Founders L-R : Rob Mitchell, Greg Mitchell, Michael Steele, Darcel Kennedy
LES CREATIVE PEOPLE IN ACTION, INC. (LESCPIA), is a grassroots organization supporting live singers and musicians by presenting the “L.E.S. Bands” showcase at the East River Park Amphitheater every year ending the Summer season on the Lower East Side. They feature talent from, but not limited to, the community celebrating the musical culture of their lives. The annual event is FREE! Directions by Subway: From uptown front of F train, from Brooklyn last car, to East Broadway (Rutgers/Madison Street exit). Go across street for M22 bus to last stop, Grand Street. By Car: If taking FDR Drive south, Grand Street/Exit 4, brings you immediately to the park. From any other direction follow Grand Street, going East, towards the FDR Drive/East River. Walk overpass to the Amphitheater. We advise arriving early to find parking.
Launched in 2008, long-time friends who grew up in the housing projects of the Lower East Side (brothers Gregory and Robert Mitchell, along with Darcel Kennedy and Michael Steele), pooled their experiences together in music and entertainment, promoting events, and managing and representing singers and musicians. As L.E.S. Creative People In Action, Inc. they provided a platform for local artists while uplifting the economically-challenged families living in the area through the harmony of music.
Neighborhood citizens living in public housing developments in the area can put aside day-to-day challenges and fellowship among one another. Live musicianship in this particular musical genre is becoming increasingly rare in urban culture because of the trend with digitized productions. In addition, concert tours are priced out of affordability for the disadvantaged. This live event allows residents to see people who look like their own striving to make their dreams happen – at any age. And it keeps our musical heritage alive!
LES Creative People In Action is a Section 501(c)3 nonprofit and donations can qualify as a charitable deduction for federal income tax purposes.
About the Founders
WHAT “LES BANDS: LOWER EAST SIDE SHOWTIME” MEANS TO US
Our community always fed off artistic culture offered by the institutions in the neighborhood. The resurgence of “L.E.S. Bands” brings the musical influence back and reflects who we are as a people. We did not set out for the “LES Bands” to be a competition, but rather a place where a budding musician or artist could possibly get extra experience performing in front of his peers and perfecting his or her craft. Gaining a chance to musically express your art in front of people from your community is very important.
BEST L.E.S. CULTURAL INFLUENCES AND MEMORIES
The institutions we had available to us as youth and young adults: Henry Street Settlement, 10th St Boys Club of America, Bill Wallace's LESTA Program, Rutgers Center Day Camp, Educational Alliance, Baruch Talent Shows, and P.S. 134 Festivals. These places allowed us to grow our talents if we so chose.
WHAT THE L.E.S. COMMUNITY MEANS TO US
The Lower East Side is a multi-cultured community that made it possible to learn from the many cultures that populated the L.E.S. It embodied the very essence of togetherness because it was, and still is, multicultural: Asian, Hispanic, Italian, Black, and Jewish. As African-American residents, we were fortunate to exist in a world of ‘diversity’ back when many districts were not. Our families lived here for generations. However, as challenges grow day by day, we need to look out for one another and see that community initiatives reach all people.