Tropicalfete continues to expand cultural activities

Tropicalfete’s Masquerade and Stilting Unit on the streets of Manhattan.
Brittany Somerset

Established in 1999 as an online publication and cultural resource center, in 2011, the Brooklyn-based Tropicalfete, Inc. became a charitable not-for-profit corporation.

Its mission is to develop the community in the areas of arts and social services, with a focus on educating the community on Caribbean culture.

“We have established a reading program with Barnes and Noble for Caribbean Heritage Month in June,” Alton Aimable, the St. Lucian-born founder and president, told Caribbean Life. “In 2022, Tropicalfete has expanded its cultural reading program to include the Brooklyn Public Library as partner.

“Tropicalfete was one of the many organizations that went down into the congressional record at the Library of Congress for endorsing Caribbean Heritage Month, put forth by California Representative Barbara Lee (D-9), signed by President George W. Bush,” added he accountant by training.

New York City Councilmember Farah Louis and Tropicalfete’s young stilts dancer Hazel. G. Webster

For the past nine years, Aimable said the group has participated in various parades throughout the tri-state area, “creating marvelous masquerade presentations.

“We have held free music workshops covering topics such as copyright and royalties, marketing, taxation for arts, mixing and playing an instrument,” he said. “Tropicalfete has had the honor to work with VH1 Save the Music Foundation.”

Aimable said the group has also worked with such prominent cultural institutions, such as the Harlem-based Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Currently, Tropicalfete teaches dance and theater, stilt walking, wood work, welding, masquerade; singing, guitar, violin, yoga, painting, sewing, and steel pan and other instruments.

“We have put on various musical showcases,” Aimable said. “We have taken our work directly to the community in places such as parks, colleges, community centers, etc.

“Our work has been validated by a number of persons engaging with our programs, as well as a proclamation from New York City Government, Brooklyn District Attorney and other awards,” he added.

Tropicalfete’s Guitar Program at PS135.Leon Jeanodell

In addition, Aimable said Tropicalfete has programs at PS 135, PS 276, PS 323 and IS392, as well as programs for youth, independent from the schools.

He said Tropicalfete also has cultural enrichment programming at Prospect Hill Neighborhood Senior Center; Clarendon Road Senior Partners; Spring Creek Senior Partners; Rise Boro Community Partners (Hope Gardens, Ridgewood Bushwick, Borinquen Plaza Senior Citizen Center); Augustine’s Senior Center; and William Hudson Senior Center.

Aimable said Tropicalfete publishes information, with a concentration on arts and culture, as well as highlights the importance of the arts on education and its positive impact on the economy.

“Tropicalfete is and continues to be committed to the cultivation of emerging artists working in all genres,” said Aimable, stating that, among these are visual arts, fashion, music, dance, theater, film and new media.

“Tropicalfete serves as a vehicle to elevate talented persons, while recognizing their contribution to society and the arts,” he added. “In addition, Tropicalfete offers opportunities for gifted artist to be mentored through a variety of diverse events.

Tropicalfete’s SteelPan Ensemble at their Finale Concerts 2021.Brittany Somerset

“We look at the development of artists from a holistic view,” he continued. “Therefore, our mandated obligation includes assisting persons with their social needs. Tropicalfete seeks to utilize the power of the artist and arts, as it strives to bring about social changes to whomever/ where ever it is needed.”

Besides Aimable, Tropicalfete’s board members comprise: Annette Brockett, Keith Marcelle, Keran Deterville, Patricia Meschino and Paul Dolor.

“I love the people I work with,” Aimable said. “I value their diversity. They are from different backgrounds. professionally and different countries.

“Collectively we put our minds, heart and soul together to make the magic of programs happen every day,” he added. “On average, we have about two to four programs per day every day of the week. Tropicalfete uses culture as a tool for social transformation.

“Although we are very visible in the community, a lot of the work we do is not visible, because it is not for public consumption; for example, working with the homeless, refugee kids, autism kids,” he continued.  Recently, BronxWork contracted with us to provide some of their vulnerable population cultural enrichment during their spring break. There is a huge demand for our programs throughout the five boroughs of New York City and beyond.”

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