In, Of, and Crossing Essex

Sonia Louise Davis, Dillon de Give, and Hatuey Ramos-Fermín
Curated by Anna Harsanyi

On View: April 27-June 10, 2018
Closing Reception: Sunday, June 10 from 5-7p
Gallery Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 12-6p

By Fall of 2018, Essex Market will prepare for its relocation as part of the Essex Crossing development. At this time of transition, In, Of and Crossing Essex will present three artist projects by Sonia Louise Davis, Dillon de Give, and Hatuey Ramos-Fermín. From April 27-June 10 visitors to the Market will have opportunities to explore the public and private histories of the Market through the stories, perspectives, and lived experiences of the people who work and shop there every day. Within the Market space, a project hub will be located at Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space, which will serve as a meeting space for public programs and events, and will feature installations by the artists. Cuchifritos is open Tuesday-Sunday, 12-6 pm.

Sonia Louise Davis’ Become Together Freedom School is an experimental platform to cultivate critical improvisation and a container for collective study. This first iteration of the project will feature workshops and a printed guide that will stimulate site-specific interrogations through abstract and ephemeral actions. The artist will open up her own methodology by facilitating score-making and authentic movement in a number of public sessions, using participants’ inherent improvisational skill sets and imaginative strategies as starting points. In addition, a printed zine will offer text-based prompts and activities for market visitors to respond to on their own as they explore the market and its surroundings. The artist will lead workshops on May 29 and June 2, which are free with RSVP.

In Dillon de Give’s project Go Between, the artist will work with a group of trained facilitators to collect and deliver messages from Essex Market. Facilitators will be stationed inside Cuchifritos, where they will meet visitors and accompany them on a stroll through the Market and help them formulate a message they wish to send to anyone within the Lower East Side and, on special circumstances, New York City. Facilitators will memorize and attempt to physically deliver the messages by reciting them to their intended recipients, creating an inter-personal telegraph service sending spoken postcards from Essex Market around the city. To send a message for free, schedule an appointment with a facilitator on Thursdays-Sundays between April 27-May 13 at

For Messages to go, Hatuey Ramos-Fermín interviewed Essex Market’s vendors, learning about their experiences as business owners and documenting their unique perspectives on the role of the market within its neighborhood, the Lower East Side. Quotes from these interviews, featured on reusable shopping bags designed by Ramos-Fermín in consultation with vendors, will be available to customers who purchase items at participating businesses throughout the market. As a result, the bags will become part of a larger network of visitors outside of the Market, amplifying the stories and anecdotes featured in their designs.

Two public programs on May 14 and June 10, presented in partnership with Artists Alliance Inc, and The People’s LES/FABnyc, will bring together artists, organizers, small business owners, and city residents to explore how artists work together with neighborhood residents to support small businesses. Both programs and are free and open to the public with RSVP.

At this time of transition, In, Of and Crossing Essex aims to visualize moments from the day-to-day life of Essex Market as it prepares to move. By engaging the market’s vendors, shoppers, Lower East Side and city residents, this project seeks to share with a larger public what transition looks like for different people, making visible the often unseen or under-appreciated aspects of Essex Market in the present.

Related Events

Friday, April 27-May 13 from 2-6p
Send a message from Essex Market
Work with a facilitator to construct and send immaterial “postcards” from Essex Market before its historic relocation. Schedule a conversation with a facilitator at

Monday, May 14 from 6:30-8p
Panel discussion on small businesses as cultural contributors

As much as artists and cultural establishments hold importance in shaping New York City, small businesses are equally as vital to the cultural lifeblood that defines New York City. This discussion will bring together artists, small business owners, and city organizers to discuss the contributions of small businesses to the city’s cultural fabric. Panelists will consider how arts and culture can continue to align with small businesses in order to strengthen the foundation of how cultural vibrancy is represented in a city-wide context.

The public programs are organized by Artists Alliance Inc/Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space in partnership with The People’s LES/FABnyc and made possible, in part, through a Humanities New York Action Grant.

Tuesday, May 29 from 6:30-8:30p
After-Hours Performance Workshop with Sonia Louise Davis

Explore Essex Street Market in a unique movement/sound-based experience led by Sonia Louise Davis. Participants will improvise in the empty market while it is closed to shoppers and create scores to guide their private performances.  

Saturday, June 2 from 2-6p
Drop-in Score Making with Sonia Louise Davis
Stop in for an afternoon of hands-on score making. Informed by a wide range of artists’ graphic notations, participants can practice drawing or invent their own marks and symbols.

Sunday, June 10 from 3:30-5p (closing reception to follow)
Roundtable discussion: what steps can artists take to support small businesses?

What steps can artists take to support small businesses? As arts and culture are increasingly tied to the economic benefits of real estate development, this roundtable discussion will bring together artists, organizers, small business owners, and city residents to question how artists and cultural institutions can become active community members by supporting small businesses – and what this kind of support looks like in concrete, day-to-day actions.

The public programs are organized by Artists Alliance Inc/Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space in partnership with The People’s LES/FABnyc

In, Of and Crossing Essex is an independent project organized by Anna Harsanyi, in partnership with Artists Alliance Inc, Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space, and Essex Street Market. This project is made possible with public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

On being an ‘artist and….’

Listen to the podcast at FAB NYC.

Elizabeth Hamby and Hatuey Ramos Fermin (also known as Meta Local Collaborative) are Bronx based artists who continue to transform our understanding of New York’s largest public space: its streets. They explore the histories of neighborhoods, create site-specific participatory work, engage a broad range of people, and work collaboratively across disciplines. In this episode, we have a conversation about work, about crossing between disciplines, how bicycling is an art form, using history as a jumping off point for deep dialogue, and the kinds of moments that can turn your life in a direction you never saw coming.

Meta Local is the collaborative practice of Elizabeth Hamby and Hatuey Ramos Fermin. Our work investigates the dynamics of urban spaces; exploring the histories of buildings and neighborhoods, and tracing the flows of people, ideas and products. Combining documentary strategies with performance and fine art, we articulate concepts of origin, and the sense of place.  Meta Local develops site-specific, participatory works that refer to the complexity of our community in the South Bronx and beyond. We observe, analyze, and dissect the social, cultural and economic structures of our neighborhood, as well as the design and organization of buildings and spaces, and use the information gathered to develop questions that serve as a foundation for our projects.

