New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, along with Senator Bill Perkins, Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez, New York City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, New York City Council Member Laurie Cumbo; New Harlem East Merchants Association (NHEMA) Program Director, Adriane Mack; …… NHEMA and Community Board 11 member, Holly Drakeford; and President and Founder of the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI), Dr. Marta Moreno-Vega, were among those who spoke at ”The Spirit of El Barrio: Past, Present and Future” on Thursday, May 22, 2014.
CCCADI hosted their first event in the decommissioned East Harlem firehouse last Thursday, solidifying their presence in East Harlem and soon-to-be new home. As the only cultural arts organization on the Eastside of the 125th Street cultural corridor, the exhibition demonstrated the partnerships that will be developed with community agencies to make the area vibrate with the energy of renewal.
Leading up to the start of renovations later next year, this special exhibition featured works of artists Adrian “Viajero” Román, Edgardo Miranda, Manny Vega, Alejandro Epifanio Torres and Oliver Ríos. Some of the artwork incorporated Augmented Reality technology (virtual visuals), providing a small preview to one of the future opening exhibitions of CCCADI, “Mi Querido Barrio”, supported by the New York City Cultural Innovation Fund: The Rockefeller Foundation. CCCADI also had special guest artist from Puerto Rico, Edgardo Larregui, who painted on site during the exhibition.
With capital support from Senator Bill Perkins, Senator Kevin S. Parker, Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez, New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, New York City Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo, The Mayor’s Office (through the Department of Cultural Affairs), The Ford Foundation, New York Community Trust, American Express/National Trust for Historic Preservation/Partners in Preservation program, Housing Preservation and Developmentand Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, CCCADI will renovate the decommissioned firehouse into a state-of-the-art cultural center that will celebrate the diversity of African Diaspora cultures that have made El Barrio a significant historical community. Located at 120 E. 125th Street, the 1885 Landmark building will feature gallery space, community performance space, and host workshops and educational programming. The newly renovated facility will also allow CCCADI to expand its programs by providing conference areas and multi-use space for diverse community programs.
This event was also made possible with the assistance of the New York CityEconomic Development Corporation, New Harlem East Merchants Association,Positive Workforce, Giscombe Realty, Stadium Red, donations of images from the Museum of the City of New York, project consultants Denham Wolf Real Estate Services, Inc. and design firm CSA Group.
Photo credit: Bruce Lincoln, Council Member Laurie Cumbo, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, Dr. Marta Moreno-Vega, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and Clayton Banks.