DREAMing Out Loud

MOME supports a second year of PEN America’s DREAMing Out Loud Programming


DREAMing Out Loud is a tuition-free writing workshop for young, undocumented students from the City University of New York, who came to the United States when they were children. The series is a partnership with PEN America, the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and has been funded through the Mayor’s Grant for Cutlural Impact since 2019.

Under the tutelage of Álvaro Enrigue and other writers, participants develop original short stories, poetry, and/or personal essays that are performed at public readings. The program is designed to build a diverse talent pipeline for the publishing and writing industries, and to help DREAMers use their voices to counter misinformation about immigration. The program was founded by Álvaro Enrigue and PEN America.

DREAMing Out Loud: Voices of Undocumented Writers cover

The program expansion helped create new workshops sites located at Lehman College in the Bronx, Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn and Queens College, as well as a Manhattan location based out of PEN America’s offices.

In 2020, DREAMing Out Loud students participated in virtual-author conversations with Penguin Random House authors.

Through the support of the Mayor’s Grant for Cultural Impact, DREAMing Out Loud participants published Dreaming Out Loud: Voices of Undocumented Writers. (A prior anthology came out in 2019, Dreaming Out Loud: Voices of Undocumented Students.)

These anthologies include an introduction by the director and founder of DREAMing Out, the award-winning novelist and essayist, Álvaro Enrigue.

The personal essays, short stories, and poems provide insight into the lives of young people trying to make sense of their identities and futures. There are personal reflections on the journey to a new country and recollections of the loved ones, languages, and cultures left behind. Throughout, we see strength and resolve, and the kind of dignity that should make every American honored.

All author names have been published with the consent of the authors. Some names have been changed.

Both titles are available at Amazon for $9.95. More details about the DREAMing Out Loud Program and Anthology visit, https://pen.org/dreaming-out-loud/


About the Mayor's Grant for Cultural Impact

The Mayor's Grant for Cultural Impact, an initiative that supports partnerships between New York City's municipal agencies and cultural organizations that collaborate to use arts and culture to reach underserved and vulnerable New Yorkers. This program, now in its second year, supports Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA's) commitment to coordinate and promote engagement between the City and New York's cultural community as outlined in the CreateNYC cultural plan released in July 2017.

The goals of the Mayor's Grant for Cultural Impact are to:

  • Create opportunities that will demonstrate the effectiveness of arts and culture as a mechanism for impactful service delivery 
  • Allow city agencies to experiment with and test new models for, or to expand, existing successful programs
  • Support strengthened partnerships between cultural organizations and city agencies
  • Expand NYC residents' access to arts and culture by leveraging the reach of city agencies 
  • Broaden programming, funding, and audience-building opportunities for arts and cultural organizations
  • Integrate arts and culture into efforts to improve social wellbeing in low income neighborhoods

In FY19 DCLA awarded ten grants of $50,000 each to arts and cultural organizations working in partnership with city agencies to address pressing civic issues. Five grants were renewed extending FY18 partnerships into a second year, and grants were awarded to five new partnerships. City agency partners are expected to provide a minimum contribution of $25,000 (cash or in-kind) to the proposed project.

Find out more at the DLCA website, https://www1.nyc.gov/site/dcla/programs/culturalimpact-application.page.