautifully represent the wonderful contributions our award winners make to Greenwich Village, the East Village, and NoHo:

Bea Arthur Residence: 2018 Regina Kellerman Award Winner

The Bea Arthur Residence for homeless LGBTQ youth, named for “Golden Girl” Bea Arthur, was born of a partnership between the Cooper Square Committee and the Ali Forney Center. This incredible community-building project and beautiful historic building renovation was the award winner of Village Preservation’s 2018 Regina Kellerman Award Village Award.

Approximately 40% of youth who are currently homeless identify as LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, queer/questioning). This represents at least 200,000 homeless youth nationwide and approximately 2,000 in New York City alone. Individuals and organizations provide housing for these youth in rental buildings, which are expensive and not designed expressly for these youths’ needs.

As LGBTQ identities are more accessible and accepted, youths come out earlier. But many LGBTQ youth still face rejection by their parents and caretakers. Homelessness is all too common. This places these otherwise high-functioning young people at significant risk. Many seek safety and family within the LGBTQ community; the Bea Arthur Residence housing provides this support network.

Steve Cannon: 2016 Awardee

Steve Cannon was known as the poet and “keeper of the multicultural flame and flavor of downtown Bohemia” since the early 1960’s. He passed in 2019, originally hailing from New Orleans. Influenced by his family’s penchant for storytelling, recitation, and music, he always pursued writing and cultural endeavors. When he arrived in New York City in the early 1960’s, his only interest was becoming part of the downtown scene where writers, artists, musicians, dancers, photographers and many others expressing their artistic visions could gather and exchange ideas. He lived in the East Village over the years mixing with such legendary figures as Norman Mailer, Miles Davis, Cecil Taylor, Leonard Bernstein, Charlie Parker, LeRoi Jones, George Corso, Allen Ginsberg, David Henderson, Henry Threadgill, and EL Doctorow.

Steve Cannon was instrumental in the founding of many of the Lower East Side’s and East Village’s cultural institutions such as the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, the Lower East Side Arts Festival, the Howl Festival (of which he is the is Poet Laureate), and the Nuyorican Poets Café.

Save Gansevoort: 2016 Regina Kellerman Award Winner

The winner of the 2016 Regina Kellerman Award for Outstanding Work In Preservation was Save Gansevoort, a grassroots organization formed to face a threat to the Gansevoort Market Historic District. Following the long tradition of Greenwich Village activism, this group formed quickly in response to the threat posed by plans to demolish, replace, and build on top of several historic buildings in the Gansevoort Market Historic District.

Save Gansevoort was led by long-time West Village activists, but mobilized and brought in a broad cross-section of the community including long-time residents to newcomers to fight a developer’s plan to drastically alter the historic block of Gansevoort Street between Washington & Greenwich Streets.

Nominations are now open for Village Preservation’s Annual Village Awards, which will be presented on Wednesday, June 16, 2021 at 6:00pm, at our Annual Meeting. Who would you like to see enter the next class of Village Award winners? Click here to find out more about the Village Awards and other past awardees, and submit a nomination by this Friday here.

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