Safiel Vonay and THENYCGRIND movement

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Get hip on the biggest art movement in the city, and it’s founder

These days, with the artsy aesthetic being imitated and mass produced around the country, it is always a breath of fresh air to see real artist together in their rawest forms. TheNYCGRIND is an art movement that is still fresh on the city scene, but with its consistent events growing a buzz among the creative circles of New York, it is already being called the best the city has to offer. The secrets to its authentic essence perhaps go back to its founder, who found her voice through the arts and has been fighting for others to do the same ever since.

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Artist at a Grind event. Photo by Caroline Conejero

“I used to be an extremely shy person when I was younger, but I was always driven”

Safiel Vonay, the figure now known as the fearless leader and founder of THENYCGRIND, was once a girl just wanting to find her creative voice. “I used to be an extremely shy person when I was younger,” She says. “But I’ve always been driven, so my upbringing was mostly writing poetry, reading books, and physical training.” After winning a poetry scholarship which introduced her to the stage, Vonay found her calling in spoken word and the motivation she could arise in her peers through the art form. After throwing a small open mic event in a church basement, Vonay was hooked on the potential impact these events could have and the movement was born.

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@jays_creation at work. Photo by @shotbymarkphoto

“You will see the most beautiful, creative people laughing, dancing, networking and connecting”

Vonay prides herself on the fact that her events are unlike others, simply because they are by artist and for the artist. “You can walk into a Grind event and see a beatboxer playing with an electric violinist,” She says. “You’ll see phenomenal art on the walls, and artist painting on human canvases. You will see the most beautiful, creative people laughing, dancing, networking and connecting.” While she feels overjoyed when an event is successful, Vonay admits that being the founder of a company does take work and building a platform from the ground up can be stressful. Despite having a wonderful and talented team behind her, the pressure of ensuring that everything goes right is solely on her shoulders. Safiel describes this task as exhausting at times, but it has ultimately helped her be a better leader.

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“I want people to see that the Grind isn’t just an event, its a life style.”

As THENYCGRIND continues to assert its dominance in the New York art scene, Vonay will be the first to tell you that she is far from satisfied and has plans for her movement to spread throughout the country and eventually, the world. “The goal is to continue to grow, both the movement and the people in it,” She says. “I want people to see that the Grind isn’t just an event, its a life style.” And each time she may feel a little discouraged, Vonay is reminded of what she does it for in the first place when she is approached by an artist happy to sell their work or asking when is the next event. THENYCGRIND is authentic as they come, and the once shy girl who leads it now has an entire culture excited about where she’ll take it next.

IG: @Thenycgrind