As Quiet As It’s Kept (AQAIK), Bailey’s Cafe’s multidisciplinary artist-in-residence special project started in 2013, was originally based on the stories of veterans of color, their experiences in combat and with returning home. As AQAIK evolved the voices of longtime community members were included to contrast the stories of those who left to become veterans and those who stayed to become veterans of their community. Stefanie Siegel, founder and executive director of Bailey’s Cafe, was influenced by Herbert Sweat, a decorated Vietnam Veteran and Bed Stuy neighbor.  “When Sweat says the phrase As Quiet As It’s Kept you know something is going to be revealed that people don’t talk about.”  You can find out more about past manifestations of AQAIK at

2023 there are two distinct projects under the umbrella of As Quiet:  As Quiet As It’s Kept, We Thrive:  Stories & Portraits from the Heart of BedStuy and As Quiet As It’s Kept: The Untold Stories of the US Colored Troops from Rikers and Hart Islands.

AQAIK, We Thrive brings visibility to the residents of BedStuy whose voices are seldom heard, honored and celebrated. The portrait and mini-documentary series comes out of a larger community-based movement to offer alternatives to the violence that continues to erupt in our neighborhood, which has been centered around the Jackie Robinson Housing Complex and the Park Playground. The focus is to bring positive, life-affirming activities to those who may not feel that they are normally included. 

There will be a gallery exhibition at Bailey’s, opening and artists reception, Saturday, March 4th, 2 PM to 5 PM.  Featured artists:  Pia Monique Murray, Interviews and Documentary and Marienne “Yen” Thomas, Painted Portraits



 “As Quiet As It’s Kept: Undiscovered Stories of the United States Colored Troops of Rikers & Hart Islands” is a two-part project, in collaboration with Vietnam War veteran Herbert Sweat, and a campaign to commemorate the United States Colored Troops (USCT) who were trained on Rikers Island and buried without recognition on Hart Island. The full project consists of an installation performance that reimagines the lives of the people on Hart Island, and a sculpture commemorating the USCT. 2023, we are focused on generating the platform and funds to create the sculpture.