No Longer Empty / Co-Founder & Executive Director
APA Arts & Culture / Co-Chair
Newburgh Suffragettes: Bike Parade, Raffle & Community Convening
Los Sures Walking Tour
West Harlem Community Preservation Organization
No Longer Empty / Co-Founder & Executive Director
No Longer Empty / Co-Founder & Executive Director

In 2009, No Longer Empty was emerged as a response to the fiscal crisis and the proliferation of empty storefronts. In its first seven years under Naomi's leadership, No Longer Empty staged 25 exhibitions, hosted 300+ programs, worked with 250+ artists, and welcomed 500,000 visitors to its venues. NLE's mission was to activate public engagement through curated, community-responsive exhibitions, cultural collaborations, and education programs in vacant buildings.

Through art, No Longer Empty explores the history of buildings and community narratives. No Longer Empty collaborates and co-programs with local organizations, residents, civic leaders and businesses to ensure relevance, to promote access, involvement and cultural vibrancy at the neighborhood level.  The synthesis of community interviews and site research drives the curatorial theme and revives the history of buildings. The collaborative programming strengthens community links and bolsters a vibrant cultural landscape. Harnessing the opportunity of interim use, the exhibition and programs act as a catalyst and a model for building resilience and opportunity for all members of the community. 

At the heart of the experience is community engagement. NLE's presence in each neighborhood focuses on encouraging local participation and attracting new visitors to the neighborhood.  



The Chelsea Hotel

Reflecting Transformation

Something Out of Nothing


Cartoons in Conflict

Never Can Say Goodbye

NLE Presents: Skylar Fein

Weaving In & Out

The Sixth Borough

Watch This Space

About Face

XYZ:NYC 10 Downing

This Side of Paradise

How Much Do I Owe You?

NLE Presents: Jan Tichy

If You Build It

When You Cut into the Present the Future Leaks Out

Bring in the Reality

NLE Presents: Teresa Diehl

Jameco Exchange 

NLE Curatorial Lab: Gathering Place

NLE Curatorial Lab: Through the Parlor

NLE Curatorial Lab: The Way Out is Through

NLE Curatorial Lab: Intersecting Imaginaries

Be My Guest: The art of interiors 

APA Arts & Culture / Co-Chair
APA Arts & Culture / Co-Chair

In identifying a missing committee in the American Planning Association NY Metro Chapter's structure, Caroline Bauer, Naomi Hersson-Ringskog and Vanessa Smith founded the Arts & Culture Committee to promote the value of arts and culture in the planning field to achieve economic, social, environmental, and quality of life goals.

The committee's main work has been to organize events and network opportunities but also provide education, strategy, and guidance for incorporating arts and culture into policy and development initiatives in the New York area.

Events organized include: Annual conferences such as CreateNYC featuring Dept of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Finkelpearl and Chicago's Cultural Chief Julie Burros and Implementing Digital Technologies in the Public Realm featuring Civic Hall Labs, Civic Design Data Lab at MIT, Participatory Budgeting Project and NAVA PBC

Tete-a-Tete series focused on planner and artists working together. Examples are Building Cultural Equity in Brownsville, Freshkills Park, Project for Public Spaces, LES BID's 100 Gates; NYC DOT Mural projects, Building Equity and Emerging Firms in Planning.

Field Trips and Walking tours like Los Sures Walking Tour & Film Screening and Constellation at Bannerman Island.


Newburgh Suffragettes: Bike Parade, Raffle & Community Convening
Newburgh Suffragettes: Bike Parade, Raffle & Community Convening

In 1895, Newburgh hosted the Suffragette Convention which marked a transition in leadership and continued the momentum for women obtaining the right to vote until 1917. What is the legacy of this struggle and what does it mean today in Newburgh?

In remembering this seminal convention and the hard work of the women rights movement, five core organizers came together to host a three-part project that celebrated and raised awareness of Newburgh and women leadership. This event also marked the centennial of women's right to vote across the nation.

▪ The Bike Parade. Bicycling was a controversial thing to do for women. Whether you're a biker, dog walker, or skater, wear all white and ride down Broadway from the Court House to City Hall.

▪ The Bike Raffle. Thirty percent of our city has access to a car. For this reason, we are interested in exploring alternative modes of transportation and complete streets for everyone. Through the generation donation of Recycle a Bicycle, ten bikes were raffled to local residents.

▪ The Community Convening. Kicking off with an expert discussion about the history of the suffragette movement, the role of black suffragettes, and what it means for civic engagement today. Later we will break out into circles to explore themes of solidarity, trust, and action! Over food, share your thoughts and ideas at 2pm at the Newburgh Free Library.

This year is an important local election year. For that reason and in the spirit of our ancestors, we are doing voter registration!

A Suffragette Window-Exhibition will be on display the storefront on Liberty Street and Ann Street. Read about the women who shaped history starting from 1800's to present day!

In the Facebook event as we will be posting facts, articles, podcasts, and events related to women’s rights and civic engagement.

