Welcome

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. ~George Bernard Shaw

Welcome! I invite you to join me as we begin what will be one of the most exciting campaign journeys in Brooklyn’s history! It is with great excitement and enthusiasm that I share with you that I will begin the next chapter of my life as a candidate to become the next New York City Council Member for the 35th Council District covering the communities of Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights and parts of Bedford Stuyvesant!!! This is a major and important decision in my life and one that has come with careful thought, prayer and deliberation with my family and friends who have guided me throughout my life’s decisions. This has been my greatest calling ever and one that has been too powerful for me to ignore and I look forward to beginning this new journey with your love, support, enthusiasm and sacrifice as we transform, reinvent and create a more equitable community that will preserve our greatest asset, which is our diversity!

Politics is in great need of new voices, thinking, ideas and most importantly doers with extensive track records of accomplishment and results. I have decided to run for office for so many reasons, however, I am most driven by my desire to reform the inequity that has become institutionalized on so many levels of City government and continues to erode core American values. As a cultural leader, entrepreneur, institution builder, college professor, educator and small business owner working in the not-for-profit sector, I have seen and experienced first hand how inequity, corruption, nepotism and bureaucracy continue to plague City government and penalize those who are working towards solution to create vibrant, safe communities where all people are respected and included in the development of their neighborhood.

The fight for equity will inevitably lead to the preservation of diversity, the 35th Council District’s most valuable resource. As communities all over America become more diverse, it is my goal and dream to make this District a model for communities both locally and globally on how to balance diverse neighborhoods where every voice is included in its development.

Forty years ago, Shirley Chisholm ran for President of the United States, under the brilliant and powerful campaign mantra of “Unbought and Unbossed”. She recognized how special interest groups who support campaigns, compromise an elected officials ability to work on behalf of ALL of its constituents. I am asking for the support from the people because the truth is “I Am You” and you are my “Special Interest”. I will bring creativity, imagination, innovation, ambition and out-of-the-box thinking to government and I promise you, as the City Council Member of the 35th Council District, “Politics will never be the same”!

Laurie Angela Cumbo
Candidate for the 35th Council District


Biography

Laurie Angela Cumbo was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and graduated from the Berkeley Carroll Day School in Park Slope and Brooklyn Technical High School in Fort Greene before going on to attend Spelman College in Atlanta, GA, where she graduated with a degree in Fine Art. She returned to Brooklyn and received her Master’s Degree in Visual Arts Administration from New York University in 1999. As a cultural leader, entrepreneur, activist, college professor, educator, lecturer and small business owner working in the not-for-profit sector, Ms. Cumbo has dedicated her life to community development and preserving the dynamic elements of diversity that have made Brooklyn, New York what it is today.

Ms. Cumbo’s parents Wilkins and Beverly Cumbo who worked for the Off Track Betting Corporation as Branch Managers for over 25 years instilled a strong sense of education, community service and a love for the arts. Ms. Cumbo’s educational career has been bolstered by her extensive work experience as well as her travels abroad. She has worked at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, WNET Channel 13, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Grey Art Gallery. She has studied at the Utrecht School of the Arts in the Netherlands and the Fuji Studios in Florence, Italy. Moreover, her travels throughout North America, Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean have given her a global perspective on city planning and development, specifically on how cultural tourism revitalizes and fuels urban areas socially, aesthetically and economically.

At the age of twenty-two, while pursuing her graduate studies at NYU, Ms. Cumbo used her course work and thesis as a guide for developing the business plan for MoCADA, Brooklyn’s first Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts. She incorporated MoCADA as a 501c3 non-profit institution with enthusiastic support from the Brooklyn community of Bedford Stuyvesant and surrounding neighborhoods. The Museum opened on the fourth floor of a brownstone walk-up located next to and owned by the Bridge Street AWME Church on Stuyvesant Avenue.

Ms. Cumbo has always been dedicated to ensuring that underserved communities receive the type of programming and educational opportunities that all of New York City’s thriving neighborhoods have come to expect. From the overwhelming positive response to MoCADA’s initial exhibitions, Ms. Cumbo recognized the power of art to invigorate communities. MoCADA’s programs grew to include, outdoor film festivals, after-school programs, mural projects, walking tours, and Bus Tours with “Braggin’ About Brooklyn” to bring locals and tourists alike to Bedford Stuyvesant. Ms. Cumbo’s efforts along with many other dedicated individuals contributed to the economic revitalization of Bedford Stuyvesant.

