Flatlands

Haiti Cultural Exchange presents storytelling and song

April 21, 2017 By John Alexander Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Haiti Cultural Exchange dancer Sherley Davilmar performs at Flatlands Library. Eagle photo by Arthur De Gaeta

World Language Family Series Event at Flatlands Library

On Wednesday, Flatlands Library, at 2065 Flatbush Ave., presented a program featuring performers from the Haiti Cultural Exchange, a nonprofit organization established to develop, present and promote the cultural expressions of the Haitian people.

The storytelling and song program was presented to school children and adults to teach about the Haitian culture and connect with the rich oral traditions of Haiti. The goal was to engage young children and their parents in an exploration of the Haitian culture through words and music. The program was presented in both Creole and English.

The Haiti Cultural Exchange program is part of the World Language Family Series, which is sponsored by Apple Bank. The event was hosted by Andrew Toney, assistant vice president and branch manager of Apple Bank’s 1954 Flatbush Avenue office; and Maureen Hurlock, senior customer service representative of the Flatbush Avenue branch. Toney noted, “The Haiti Cultural Exchange performers were great — the children who attended interacted with them and everyone had a great time!” 

The Flatlands Library, located in the former Prudential Savings Bank building, was the Flatlands branch’s first home in 1949. The library remained there until 1955, when the current structure became the first library built in Brooklyn under the Beame plan, initiated in 1958 by then-future NYC Mayor Abraham Beame. The plan demanded functional architecture for public buildings. The 6,000-square-foot building was renovated in 1985 and 1987.

Connie Martin, first vice president and director of marketing at Apple Bank, explained, “The Haitian Cultural Exchange is part of a year-long World Language Family Series sponsored by Apple Bank at various Brooklyn Public Library branches to embrace Brooklyn’s rich multicultural environment, including celebrations of Spanish, Mexican, Chinese, Arabic, Polish, Russian, Creole and Yiddish culture, among others.”

Martin added that the bank has been partnering with the library since 2015 on this series, as well as with the Language Line Referral Service, which is a telephonic service that allows speakers of different languages to communicate with the assistance of an interpreter, and the New Americans Corner, which provides educational materials to assist individuals applying for American citizenship.  According to Martin, “Apple Bank and the library share a common goal, which is to improve the quality of life for our communities.”

Upcoming programs in the World Language Family Series will take place in library branches throughout the borough, including Carroll Gardens, Brighton Beach and Borough Park.