By actively engaging a broad range of people and working collaboratively across disciplines, Meta Local challenges the existing hierarchies, inclusions, and exclusions that characterize “participation” in the larger democracy of New York City. Projects are entirely site specific, and are developed collaboratively with a variety of stakeholders including community organizations, neighbors and visitors in different capacities.

Parade of Perseverance

El Museo prepares for 41st Annual Three Kings Day Parade

Story by Gregg McQueen

Parade of PerseveranceDesfile de la perseverancia

Four decades later, the three kings (and queens) still reign.

The East Harlem streets will once again be taken over by real camels, giant hand-made puppets and live music, when El Museo del Barrio celebrates its annual Three Kings Day Parade on Fri., Jan. 5 at 11 a.m.

Long rooted as a neighborhood institution, the parade is now in its 41st year. It celebrates Three Kings Day, or the Epiphany, one of the most important holidays on the cultural and religious calendar of many from the Latin Caribbean.

The parade route begins at 106th Street and Lexington Avenue and ends on 115th Street and Park Avenue.

In the aftermath of Hurricane María, the observance of Puerto Rican heritage will take on a more poignant meaning, said Ana Chireno, Director of Government and Community Affairs for El Museo.

“We had a galvanizing event this year that brought the community together,” said Chireno of the hurricane. “It definitely hangs over this year’s parade.”

El Museo has been active in attempting to help those affected by María. In October, the museum held an artwork auction, raising $18,000 to aid hurricane victims.

In addition to the typical parade glitz, this year’s march carries added cultural significance, with the current U.S. political climate causing immigrant communities to feel oppressed.

“Parades aren’t normally thought of as political events, but with people feeling that that their heritage is under attack, celebrating culture is politically powerful,” remarked Chinero.

She said the theme for this year’s parade is “Freedom Fighters,” intended to celebrate individuals dedicated to promoting liberty and equality.

The parade boasts three women as its Honorary Kings, a rarity for the Three Kings Parade.

Bárbara Hernández, actress and LGBTQ activist, Paola Mendoza, filmmaker and artistic director of the Women’s March on Washington and Ana-Ofelia Rodríguez, Director of Community Development for Broadway Housing Communities, will all take center stage as 2018 Honorary Kings.

Hernández becomes the first Puerto Rican Transgendered artist to be honored in the parade, Chireno said.

“I think it’s a strong statement that all three Kings are women,” she stated.

Leading the parade will be its longtime King Emeritus, Jesús ‘Papoleto’ Meléndez, a poet, performance artist and East Harlem native.

This year’s Madrinas are Sandra García-Betancourt, Poet, Writer, Arts Activist and Administrator; Ana Maria López, Assistant Professor of the Humanities Department/Latin American and Caribbean Unit at Hostos Community College; Nancy Pereira, Family Leadership Coordinator, School District 4; Vanessa Pérez-Rosario, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Puerto Rican and Latino Studies at Brooklyn College; and Jaritza Taveras-Caba, Director of Community Affairs, Manhattan North Management.

The 2018 Padrinos are Jorge Merced, Artistic Director of Pregones/Puerto Rican Traveling Theater (PRTT); M. Tony Peralta, Designer and Artist, Hatuey Ramos-Fermín, Director of Programs and Community Engagement, The Laundromat Project; Adrián ‘Viajero’ Román, Artist; and Charlie Vásquez, Deputy Director at Bronx Council on the Arts.


The morning will kick off with a breakfast at El Museo featuring the Honorary Kings (who are Queens this year), Madrinas and Padrinos, as well as various elected officials.

Following the parade, community residents are invited back the museum for an improv theater performance by Teatro 220 and a parranda with Bombazo Dance Company.

Other performers slated to appear in the parade include Abya Yala Arte y Cultura, Annette A. Aguilar and StringBeans, Bomba Yo!, Fogo Azul Bateria Femenina, Gays Against Guns (G.A.G), KRT3S Dance Company, Los Pleneros de la 21, The Marching Cobras, and the PS/MS 57 marching band.

Counting both marchers and spectators, the parade typically draws more than 5,000 participants.

Chireno said she believes the parade’s appeal comes from its inclusive nature, and the tight-knit community of East Harlem.

“It’s a time-honored tradition,” she said. “It brings together different generations. It’s something that community members share with their children, and their grandchildren, and it’s become a neighborhood ritual.”

El Museo del Barrio is located at 1230 Fifth Avenue (at East 104th Street) in Manhattan. The Museum’s Galleries are currently undergoing renovations and will reopen to the public in the summer of 2018. For more information on these and other renovations, visit 

For more information on El Museo del Barrio, please visit

El Museo’s Three Kings Day Parade CANCELLED

Please note: El Museo del Barrio’s 41st Annual Three Kings Day Parade has been CANCELLED due to inclement weather. Instead, El Museo del Barrio will be hosting a special SUPER SABADO on Saturday, January 20th. The free afternoon will feature live musical performances, art-making workshops, storytelling, and more. For more information, please visit

41st Annual Three Kings Day Parade Bios


By Kristina Ketola drill for Grafill

Original text in Norwegian

Through a decade, The Laundromat Project worked for the residents of New York’s historic minority neighborhoods to get their voices heard. The tools for it? Art and design.


– How can art and design as a catalyst for change in a neighborhood, on both a personal level, but also as an influence in your neighborhood?

This question has Hatuey Ramos-Fermín and his colleagues in The Laundromat Project asked and tried to answer for over ten years. Based in New York, the organization has focused on three of the neighborhoods in the big city: Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, Harlem in Manhattan and Hunts Point in the Bronx. All the neighborhood that has a rich culture, history is the neighborhood with several minorities, but that is changing due to gentrification. The Laundromat Project uses culture and design and art fields to network, to increase cohesion and to introduce tools that residents in these neighborhoods can use to amplify their voice, together working towards positive change and preserve the history of the place they are from.

– In these neighborhoods, access to different artistic experiences very limited, says Ramos-Fermín over Skype from The Bronx. He has the title Director of Programs & Community Engagement and first became involved in the organization as an Artist in Residency. – Creating work and workshops that are different and unique to the places we are on and which are made by artists who look like people who live there, is very important.


