Sofia joined our team as our Development Intern in February 2020. Get to know more about her!
In what neighborhood do you live?
Morningside Heights, Manhattan
How did you first become connected to The LP, or hear about The LP?
I had known about The LP from postings on my major’s (Urban Studies) listserv over the last few years, and had my eye out for an opportunity that might align with my goals. Then, I spoke with a classmate of mine who had interned here and she sung high praise!
What attracted you to The LP? How does working here relate to your professional goals?
I feel connected to The LP’s values and consider their focus on local artists and grassroots community building very important in any city, but especially in NYC and especially now. I am excited to work as a development intern because I want to learn more about the field of nonprofit development as I begin my career path. I also am looking forward to the opportunity to explore Harlem more!
Do you have your own creative practice? If so, tell us more!
I’ve been crocheting since elementary school, and no, it is not the same as knitting! Right now I’m finishing up a stuffed rainbow fish for a Valentine’s Day gift, then I’m thinking of making a cozy blanket out of over-sized granny squares to carry me through to spring.
Can you tell us about an artist or project that has inspired you?
A couple of years ago, the artist Wendy Ewald collaborated with a group of high school students in Philadelphia to create an “Immigrant Alphabet,” which tells, through images for each letter of the alphabet, the experiences of different immigrants, specifically immigrant students. I love this project because it was publicly displayed and involved participatory events, making it community-sourced and accessible to all. The project is simple yet profound, taking something so familiar and basic in order to question our common ground/assumptions, and is infinitely malleable for others to change in their own ways.
What is your favorite… film? …album? …food?
My mom is from Sicily and my dad is from Mississippi, so their cooking brings the best from the South and I could never get enough of mom’s tiramisu or dad’s cornbread! Right now I am really into Yargos Lanthimos’ chilling films, and of course anything by fellow Barnard alum Greta Gerwig. For live music, I love jazz, blues, and folk, but my top Spotify artist last year was the total opposite—pop queen and icon Charli XCX.
Where do you do your laundry?
I lug my laundry up a hill to a building a block away that’s managed by the same people I rent from. When I’m walking back to my building, fresh laundry in tow, I feel like a modern Santa Claus—what’s a better gift to yourself than fresh sheets??
In your opinion, why does art matter?
I think people are naturally inclined to fall into the same patterns and same ways of viewing the world around them, and art helps to challenge that. Artists can make us question what we think we know and what we are used to feeling, even who we consider ourselves to be. Art matters because it can reveal who we are and who we could be, in a way that is unique to every person.
What LP value do you most relate to and why?
Be propelled by love! I think society conditions us to think that love is difficult to attain, even harder to keep, and ultimately not worth it—but really, love is such a powerful energy to be filled with. If you are propelled by love, for yourself, the earth, those around you, then you can only create more love.
Take a walk around the neighborhood. What initial observations do you have?
I’ve always been struck by the layering of history in Harlem in general but especially in these few blocks, where a state office building stands where civil rights leaders once rallied crowds and now commemorates the first African-American member of the House of Representatives while serving as a reminder of the city’s long history of ignoring Harlem residents. Across the street from the world-famous Red Rooster, which seems to be one of two unofficial gathering points for white tourists (the second being the Apollo), lives an African goods store sandwiched between a new Italian place and an “upscale pub.” In short, the area can be disorienting and overwhelming, but it certainly is never stagnant!
Sofia Crouch is a recent Urban Studies graduate of Barnard College. Born in Mississippi and raised in Maryland and Sicily, she has spent the last couple years working with the immigrant community in New York City, specifically with refugees and asylum seekers. She is interested in how cities can support newcomers and create inclusive meanings of belonging. In her free time, Sofia loves exploring neighborhoods she hasn’t been to yet, going to jazz clubs and museums, and running in parks.