Project partners include Chuck Thomas, The Newburgh Free Library, Ophra Wolf, artist and originator of the Bike Parade in 2015, Gabrielle Burton-Hill of The Restorative Center, Naomi Hersson-Ringskog of Dept of Small Interventions, Willa Freiband of Orange County Democratic Women, and Laura Garcia from YWCA of Newburgh and Latinos Unidos of the Hudson Valley. We thank the additional volunteers and speakers.

This event is sponsored by Humanities New York and the New York State Museum. Thank you to all our sponsors Recycle a Bicycle, Target, People's Bicycle and individuals.


Los Sures Walking Tour
Los Sures Walking Tour

For an entire afternoon, local residents and planners experienced a guided walking tour, documentary screening and moderated discussion of the gentrification of the Southside of Williamsburg, a neighborhood in Brooklyn, named Los Sures by the neighborhood’s Spanish-speaking population.

According to a 2016 study by the New York University Furman Center, Williamsburg gentrified the most of all New York neighborhoods in the last 10 years. On the surface, the story of Southside of Williamsburg is that of a typical gentrifying New York neighborhood. In the 1970s and 80s poor people were being displaced because landlords were abandoning buildings. Artists, looking for cheap space, started to move into the neighborhood. For decades, the neighborhood struggled with poverty and crime, taken over by drugs and gangs. Los Sures, a community-organizing group, has been fighting since 1972 to make the neighborhood safer and provide affordable housing.

About 10 years ago the neighborhood bounced back and it has become a desirable place to live. Now, landlords are looking for ways to force poor people out and raise the rent. Los Sures is still fighting to preserve affordable housing and amenities for low-income families. The recent transformation of Williamsburg is no accident. Market forces and deliberate urban planning and rezoning have spurred new development. Eleven years ago, the City Council approved the rezoning of nearly 200 blocks in the Greenpoint and Williamsburg neighborhoods of Brooklyn, allowing the formerly industrial waterfront to be redeveloped. As the population is booming, Williamsburg is becoming whiter, younger and richer, and a lot more expensive. Today, new residential developments provide public waterfront access with new parks. A greenway will ultimately connect Greenpoint and Williamsburg to the rest of the Brooklyn waterfront. The Southside is safer, cleaner and schools are getting better. Empty lots are being filled in. New businesses are opening and the local economy is growing. But there is more to the story.

Living Los Sures is a project of UnionDocs, a center for documentary art based on the Southside since 2003. The project documents the story of the Southside. It defines place as many different stories told together. What can planners learn from these stories told by the people who have lived in the neighborhood for decades?

Stories paint a rich, multi-layered picture of a changing neighborhood and, in doing so it shows that gentrification isn’t such a one-dimensional, linear process of change as it is often made out to be. Los Sures is a distinct place with its own, distinct history and cultural heritage.

We will conclude a walk of the neighborhood with a screening of the documentary Living Los Sures followed by a discussion of issues of place, cultural heritage and gentrification. This event will help planners better understand communities faced with gentrification and engage in meaningful conversations about the social impact of planning efforts.

This program was originally launched in June 2016 and then repeated May 2017 for the APA National Conference in NY.

#apaartsculture #lossures



West Harlem Community Preservation Organization
West Harlem Community Preservation Organization

Inspired by the founder's tenacity, Dept of Small Interventions co-organized Upper Harlem's first preservation conference at the City College of New York on Saturday April 29, 2017.  Titled "Harlem and the Future", the conference explored Harlem’s unique cultural heritage, its built environment, and its social fabric with an eye toward what are the current challenges and what’s to come.  This collaboration was also an opportunity to build and modernize the 40 year old organization's communication and outreach systems, creating a model to be replicated on an add needed basis.

Speakers included:  Manhattan Borough President Gale A Brewer, Chris Fair of Resonance Consultancy, Michael Henry Adams. For Culture Panel: Terrance McKnight, host on WQXR Radio., Kenneth J. Knuckles, President & CEO, Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, Karl Franz Williams, CEO & Founder, Good Ice Marketing, Sarah Saltzberg, Co-Founder, Bohemia Realty Group, Eric Pryor, Executive Director, Harlem School of the Arts. For Built Environment panel: Carlton Brown., Architect & Principal, Direct Investment Development, LLC, Chris Cirillo, Lott Community Development, Daniel Marks Cohen, Housing Partnership Development Corporation, Joseph Coppola, AIA Principal, Dattner Architects, Malcolm A. Punter, President & CEO, Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement.  For Social Fabric panel: John T. Reddick, Architectural & Cultural Historian, Rev. Michael A. Walrond, Jr., Senior Pastor, First Corinthian Baptist Church, Rev. Reginald Bachus, Associate Pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church, Ann-Isabel Friedman, Sacred Sites Program, NYC Landmarks Conservancy; Rev. Donna Schaper, Senior Minister, Judson Memorial Church.

#westharlemcpo #harlemsfuture