Looks like neighborhoods
A laundry presents itself might not be the most obvious place to while away the art and design workshops. But The Laundromat Project saw the potential in these locations as focal point, and which places ownership and neighborhood feel. Since the inception of the organization in 2005, laundries in these three neighborhoods become the seats for workshops, exhibitions and various pop-up event. In addition, Laundromat acquired an apartment in the Bronx and a corresponding neighborhood garden that is used for public events, exhibitions and workshops.

– We are very proud that we the last ten years has been working with 125 artists and designers, and over 40 different projects. We have been present in all five boroughs in New York, says Ramos-Fermín enthusiastic.

– Our programs and projects look very similar to New York in relation to ethnicity, gender and how the city is built. We have a diverse group of artists, mostly artists of different ethnicity, and just what is an important part of the work we do, he adds.

Bed-Stuy, Harlem and Hunts Point, all neighborhoods of the past 10-15 years has undergone gentrification. Through including open calls for public commissions, residencies and projects, jobs The Laundromat Project to preserve the history of the places. Equally important is to byggge social sense, to find ways for citizens from minority groups in the neighborhoods to get together and get their voice heard.

The art of listening
An example of a recently conducted Laundromat project is Havana Fisher Newby his Harlem Motion. Developed while she was in residency at Laundromat Project, she worked here with questions about gentrification in Harlem. As a result of the animation workshops with residents in the neighborhood she created a series of short films. Along with participating in the workshops she walks in Harlem and documented their stories about the places they visited. So stressed she how several of the places have changed as a result of gentrification of the neighborhood. Ends screenings, where residents of the neighborhood had the opportunity to tell their stories through just animation films.

– It was important for us to build up during a Harlem-based artist who was concerned about the changes in their neighborhood, said Ramos-Fermín about the project.

Several of the projects created under The laudromat Project trades just to collect the stories of residents in neighborhoods. Among them is also the Iyapo Repository, a project of designer and artist Salome Asega and Ayodamola Okunseinde. A pop-up museum exhibits technological objects designed by residents of Bed-Stuy during a series of so-called design-thinking workshops. The aim of the museum is to speculate and design the future of people of African descent in the neighborhood.

– When we organize workshops, we are interested in working with artists from the neighborhood and bringing their methods and themes from neighborhood, tells Ramos-Fermín. – We will not take anything from the outside and forcing it into. Nor will we build from the inside out.

By telling the stories of people who often are not heard, and to document their past and thoughts about the future, creating The Laundromat Project a sense of ownership and pride for the people who are part of the projects. Meanwhile suggest they also methods for the neighborhood residents to discuss and gather around topics that are meaningful to them.

– There is a sense of importance as follows feeling to be part of a community, and that some have listened to you and that your story has been heard and continued, believes Ramos-Fermín. – For designers and artists we work with, it’s also about listening to how other people think that things can change for the better, then take it into its process.

Art and design as a problem solver
– A claim may be that you instrumentalised art and design subjects, meaning that you use them as a way to achieve something more than an expression in itself. Is this something you try to avoid, or – as you are clear that you will be working with?

– “Art for art’s sake” is a nice discussion, and that is important, but also instrumentalized art in many different ways. For example of powerful people, of governments, organizations and artists, responding Ramos-Fermín.

– We have an interest that goes beyond art for art’s sake. It’s not that we are against it, but we believe that in order to find new ways to solve problems so we can use the power of art has. Then to tie together strangers and turn them into neighbors, and to find methods to rethink the ways our cities are built and the things that affect us on a daily basis.

– How do you think knowledge of art and design disciplines can alter mechanics in a neighborhood or community?

– One of the values ​​we emphasize is deep listening. That means we will learn how to build the basis element affecting the neighborhood and what the people there are interested in. This is the base for most projects we do. As a designer or artist working with society not necessarily from, so it is important to listen and to be responsive, he says and adds:

– This creates a stronger project. Meanwhile, it opens for the subjects in which they were not aware of can come to the surface and become part of the discussions. It is not necessarily about finding solutions, but about linking people from different backgrounds and interests together. And creating ways to learn from each other.

Neighborhood Being
early autumn each year stands Laundromat Project for arrangement Field Day. Through the three neighborhoods Workshops, creative tours, open studios, exhibitions and food stalls. Through events that are open and accessible to all age groups they create engagement around organization, but also issues that are important for neighboring teams inhabitants.

– The workshops we did this year was all related to Black Lives Matter and how artists, particularly black artists can use the artistic process to center the conversation around a cause that affects many people in this country, says Ramos-Fermín.

– For example, the focus was in Harlem on activism in the neighborhood. Here was the tour visited key locations in active organism history, including habitats for Malcolm X. For us in Laundromat Project is important not to forget where we are, and the things that affect people who live here.

Bronx Calling: The Third AIM Biennial

Jessica Vaughn, Glory, 2014, Digital Photograph, 30 x40 in Courtesy of the artist

July 9 to September 20, 2015

Curated by Bronx-based artists Hatuey Ramos-Fermín and Laura Napier, Bronx Calling: The Third AIM Biennial features the work of seventy-two emerging artists engaged in the Artist in the Marketplace (AIM) Program (classes of 2014 and 2015). AIM provides professional development opportunities for emerging artists residing and working in the New York metropolitan area. The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog.

Participating Artists:

Anna Ablogina, Manal Abu-Shaheen, Keith O’Neil Anderson, Erica Bailey, Bryan Balla, Chloë Bass, Hannes Bend, Rebecca Bird, Sophia Chai, Xinyi Cheng, Felix R. Cid, Dexter Ciprian, Tim Clifford, Adrian Coleman, Corydon Cowansage, Mike Crane,Donald Hải Phú Daedalus, Cat Del Buono, Jamie Diamond, Patricia Domínguez, Glenn Fischer, Nicholas Fraser, Yoav Friedländer, Borinquen Gallo, Ian Gerson, Shanti Grumbine, Ronald Hall, Nicholas Hamilton, Tahir Hemphill, Tracie Hervy, Lucia Hierro, Samantha Holmes, Traci Horgen, Maria Hupfield, Tatiana Istomina, Ariel Jackson, Ian Jones, Tasha Lewis, Anya Liftig, Eleen Lin, Sharon Ma, Daniel Mantilla, Eden Morris, Meredith Nickie, Tammy Nguyen, Julie Nymann, Sarah O’Donnell, Dionis Ortiz, Mitch Paster, Armita Raafat, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Friederike Reveman, Carlos Rigau, Gamaliel Rodriguez, Sarah Ellen Rowe, Michael Shultis, Rob Swainston, Erik Shane Swanson, Martyna Szczesna, Rica Takashima, Catherine Telford-Keogh, Denise Treizman, Ryan Turley, Jessica Vaughn, David Gregory Wallace, Lindsey Warren, Margaret Inga Wiatrowski, Didier William, David J. Wilson, Ezra Wube, Christine Wong Yap, and Brian Zegeer.

