The Inwood Laundromat Language Institute


Public Art project where the neighborhood laundromat, Magic Touch, was used as a school for teaching English to Hispanic immigrants. In addition, the project also served as a platform for collecting stories about the experience of learning a new language, and introduced participants fundamental skills to function in American society.



The Inwood Laundromat Language Institute took place during August 2011. For a period of four weeks, Magic Touch Laundromat, 3 Thayer Street, Inwood, was transformed into a community space for learning English. Students were recruited through fliers and announcements around the neighborhood. Prospective participants were signed up for biweekly sessions taking place in the morning or evening. Each class duration was 90 minutes and met on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Students were first introduced to the basic of the English language using what was at hand at the laundromat; clothes, detergent, bottles, etc. The following classes consisted of introducing students to basic grammatical constructions in which students could defend themselves in their daily lives. The project culminated in a graduation ceremony with the reading presentation of students’ compositions at Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance, NoMAA.



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The Inwood Laundromat Language Institute was made possible through The Laundromat Project: Create Change Residency Program 2011.  Special acknowledgements to Mike Mok, owner of Magic Touch Laundromat and to the residents of Inwood.