Christian Penn Will Expand Thrive and Projectivity in the DMV Area

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Thrive Collective and Projectivity Group are expanding to the DMV Region (District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia).

Christian Penn, the Operations Manager at Thrive Collective, has lived in New York City for the last 21 years, but is relocating back home to Maryland. Penn is looking forward to using the same creativity and passion there that served him well at Thrive Collective, a NYC-based non-profit organization that creates hope and opportunity through the arts and mentoring.

“I’m excited to reconnect with the arts scene in the DMV area and bring the NYC flavor and style of arts education to another state,” Penn said. “Montgomery County is where I grew up, and I’m really looking forward to meeting the people that have helped shape the art scene there over the last 20 years since I left.”

Penn is also the co-founder of Projectivity Group, a non-profit organization consisting of musicians, artists, teachers, business owners, and other community members who have come together to create various opportunities for the public to showcase their passion for the arts.

Over the last three years, Thrive Collective and Projectivity have collaborated on public art murals and several other projects in New York City.

“Connecting with Thrive Collective was a no-brainer. I describe them as just a larger, older version of Projectivity – offering the same style of programs and focusing on the same mission of bringing art back to schools and communities that need it,” Penn said. “Both Projectivity and Thrive Collective have seen tremendous growth over the last three years since our partnership began.”

At Thrive Collective, Penn has directed the production of over one hundred public art murals and music projects that provide mentoring for underserved communities and students in New York City public schools.

Regarding Christian’s impact and ongoing legacy, Thrive Collective’s executive director Jerermy Del Rio said: “As a child, I was taught to leave a place better than I found it. Christian leaves the five boroughs of New York more beautiful, connected, and vibrant than the city that received him more than two decades ago. DMV is blessed to welcome him home, and we are proud to support his work there as well.”

Penn has been involved in the arts scene in Staten Island from the time he attended Wagner College and formed The Higher Concept, a hip hop trio. The Higher Concept released five albums, toured the country, and opened for Method Man, Nas, kid Cudi, Keith Murray, Talib Kweli, KRS One, LMFAO, Zulu Nation and others.  While working as an emcee, Penn became an audio-engineer at VIEW studio working with artists such as RZA and all of Wu-Tang, Kool G Rap, Sean Price, RA the Rugged Man, and many more.  

Christian Penn in front of one of the many murals he created in NYC. Photo: Christine Cruz Photography

Projectivity was started as a DIY record label to help like-minded artists put out music and also served as a collective to support and hire each other (producers, engineers, photographers, film makers, artists, graphic designers, etc.). Over the years, Projectivity evolved into offering programs, classes, and events to showcase artists.

On Staten Island, Projectivity hosted Musication, an annual music festival on Staten Island The festival, which ran for seven years, showcased and curated hundreds of artists and performers.

In 2015, Projectivity officially formed a 501c3 organization in order to seek more funding for sustainable arts education programs and providing resources for artists.

“In 2018 we met Thrive Collective when we pursued some of the same grants,” Penn said. “Jeremy Del Rio and I realized we had very similar work ethic and ideas. We began to partner by sharing some of our artists on different projects. Then, in 2021 the organizations formed a strategic partnership to be able to service more schools/communities throughout NYC.”

Beginning Fall 2023, Christian Penn will be bringing Thrive Collective and Projectivity’s shared mission to create hope and opportunity through arts and mentoring to the DMV area, setting up art programs at local public schools, as well as community engagement opportunities for residents to express their passion for the arts.  For more info about both organizations, readers can contact for details.

Christian Penn and his son, Maximus. Photo: Christine Cruz Photography

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