2024 LES Young Artists of Color Fellowship


The Lower East Side (LES) Young Artists of Color Fellowship is a program of FABnyc.

As the Lower East Side continues to fight displacement, marginalization, and racial inequities, we recognize that sustaining a sense of community requires many efforts and arts-based placemaking efforts, like the LES Young Artists of Color fellowship, can strengthen a sense of belonging across generations.

Besides their importance as creative voices in the LES, young artists of color are underrepresented in the arts sector as a whole.  Peer circles of support combined with opportunities to share work and learn from others can be a critical factor in moving their professional development forward.

The 2024 cohort

The 2024 LES Young Artists of Color Fellowship included eight fellows: Cathleen (Cat) Luo, Christian Bachez, DJ SLID3, Grayson Izekiel Colbert, Jason Wang, Nayiel Walker, Sam Lee & Tasnuva Shehrin. The 2024 Fellowship was facilitated by Ari-Duong Nguyen and Mark Wilson.

Throughout the spring season, the cohort met to share their practices and progresses, as well as issues relevant to their careers as artists of color in New York City. The fellows also had the chance to engage with guest artists and curators from different fields: Yara Travieso, Dennis RedMoon Darkeem, Destiny Mata and Dulcina Abreu to hear about how they have navigated their own creative paths. Additionally, this year, the fellows went on a field trip to visit the Laundromat Project in their Bed-Stuy storefront to learn about the organization’s history of community engagement as well as resources they have to support artists.

Exhibition: “I’ve been meaning to tell you”

The 2024 Fellowship culminated in the final exhibition “I’ve Been Meaning To Tell You” on June 1&2, where the artists showcase their visual arts works in FABnyc’s Studio, as well as holding an interactive installation and a sound performance in the Theater, fully activating our building as a hub for artistic experimentation. An album of documentation from the exhibition can be found here.

From left to right: 2024 Fellows DJ SLID3, Christian Bachez, Sam Lee, Nayiel Walker, Grayson Izekiel Colbert at the final exhibition “I’ve Been Meaning To Tell You”

From left to right: 2024 Fellows Tasnuva Shehrin, Jason Wang, Cathleen Luo & facilitator Ari-Duong Nguyen at the final exhibition “I’ve Been Meaning To Tell You”

Our 2024 LES Young Artists of Color Fellows:

Cat Luo

Cathleen (Cat) Luo (they/them) is an artist an art educator based in Harlem. They work in ceramics and are interested in depicting figures in meditation, and they hope to expand their sculpture practice to wax, wood, wire, and stone. They currently teach at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and hope to bring their dedication to community building and education to their artistic practice.

Christian Bachez

Christian Bachez (he/him) is a painter, muralist, photographer and videographer hailing from Alphabet City. His creations transport viewers to mystical landscapes using bright, bursts of color. Often, his work features SNAX, an endearing bear-cat character, or showcases bold, hip-hop-inspired words and phrases. With a focus on playfulness and accessibility, Christian invites audiences of all ages to engage with his art, sparking introspective questions about self-identity. Christian’s artistic journey is not only a personal exploration but a mission to inspire and connect with people across the globe.

(Photo by Michael Ivins)


Introducing DJ SLID3 (she/her), a dynamic artist hailing from the vibrant streets of NYC, where she draws inspiration from the diverse sounds and styles of the city. With a passion for music that resonates with the crowd, DJ SLID3 is known for her ability to seamlessly blend various genres, pleasing any audience she plays for. Her love for connecting with people through music fuels her performances, creating unforgettable experiences that transcend the dance floor. From underground clubs to prestigious venues, DJ SLID3 brings the energy of NYC to every set, leaving a lasting impression with her eclectic mixes and infectious beats. Get ready to groove to the rhythm of the city with SLID3 at the helm, dropping it on the ones and twos.

