About Fourth Arts Block

FABnyc’s mission is to strengthen the cultural vitality of the Lower East Side. We implement this mission through programs and collaborations with local cultural organizations, artists, and neighborhood nonprofits. We work as cultural producers and organizers with an ongoing interest in how arts and culture can advance community health, inclusiveness, and equity.

Current Programs

  • Commissioning public art and community engagement projects
  • Supporting local cultural organizations through advocacy, workshops, and collaborations
  • Recognizing local history and culture by coordinating Lower East Side History Month and ‘The People’s LES’ project
  • Partnering on community issues – bringing creative approaches to local organizing around sustainability, small business retention, and access to public space
  • Managing an affordable workspace program serving over 600 artists each year
  • Bringing visibility to LES programs and cultural issues through video, podcasts, newsletters and social media
  • Mapping cultural assets and community needs
  • Engaging in local and citywide alliances focused on community issues, social justice, and equity

History

FABnyc was founded in 2001 by a dozen cultural and community groups on East 4th Street (between Bowery and Second Avenue) to collectively negotiate the purchase of eight city properties, six of which the arts groups had homesteaded for decades.  With significant community support, FAB’s founding members secured the properties for $1 each, establishing the East 4th Street Cultural District.  All of the eight properties are now deed restricted for nonprofit cultural use in perpetuity.  The buildings, which include over 100,000 square feet in six structures along with two vacant lots, have, to date, received over $25 million dollars in public and private investment to transform them into active cultural space.  

Our block of East 4th Street between Bowery and Second Avenue is an extraordinary cultural hub, with fourteen arts groups, 10 cultural facilities, and 20 performance and rehearsal venues.  It’s recognized nationally as an incubator of original work, is home to racially and ethnically diverse companies, free and low cost programs, and multiple opportunities for emerging artists and youth.   Annually, over 350,000 audience members attend programs here, more than 2800 artists work here, and we have been identified as having more active cultural space per square foot than any other block in New York.

In the past fifteen years, FABnyc has grown, it membership has expanded, and its vision now encompasses the entire Lower East Side community.  As a nonprofit cultural organization whose founding impetus was the preservation of homes for local arts groups, FABnyc is strongly aligned with efforts to support and sustain the cultural vitality and character of the community.