To accommodate the growth of MoCADA, in 2006 Ms. Cumbo raised $550,000 in city, state and private funds to support the Museum’s relocation to a newly renovated handicap accessible space designed by the architectural firm of Studio SUMO. Today, MoCADA occupies the ground floor of the James E. Davis 80 Arts Building in the BAM Cultural District of Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Under Ms. Cumbo’s leadership over the last thirteen years the institution has produced:

  • Over 100 exhibitions, over 500 public programs,
  • 13 Years of the Annual KIDFlix Film Fest of Bed-Stuy,
  • Over 100 interns trained in arts administration that are working all over the world,
  • Thousands of school tours,
  • Afterschool art programs for thousands of children in underserved communities,
  • MoCADA TV and the
  • Soul of Brooklyn Arts & Business Partnership that has awarded over $60,000 to over 20 arts organizations in 2011-2012.

Through annual fundraising on the Federal, State, City, Foundation, Corporate and Individual levels, Ms. Cumbo successfully manages an annual budget of $800,000 and eight staff members. MoCADA’s staff all receive health insurance through a program that Ms. Cumbo was instrumental in bringing to Brooklyn called Brooklyn HealthWorks in collaboration with the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.

Ms. Cumbo works very diligently to bring people of all backgrounds together to discover their commonalities. Her brainchild has become the “Town Hall” institution of Brooklyn collecting thousands of diverse local and international visitors together to discuss challenging and provocative issues, such as:

  • Gentrification,
  • The Atlantic Yards Project,
  • The rebuilding of Haiti,
  • The war in Iraq,
  • Occupy Wall Street
  • Gun violence and
  • Women’s reproductive rights to name a few.

Most importantly, under Ms. Cumbo’s leadership, MoCADA has become the institution for emerging Museum professionals who are eager to have a voice in shaping our local global community.

The depth and breadth of Ms. Cumbo’s community activism extends beyond the walls of the Museum. After attending several community forums and rallies about gun violence in the Walt Whitman, Ronald V. Ingersoll and Farragut Public Houses, Ms. Cumbo acted on her conviction of the power of art to build community and led an effort to turn public housing into an ideal venue for cultural events. She privately raised $150,000 from the Rockefeller Foundation and Brooklyn Community Foundation to provide monthly cultural programming by world-class musicians and performers in the community centers and outdoor spaces.

Ms. Cumbo shares her community’s concern about the closing of local businesses throughout Brooklyn as a result of the recent wide spread development of franchises and department stores. In 2012, she raised $250,000 from a highly competitive National Grant called ArtPlace to create monthly concerts and block parties in collaboration with the Business Improvement Districts (BID’s) throughout Central Brooklyn in order to attract locals and tourists alike to support local businesses.

Ms. Cumbo has seen and experienced first hand how inequity, corruption, nepotism and bureaucracy continue to plague City government and penalizes those who are working towards solution to create vibrant, safe communities where all people are respected and included in the development of their neighborhood. She has advocated and fought for increased and equitable funding for all not-for-profits on the City, State and Federal levels.

Ms. Cumbo served as a graduate professor in the School of Art & Design at Pratt Institute from 2001 – 2011 in the Arts and Cultural Management Program. She is also a member of ARTTABLE, the American Association of Museums, the National Alliance of African and African American Art Support Groups, the Cultural Equity Group, the Downtown Brooklyn Arts Alliance and the Spelman College Alumni Association. She is an alumna of Achieving Leadership’s Purpose (ALP), Jack and Jill of America Brooklyn Chapter and Delta Sigma Theta Brooklyn Chapter Teen Lift.