For more info visit Bronx Museum of the Arts

2014 People Powered $10K Challenge


2014 People Powered $10K Challenge from The Laundromat Project on Vimeo.


Incorporated in 2005, The Laundromat Project brings socially relevant and socially engaged arts programming to laundromats and other community spaces to amplify the creativity that already exists within neighborhoods.

We envision a world in which artists are understood as valuable assets in every community and everyday people know the power of their own creative capacity to transform their lives, their relationships, and their surroundings.

This November, we launch our second annual People Powered $10K Challenge, a grassroots fundraiser where our friends ask 10 people to give $10 or more, all within 10 days. Together, we’ll raise $10,000 or more for People Powered art across NYC, and beyond!

Please help us celebrate 10 years of programs by donating $10 or more. Thanks for watching!


Latinos on the line

Latinos on the 6 Train Line: A Tour of BX Latino Environmentalists and More!

First published on Bronx River Sankofa by Morgan Powell

Let’s enjoy a few of the hundreds of places overfull with environmental, cultural, and advocacy history (1970s to the present) worth savoring along the Pelham Bay/ no. 6 train line in the Bronx, NY!  This journey builds on the scholarship of people like Elena Martinez who produced the landmark map and documentary on 20th century Bronx Latino music calledFrom Mambo to Hip Hop.  Where she walks us through a century of rhythms and song, Andre takes us to additional sites of place making and centers of action for Bronx Latino environmentalists.  Sometimes they intersect.  Orlando Marin (associated with 52 Park) performed at one of the Bronx River Restoration’s first block party/ river celebrations in the mid 1970s (probably at 179th St. by the river!  Hundreds more Latinos have made both big and small environmental progress in the Bronx so this is simply an introduction.  It is hoped that more writing for everyday people will be produced that goes beyond individual profiles and celebrates these great Americans as a group to better know, love, and learn from!  Enjoy your trip!

2014 is the 40th Anniversary of the first group dedicated to cleaning up and welcoming the community, through post Earth Day programming, to the Bronx River.  While they dissolved their board and stopped programming a little over a decade ago, their vision and work set the foundation for all we enjoy today and continues to inform current progress.  Bernie Hernandez (video above) of Aspira and Patrick Sands of Sands House came through Bronx River Restoration and each now do intensive community development work!

 Profiles of Places and People

Pelham Bay Park

Jorge Santiago of Co-Op City loves Pelham Bay Park and has been exploring its natural and archeological treasures for several decades!  He was instrumental in founding Givans Creek Woods Park in the Northeast Bronx.  Jorge’s a long-time advocate of Bronx ecology where he has long joined forces with fellow locals through the Bronx Council for Environmental Quality and other organizations including his community board.  He is also an indirect however real co-founder of the Bronx River Alliance.  Further, he was a catalyst to river restitution grants administered by the NYS Attorney General’s office.

Photo description: While there have been many articles in local Bronx newspapers about Jorge Santiago, almost none appear in web searches.  His only known reference in a book comes tangentially surrounding the Bronx War Memorial of Pelham Bay Park built in the 1930s.  That book is The Bronx in Bits and Pieces by Bill Twomey which Andre is shown reading at the Pelham Bay Park station ramp to the park.


Buhre Avenue

Bobby Gonzalez, poet and folklorist performs and blogs the Bronx.  See how at .  He’s the event coordinator and master of ceremonies for the annual Bronx Native American Festival which takes place at Pelham Bay Park in September. He is also a past member of the board of directors of The Storytelling Center, Inc. of New York.

Bobby is a dynamic speaker specializing in encouraging audiences of all ages and backgrounds to succeed, fulfill their full potential and adjust to a changing world by becoming more aware of the rich history and accomplishments of their ancestors. In his lectures and workshops Bobby urges his listeners to be more sensitive to the various cultures and belief systems of their neighbors and colleagues.

He wrote “The Last Puerto Rican Indian: A Collection of Dangerous Poetry.” These verses reflect on five centuries of dramatic upheavals and heroic triumphs for Native Peoples in North, Central and South America as well as the Caribbean.

Bobby González seeks to empower his audiences by encouraging them to embrace their heritage and use this knowledge to create a dynamic future. As an individual proud of his Native American, Latino and African ancestry, Bobby is a messenger of hope, pride and love of diversity.  Find his work on Facebook too.


Near Middletown Road

Do you see the Herbert Lehman High School campus in the distance?  Snow covers the Hutchinson River Parkway bike path to the left where many Bronxites bike for recreation and to work! This site is between Middletown Road and Westchester Square. Rich Gans is a long-time advocate of biking city-wide.  He can be seen leading rides during the annual Tour de Bronx and plays a prominent role in the Transportation Alternatives Bronx Committee which advocates for safer streets for bicyclists, pedestrians, and all public transit riders.  Hatuey Ramos-Fermin of Boogie Down Rides also volunteers with the TABC and  the Bronx River Alliance’s Greenway Committee.  Both men trace part of their heritage back to Puerto Rico!

Westchester Square/ East Tremont Avenue

Angel Hernandez of the Bronx County Historical Society is no stranger to adventure.  He was in the Outward Bound program in his teens and loves the great outdoors.  Exploring at a local level before graduating high school, he made himself familiar with the collections and interior of the Huntington Free Library (shown at left) as well as the graveyard to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.  Both sites are just outside the Westchester Square stop.  The library is open by appointment and welcomes you to its free monthly power point talks called the East Bronx History Forum.  See this Lehman College graduate’s work.