Grayson Izekiel Colbert

Grayson Izekiel Colbert (they/them) (b. 2001, Evanston, IL) is a Black, trans & nonbinary queer visual artist and tattoo artist currently living and working in New York City. Their work focuses on identity, trans bodies, queer relationships, and representation. Their artistic practice has an emphasis on community-building and mutual aid for the marginalized. Their work is cross-disciplinary, and ranges from colorful digital art, to printmaking, to textile work, to tattoos. Colbert solo-runs an art business “SOFTPRINTS” that they started in 2016, and has been tattooing professionally since 2021. Colbert had their first solo show in 2022, has had a tattoo from their “Trans Tattoo Project” published in the New York Times, designed a clothing line for the ethical clothing brand “CHNGE”, and has worked with many other notable names such as VICE Media, and the gender affirming care platform “Plume”.

Jason Wang

Jason (they/them) is a playwright from Queens, NY 🙂 creating theatre that reflects the small moments in immigrant families, often thru psychic and absurd theatrical choices. Other buzzwords include: ancestry, gamers, inner child healing, inter-generational trauma, dramedy, gay, etc. Through this fellowship, they hope to keep their channel open and pop out a new full-length play. Fingers crossed.

They are a correspondent for Go See a Show! The Off-Off Broadway theatre podcast! Hit them up if you’d like them to cover your show!! They are also a ’24 Workshop Theater Winter Intensive Playwright, ’23 HEAR US Fellow, former president of the @AllAsianArtsAlliance, and ’21 EmergeNYC fellow. In their free time, they are either playing Baldur’s Gate 3 on honor mode, or tutoring middle schoolers for the Regents.

Nayiel Walker

Nayiel Walker (she/her) (b. 2005, New York) is a Black and Puerto Rican artist raised in the Lower East Side. Her art centers around the theme of family and how it can strengthen or deteriorate over time. She works mainly with oil paint and graphite and enjoys capturing candid and nostalgic moments from her childhood.

Sam Lee

Sam Lee (she/her) is a Chinese American photographer in New York City, and a graduate of NYU with degrees in photography and international relations concentrating in the Middle East. Working in photography, video, and writing, she often explores religion and its intersection with politics and culture, as well as questions of heritage, human rights, and social justice.

In her work, Sam looks to create understanding between herself, subjects, and their audiences, and is always searching to understand what is most important to others. Sam is drawn to topics as close to home as Manhattan’s Chinatown, where her father grew up and her grandmother owned a fabric store on Mulberry Street, and as far as the West Bank and Jerusalem, where she spent months photographing and asking Palestinians about their hopes and fears for the future, and what they wanted Americans to know.

Tasnuva Shehrin

Tasnuva (she/her), a Bangladeshi American filmmaker and photographer from the Lower East Side, is a firm believer in the power of storytelling to foster connection, empathy, and advocacy. Her creative journey is anchored in the belief that every individual’s narrative holds intrinsic value.

Exploring the rich tapestry of human experience, Tasnuva’s work delves deep into themes of nostalgia, community, uncertainty, and the profound stories embodied within the corporeal form. This year, she aims to create art that honors the spirit of the LES that raised her, and shed light on working class struggles all over NYC through short documentaries. She currently works at Chicken & Egg Pictures.


Ari-Duong Nguyen

Originally from Hanoi (Vietnam), Ari-Duong Nguyen (they/she) is a recent graduate with an MA in Media Studies from The New School. They write criticism of cinema and time-based media, and program experimental screenings when they can. While primarily concerned with issues of labor and extraction, their work always aims towards the intimate amidst displacement and estrangement, the comfort of makeshift homes in the face of existential uncertainty. Their analog photography and personal documentaries could also be found respectively in zines and microcinemas in NYC.

Mark Wilson

Mark Anthony Wilson Jr (b. 1995, Hampton, Virginia) is a self-taught artist whose practice marries the unveiling of African American heritage with Afrofuturism through painting, sculpting, and installation. After playing football at the University of Cincinnati and earning a master’s degree (2018) in Applied Behavior Analysis, he found his passion for art while working as a therapist. Inspired by the Indigenous Totem Poles in Washington, he developed an identity in masquerade. Finding empowerment in historical moments of Black resilience to bear arms in self-defense and militant duties. He utilizes the references to establish new tools for liberation through Afrofuturism.

This project is supported in part through funds from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and City Council Member Carlina Rivera. We define the Lower East Side as including the area from 14th Street to Canal, Bowery to the East River, as well as Chinatown. This includes Loisaida, the East Village, and all of Community District 3.