Awards & Citations

2012 Certificate of Excellence presented by the Excellence Girls Charter School of Bedford Stuyvesant for Bringing Art and Culture to the Community
2011 Certificate of Contribution, Annual Career Day Event, The School of Integrated Learning, MS 354
2011 President of the Borough of Brooklyn Marty Markowitz, Participant in the Stars of New York Dance
2011 Certificate of Appreciation, New York City Department of Education, Frederick Douglass Academy IV, Secondary School Career Day
2010 Certificate of Recognition, Office of State Senator Velmanette Montgomery
2010 Tohma Faulkner Art Trailblazer Award in commemoration of outstanding contributions to the Bedford Stuyvesant community
2010 Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce Award for Reflecting the Rich Spirit and Resolve of our Borough, Black History Month Celebration
2010 City Council Citation, Office of City Councilman Albert Vann, Recognized as an outstanding citizen, one whom is worthy of the esteem of both the community and the great City of New York
2010 Office of the President of the Borough of Brooklyn Marty Markowitz – the Tohma Y. Faulkner Community Art Trailblazer Award on the occasion of the 6th Annual Bed Stuy Alive Festival
2010 Tohma Faulkner Woman of Distinction Award, presented by Boys and Girls High School
2010 Tohma Y. Faulkner Art Trailblazer Award, presented by Bed Stuy Alive
2010 Certificate of Recognition, 1st Annual African Diaspora Conference, Brooklyn, New York
2010 Citation MoCADA, New York State Assembly Office of Assemblywoman Annette Robinson, Art Trailblazer Award
2010 Queens Hospital Black History Month Award for Extraordinary Service to the City of New York
2010 Founders Award, Presented by the Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium
2009 Citation, Office of the Borough of Brooklyn City of New York for “firmly establishing Brooklyn as a destination for the arts and I thank her for all that she has done to make our Borough and beyond a better place to live, work and raise a family”
2009 Trailblazer Award, presented by Girls High School Alumnae Association
2009 The Obama Day Award for Outstanding Community Service and the creation of MoCADA, presented by the Long Island University Student Government Association
2009 Brooklyn Neighborhood Leadership Award, The New York Women’s Foundation
2008 Friends of Assemblyman William Boyland, Jr., Outstanding Service Award to the Ocean Hill /Brownville Community
2008 Citation Office of the President Borough of Brooklyn, City of New York for following in a tradition of outstanding women in Brooklyn’s History
2006 African American Heritage Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Achievement and Service to the Citizens of New York State, United States Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
2006 Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for outstanding and invaluable service to the community, Edolphus Towns, Member of Congress
2006 Citation, Office of the President, Borough of Brooklyn, City of New York for helping to expand Brooklyn’s reputation as the cultural capital of New York City
2006 Citation, Office of the President of the Borough of Brooklyn City of New York for extraordinary contributions to the art world
2006 Legislative Resolution, State of New York Presented by State Senator Velmanette Montgomery
2006 Proclamation, Office of the President Borough of Brooklyn, City of New York Proclaiming Friday, May 19th 2006, MoCADA Ribbon Cutting Day
2006 Legislative Resolution State of New York Presented by Kevin Parker
2005 Circle of Art Award, Nubian Women’s Art Circle
2003 School Leadership Award for Dedication and Devotion towards the enrichment of the cultural arts program for the Students of the El Hajj Malik Shabazz Elementary School
2003 Learning for Life Award for Bringing Art and Culture to the Community of Bedford Stuyvesant, Bridge Street Preparatory School
2003 Alumnae Achievement Award, Civic Service, Spelman College, Atlanta, GA
2002 You Make a Difference Community Service Award in recognition of founding MoCADA, talent, hard work and commitment to community, Hanson Place Central United Methodist Church
2002 Assemblyman Roger Green’s Celebration of Dynamic Women’s Award for Exceptional Leadership
2002 Assemblyman Nick Perry Dynamic Women’s Award in recognition of Community Service and Dedication
2002 Assemblyman William F. Boyland Sr., Community Development Award in recognition of Leadership in the Ocean Hill/Brownsville Community
2002 Hanson Place Central United Methodist Church Community Leadership Award
2002 4W Circle of Art & Enterprise Arts and Business Spirit Award for Excellence in Entrepreneurship
2001 State Senator Velmanette Montgomery Magnificent Dozen Award
2001 Miracle Makers Inc., Women’s History Month Award
2001 Protestant Board of Guardians 21st Century Leadership Award
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