Zerega Avenue

B.A.A.D! (Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance) is located at 2474 Westchester Avenue in a stone building in the grounds of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.  BAAD! was founded in Hunts Point in the late 1990s by Arthur Aviles (dancer/choreographer) and Charles Rice-Gonzalez (activist/novelist/marketing expert).  Both Arthur and Charles were key to the first Golden Ball Festival in 1999 and are associated with numerous river developments before and since that date including hosting classes for river worker training and much more!  Arthur danced the whole length of the festival from Westchester County to the Bronx while Charles took the huge responsibility for organizing promotion, in partnership with Partnerships for Parks, of this historic and well documented watershed in Bronx history.  Bronx River Sankofa first learned of their love for the river in 2003 seeing photos of the river and surrounding communities on display at their former American Bank Note Building space.  Those iconic images were taken by Arthur.  Over the years BAAD! has been a vital venue for Bronx L.G.B.T.Q. artists working in dance, performance, dramatic theater, film and free public/civic events. BAAD! is a Bronx-based arts organization that creates, produces, presents and supports the development of cutting edge and challenging works in contemporary dance and all creative disciplines which are empowering to women, people of color and the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) community. Find their work on-line!

Castle Hill Avenue

Ed Garcia Conde is a popular blogger and ambassador of the Bronx’s Melrose community who increasingly reports on events farther and farther from his home base of Melrose.Welcome2TheBronx has joined his earlier Welcome2Melrose web pages. While green issues are not a dominant theme to his writing, they are present. More importantly, he is creating a broad body of local documentation of the Bronx as lived by Generations X, Y and millennials with great re-blogging and periodic features on older Bronxites.

Photo description: Ed and friends at the former South Bronx Food Co-op once located near the busy commercial district of The Hub.



G.I.V.E. began in 2010 and has gotten bigger and better ever since.  Their blog tells how they started.  Newbold Avenue’s intersection with Virginia one block from the Parkchester train station is one place you’ll see G.I.V.E. in action!  Located behind the C-Town Supermarket, they began as a block beautification project and grew into a new culture.  They plug local youths from many cultures into volunteer work.  G.I.V.E. teaches them through active involvement to take care of the Bronx while developing social skills and learning job skills!  G.I.V.E. seeks to cultivate awareness of urban environmental issues through volunteerism, education, activism, and hands-on experiences.  Their ever-growing beautification work includes the Yankee Stadium area, Starlight Park and beyond.  See how they’re growing on Facebook too!


St. Lawrence Avenue

This is your train stop if you want to see where Justice Sonia Sotomayor grew up.  The New York City Housing Authority development where she lived is within a short walk and they now bare her name.  Hear and see this distinguished Bronxite speak about her origins and be inspired!

Photo description: Andre holds the June 8, 2009 Time Magazine cover featuring US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.


Morrison Avenue/ Soundview

Andre is holding one of the few known printed accounts of the Bronx River’s rehabilitation that features a number of Latinos with deep involvement in profiles, mentions, and pictures.  Page 153 (shown) of Groundswell: stories of saving places, finding community includes impressions from and of Alexie Torrez-Fleming who founded YMPJ.  Youth Ministries for Peace and Justiceoperates a few blocks away and is a faith-based teen-focused program that address a wide range of social issues while providing practical support like tutoring, housing services, and more.

Elder Avenue

Velo City and Friends of Soundview Park deserve to be associated with this key train station which facilitates access to Soundview Park. Velo City was founded by three women of color who are each urban planners.  See their portrait against the MTA map at the top of this blog.  They use bike culture (touring, maintaining, etc.) as a means to open up career considerations and civic awareness.  Teens enjoy their programs in the Bronx, Manhattan and Brooklyn.  The Friends of Soundiew Park was among the most active Bronx park groups at the time this blog was published.  Long-time Soundview neighborhood residentLucy Aponte, who is a fine artist and Poe Park Visitor Center administrator, is among the core members.  Carlos Martinez, of Queens, through Partnerships for Parks, provided solid administrative leadership through 2014.


Whitlock Avenue

Omar Freilla worked for many years with others to get the open space you see in the background,Concrete Plant Park, re-built into something more pleasant and green you would find today while he worked at the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance followed by Sustainable South Bronx before creating Green Worker Cooperatives in 2003.

He was creative in his advocacy, often drawing the community to the site before the city accepted it as a potential park through his live Afro-Caribbean folkloric music.  He is a drummer, singer and dancer.  He also wrote about the adjacent highway, the Sheridan Expressway, in an anthology called Highway Robbery.

Omar is the second male from the left in this group portrait from the Groundswell book, page 144 showing many Bronx River advocates active in the 1990s and early 2000s.  Some have continued on while others now work elsewhere.


Hunts Point Avenue

Maria Torres is a co-founder of and continues to help manage The Point, a youth-focused community development organization and performing arts/ civic center.  She can be seen first from the left in this group portrait (click for a closer look).  Like many of her co-founders, she came from the now defunct Senaca Center once located on Hunt’s Point Avenue which served hundreds of youths from Spanish Harlem and the South Bronx.  Numerous youthful change agents find community and develop further at The Point.  A great place to see some of them is in the A.C.T.I.O.N. (Activists Coming to Inform Our Neighborhood) program (find details on more teen programs here).


Longwood Avenue

Casita Maria sponsors South Bronx Cultural Trail tours which begin at their home base near this station.  Learn more about how Casita Maria helps build a sense of place through the City Lore website!


  1. 149th Street

Dra. Evelina Antonetty Way is marked by an official NYC street sign unveiled in 2011.  It is located at the intersection of Prospect Avenue and E. 156th Street.

Take time to reflect and be empowered by thelegacy of Dr. Evelina Lopez Antonetty (1922-1984) near the East 149th Street station.  “Titi” or “Auntie,” as she was often called, formed United Bronx Parents and was a force for establishing bi-lingual education locally and nationally.  Among her hundreds of accomplishments, she protested, periodically shut down filming for, and got twenty jobs for local minorities in the filming of Fort Apache, a fictional film set in the Bronx.  Her mural across the street (shown here) reads her words from 1980: “We will never stop struggling here in the Bronx, even though they’ve destroyed it around us.  We would pitch tents if we have to rather than move from here.  We would fight back, there is nothing we would not do.  They will never take us away from here.  I feel very much a part of this and I’m never going to leave.  And, after me, my children will be here to carry on…I have very strong children…and very strong grandchildren.”

Titi’s daughter Anita Antonetty once provided career counseling services to the youths ofRocking the Boat in Hunt’s Point.  Many were pleasantly surprised to encounter a mature Latina deeply aware of Bronx ecology issues and trends.  Anita continues to make her mark on the Bronx sustainability front in her long standing advocacy through community boards and beyond.

E 143rd Street/ St. Mary’s Street

Some of the people who lovingly care for a public park near our last stop, 52 Park, attended Samuel Gompers high school (across the street) over three generations.  52 People for Progress was founded in 1980.  This volunteer organization fuzes cultural affirmation, preservation and more with park stewardship.  See where they thrive on Kelly Street and Leggett Avenue.  There’s much more history at 52 People for Progress’ Facebook page too.


Cypress Avenue

Congressman Jose E. Serrano’s 2005 essay A Greater Sense of Pride says it all.  This ten page booklet expresses his environmental justice philosophy and details some of his legislative accomplishments with respect to air quality, parks and more.  His opening letter says it all:

“Dear Friends:

It is no secret that our government treats poor communities unequally, but environmental injustice poses a particularly sinister threat.  Environmental problems may not make headlines or grab our attention like a war, but persistent environmental hazards in the Bronx are taking the lives of our children just the same.

            Those of us in the Bronx don’t need statistics to convince us that a link exists between poverty and exposure to environmental harm.  Our neglected landscape—marred by sewage plants, waste transfer stations, scrap metal yards and power stations—provides ample evidence that the most economically vulnerable among us bear the brunt of our society’s environmental ills.

            Relief for our lungs is not the only thing at stake for the Bronx as we wrestle with these issues.  The often overlooked presence of noxious polluters and environmental eyesores in places where we live, work and play have taken a heavy toll on our economy, our ecosystems, and our physical and mental well-being.  Residents of low income communities not only are less able to ward off harmful activities that encroach upon their neighborhoods, but they often also lack the necessary resources to enforce what few protections they should receive under existing laws.

            Fortunately, more and more of us are coming to recognize that a clean and safe environment is not a luxury reserved for the privileged, but a right due to all Americans regardless of their wealth, income, race, or ethnicity.  This trend is promising as we continue to build on our community’s past successes.  Only through our continued vigilance will we finally achieve true environmental justice for ourselves and future generations.”   


Brook Avenue

Ray Figueroa is the longstanding Education Coordinator at Brook Park.  He is also a major mover and shaker in community garden advocacy and skill sharing circles city-wide!

Bernie Hernandez was a teen in the 1980s when this photo was taken in Bronx Park.  The location is the east bank of the Bronx River just south of Gun Hill Road. Bernie of Aspira has worked on Bronx environmental issues for over twenty years. He started as a teen-ager with the Bronx River Restoration, founded 1974, (precursor to the Bronx River Alliance, founded in 2001) and went on to run in-school recreation and educational programs after getting a degree in business administration. He has periodically brought school children to the Bronx River during his years as an after-school program administrator. He is now a Beacon program director in a school near Brook Park. In an early 2014 video, he discussed his current work. Andre Christopher Rivera, a college student and accomplished Bronx environmentalist, conducted the interview.   He recalls the Neighborhood Open Space Coalition (city-wide greening group), City Volunteer Corps (defunct model for national AmeriCorprs), the Bronx River Art Center and the Bronx River Restoration headed by its last executive director Nancy Wallace.

Aspira’s mission is to foster the social advancement of the Latino community by supporting its youth in the pursuit of educational excellence through leadership development activities and programs that emphasize community dedication.


3rd Avenue/ 138th Street

The women of La Finca Del Sur (community garden), co-founded by Nancy Ortiz-Surun, prides itself on being New York City’s first women run farm. Learn more through their blog and Facebookpage.


Thank you for reading this post completed on February 23, 2014.



November 15 – December 21, 2013

Opening Reception: Friday, November 15, 6-8pm

A Necessary SHIFT is an exhibition and series of events that celebrates and highlights EFA’s Residency for Arts-Workers as Artists, now entering its fourth year. With the launch of this exhibition, we launch the official name for the residency: SHIFT residency, and highlight the activities and progress of the artists who have been selected to participate since 2010.

SHIFT residency begins to recognize and nourish the particular art-world subset of artists who work for arts organizations, offering New York City based artist/arts workers a catalytic opportunity for artistic development and experimentation through space, time, counseling, and community, while thinking about how their dual roles support each other. From an intensive studio session in August, to a year of follow up meetings, residents are encouraged to reflect on their art practice and arts professionals career as a symbiotic, balanced system. Each individual brings administrative resources, artistic skills, personal struggles and victories to the experience. With each different group, underlying themes reoccur and evolve through the framework of shared knowledge and passion for the art community as seen from both the front and backend.

Past and present residents were invited to propose projects for A Necessary SHIFT that were produced during their residency year or inspired by their experience. A number of collaborations have emerged from this process. The exhibition covers the spectrum of painting, sculpture, video work, and performance. Exhibition-related events take the form of screenings, performances, bike- tours, and discussions that further demonstrate the complex challenges faced, unique rewards, and essential roles these artist/arts workers play in the arts community.

Participating Artists: Sean Carroll, Paul Clay, Jonathan Durham, Francis Estrada, Chantel Foretich, Howard Halle, Elizabeth Hamby, Amber Hawk Swanson, Felicity Hogan, Gisela Insuaste, Jamie Kim, Theresa Marchetta, Naomi Miller, Karen Ostrom, Douglas Paulson, Hatuey Ramos-Fermín, Sebastien Sanz de Santamaria, Ellen Uzane Schneiderman, Roddy Schrock, Todd Shalom, Carolyn Sickles, Chad Stayrook, Rachel Vera Steinberg, David Terry, Sarah Walko, and Beatrice Wolert

Affiliated organizations include: Abrons Art Center, Artists Alliance Inc., Bronx River Arts Center, Bronx Museum of the Arts, Children’s Museum of Manhattan, CUE Art Foundation, Elastic City, Eyebeam Center for Art + Technology, Flux Factory, FreeDimensional, Henry Street Settlement, International Center for Photography, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Metropolitan Opera, Museum of Arts & Design, Museum of the City of New York, Museum of Modern Art, New York Foundation for the Arts, NURTUREart, Residency Unlimited, Time Out New York, Triangle Art Association, Vera List Center for Art + Politics at The New School, and Wave Hill


November 15, 2013, 6:00pm Opening Reception for A Necessary SHIFT

November 21, 2013, 7:00pm  LANDSHIP: A Special One-Night Screening by Chad Stayrook

November 23, 2013, 12:30pm  Meditation / Hatha Yoga Session with Neem Dewji organized by Gisela Insuaste

December 12, 2013, 6:30pm  AFTER HOURS (private event)

December 14, 2013, 12:00pm  Tour de Labor: Elizabeth Hamby, Douglas Paulson, and Hatuey Ramos-Fermín

December 20, 2013, tba  Layover hosted by Todd Shalom

December 21, 2013, 11:30am  Urban Nature Walk with Gabriel Willow organized by Gisela Insuaste


In observance of the Thanksgiving holiday, EFA Project Space will be open the following times:

Wednesday, November 27, 12pm – 6pm
Thursday, November 28, CLOSED
Friday, November 29, CLOSED
Saturday, November 30, 12pm – 6pm 

Ancestry and Spirit: Site Specific Performance in the Hunts Point Homes Residency

By Taja Lindley | June 2013

On a rainy day in May I’m making my way to the Bronx Academy for Arts and Dance (BAAD!). The walk from the 6 train station at Longwood Avenue is a long one, or rather it feels that way because I’m walking into a place that’s tucked away, out of the way, a place where there is minimal foot traffic. The train station hosts a bustle of pedestrians. But as I cross the Bruckner Expressway I am walking alone. Cars and trucks whiz by. And then I take a right onto Barretto Street. Though located right next to the expressway, it is an ironically quiet place with an occasional stream of cars. But people live here. Amidst the barbed wire, concrete, idle cars and seeming desolation, people live here.

I know I am getting closer to BAAD! when I see murals and graffiti art that responds to police violence, affirms women, and suggests safe sex practices. People live here, and art thrives here too. I arrive. And on this rainy day there is something different happening. What is usually a quiet street is now buzzing, a more noticeable hum than what is usually felt and heard. People are standing outside watching a dancer in the street and three dancers in the windows of the second floor of the building we are facing. The culminating performance of the Hunts Points Homes Dance Residency has begun. Hunts Point is the community; BAAD! is the site for this site-specific performance.

Coordinated by Jane Gabriels at Pepatian, the residency was a three-day process for five artists: four dancers, artists in residence – Alicia Diaz, Matthew Thornton, Marion Ramirez, and Jung Woong Kim; and collaborating media artist Hatuey Ramos Fermin. The three days included immersion (meeting with cultural workers and community-based organizations and leaders), research and on-site development, and performance. It was through the immersion process that the artists chose BAAD! and it’s immediate surroundings – Barretto and Manida Streets – as their site. It was their first stop in their tour of Hunts Point, and it was then that they learned the BAAD! building was formerly a warehouse where immigrants worked to produce garments and where South American currency was made.

Rich with history,BAAD! brings an unusual amount of activity to Barretto Street on this day and everyday. Attracting audiences and artists to enter its mysterious red double doors on the second floor, BAAD! is an undeniable presence in its neighborhood but the local community members are not always frequent patrons. BAAD! staff are engaged with their neighbors but only a few neighbors seem to enter the space. The community knows they are here and take notice of the activity – with its large glass windows, residents and the occasional passerbys can see movement in BAAD! come in and out of view from their homes and from the street. This idea of mystery, what is seen and unseen, the things that come in and out of view over space and time were central themes in the residency performance.

The artists in residence began their performance with a series of poses. movements phrases and contact improvisation through and behind the large glass windows at BAAD!. At times, seeing their performance through unopened windows felt like we were seeing ghosts. The dancers made contact through the window – one hand inside touching another hand outside—as well as contact between the three artists inside with the one who danced in our midst – reaching, watching, looking. There was a sense of longing in the movements. It reminded me of the mural I passed by on my way to BAAD! – the know-your-rights mural in response to heavy policing and police brutality. In a community that is heavily surveilled, how often do residents visit loved ones in jail or prison? Make contact through glass? What is the energetic impact on a community that constantly has its members policed and involuntarily removed from their community? Are their spirits ghost-like? What are the feelings and longing that linger?

While considering these thoughts, the audience was directed to move into the BAAD! space. We get to see inside what we witnessed from Barretto Street. Then each artist made there way to downstairs and out of the building, where we watched from the window as they performed in the street. As we sat on the windowsills watching, a environmental soundscape and video of the Bronx River, created by Hatuey Ramos Fermin, were playing simultaneously.

Through the movement, of audience and performer, the divisions between “stage” and “audience” became blurred, fictionalized, less and less important. The consideration of divisions, separateness and togetherness were major subjects of the residence performance. Through the large glass windows of BAAD! we witnessed two dancers on either side of an alley – one on Barretto Street, the other on Manida Street – moving and dancing simultaneously (sometimes in unison, sometimes not). During this moment I asked myself: What are the things that keep us together? What are the things that keep us separated? How does the asphalt, concrete, gates, barbed wires, walls and buildings that mark this alleyway and the landscape for this performance become symbolically and literally translated for the communities that live here?

This idea of togetherness and separateness was invoked again as all of the artists in residence did a series of walks on Barretto Street. Together and alone. Down the street and back again. Pulled and pushed. Tugged and dragged. Prodded and propelled. Walk and run. Leave and return. To be guided and moved by something other than yourself in an environment seemingly desolate and unconnected. But something lives here – people do, who walk and drive past; and you have to wonder what they’re thinking as all of this is going on.

Through this structured improvisation, the timing of the improvising was incredibly important as cars and trucks, whizzing by from the Bruckner Expressway, made their way down Barretto Street. Dispersion after walking together was not only an aesthetic choice, it was at times necessary for the environment. What does it mean to leave and return – out of choice or necessity? Voluntarily or involuntarily?

These considerations apply not only to the living. On a rainy day, the waterfall was a libation and the performers become conductors of spirit – the ancestors of the location, former workers in the building, all of the spirits that have moved through the community, the dislocated through gentrification and imprisonment, and perhaps even the ancestors of the artists. The movement from inside and outside, and the connections between the performers in multiple environments through sight and movement are reflections of ancestors – who are somewhere, looking in on a place they have been. The ghost-like appearance of the artists in residence behind the windows, the touching through he glass invoked imagery of spirit. And it also represents how BAAD! is positioned in its local community: to be seen mysteriously through its glass windows by residents who are not regular patrons – the activity of the unseen impacting place and people.

And it is in that vein that site-specific performance makes it impact. Through small and concentrated efforts, site-specific work is a gentle and impactful intervention. It is history interpreted through bodies — performers become a channel, a new lens through which we view a place and ourselves. It engages the metaphysical – dare I say spiritual –dimensions of art making: that intangible, indescribable affect on place and people that can only come through creative practices. It allows audiences and performers to both transform and be transformed by the space they occupy.

As artists are continuing to engage with the Hunts Points area through this residency, I imagine that this site-specific work will continue to make ripples that will echo through the community. The process of the first residency, albeit brief, conjured memory and history and nostalgia in a palpable way. I look forward to the next installment.

Arin Rungjang on Cooking up “Golden Teardrop” for the Thai Pavilion in Venice

BANGKOK — Conceptual artist Arin Rungjang was recently confirmed as one of two artists due to helm the Thai Pavilion at this summer’s Venice Biennale (the other being Wasinburee Supanichvoraparch). Surprisingly, it appears that his contribution will be quite un-Rungjang like in some respects — free of the audience activities or site-specific responses for which he is renowned.

Yet, one feature that has been pivotal in some of his shows will remain: food. Though an exploration of the epic historical and geographical journey of one dish in particular, an egg yolk-based Thai desert known as thong yod, Rungjang hopes that hidden meanings and cross-cultural connections will become apparent.

In part one of our two part look at Thailand’s 2013 Pavilion, the softly spoken Rungjang, who also has a show entitled “Faraway So Close!” about to open at The Hague’s Galerie West, explained more to BLOUIN ARTINFO.

How did your Venice commission come about?

Back in December and January, I was in New York working on a group project with multidisciplinary artist Hatuey Ramos-Fermín about sugar across Southeast Asia and the Caribbean. In it we explored the connections between thong yod, an old Thai dessert made from egg yolk that looks like a teardrop, and Bomba, a type of dance created around the same time by West African sugarcane plantatation workers in Puerto Rico. When I came back, the Ministry of Culture, which wanted to do something about Thai cuisine for Venice, heard about it and invited me to take part.

How has this idea evolved since?

The work I’m going to present is called “Golden Teardrop” and about the era of Thai history thatthong yod hails from. Its story reveals the connection between the Thais, Portuguese and Japanese, and begins about 700 years ago in Portugal.

Tell us about the pieces you have created?

I’ll be presenting a documentary and a sculpture installation made with combined materials. The documentary tells the story of how thong yod travelled from Portugal to Japan to the old Siamese city of Ayutthaya. The most important part of the Thai section is the story of Greek adventurer Constantine Phaulkon, who was a counselor to King Narai about 350 years ago. The history of thong yod also intertwines with the story of a Japanese woman whose mother and grandmother lived in Hiroshima and survived the atomic bomb. Altogether in the documentary, these little stories combine to form a work about the fragmentary nature of history and collective memory.

What about the sculpture?

In the video trailer (see below) you can see laborers working on creating 8,000 pieces of beaten bronze, each one shaped like a thong yod teardrop. These will be hung from a wooden structure salvaged from an old wooden house from Ayutthaya and combined with a metal beam that came from a railway train factory from the Second World War 2 period. Almost three meters in diameter, it will hang like a mobile and be shaped like a circle.

Participatory art practices often feature in your shows. Will this be the case at Venice?

No, not really. The way in which I hope audiences do participate is by them finding a thread of the story that connects to their own.

How closely have you collaborated with the other artist Wasinburee Supanichvoraparch?

We decided to do our own projects. It was only in January when they contacted me, which would have given us a very short amount of time to collaborate. We’ve divided the space in to two, and will each have our own entrance. Where there will be some relation between each project is the concept – Wasinburee talks about food and history too, but in the modern industrial era.

What’s the current status of your group art collective “As Yet Unnamed” with Rirkrit Tiravanij, among others?

Over the past two years we’ve all been busy with our own things, but we still help each other. For Venice, fashion photographer Kornkrit Jianpinidnan helped me take photographs, andWorathep Akkabootara is one of the curators. We plan to do something together in the near future, hopefully at the end of this year.

Anything else coming up?

I’m just about to fly to Europe as I have a new solo show, “Faraway So Close!,” opening at Galerie West in the Netherlands on April 25. In it, I will use erotic images from Thai movies produced during the Cold War to explore themes of sexuality and violence.

Process and Progress: Drew Manahan, Meta Local Collaborative & The Bronx River Alliance



On View from February 01 – February 23

Gallery Location: 305 E. 140th Street, #1A, Bronx, NY 10454
Reception: Friday, February 1, 2013, 6-9pm

GALLERY HOURS: Wednesday–Friday, 3pm–6:30pm / Saturday, 12pm–5pm FREE ADMISSION

Bronx, NY, January, 2013—Bronx River Art Center (BRAC) is proud to announce Process and Progress: Drew Manahan, Meta Local Collaborative & The Bronx River Alliance. This is the third in the series of five exhibitions that invites artists and architects to engage with systems of urban development in the Bronx and beyond. Process and Progress is presented in BRAC’s temporary gallery space in Mott Haven while our permanent facility in West Farms is undergoing renovation.

The exhibition series, Process and Progress: Engaging in Community Change, highlights the Bronx River Art Center’s development during a time of significant structural and cultural change in the borough. BRAC’s major building renovation project, now underway, is leading the way for more environmentally sustainable and technologically advanced designs within our local West Farms Community. At the same time, the surrounding area has become home to new and imminent urban development projects that will dramatically impact the built environment, social fabric, and cultural composition of our local community.

Process and Progress: Drew Manahan, Meta Local Collaborative & The Bronx River Alliancefocuses on the past, the present and the future of the Bronx River. Architect Drew Manahan explores how the wilderness around the river has resurfaced within the South Bronx’s urban environment through renderings and drawings and how this evolving ecology and the river is creating new ephemeral or transcendental experiences for the borough’s dwellers.

In partnership with the Bronx River Alliance, Meta Local Collaborative has curated a selection of photos, plans, maps, ephemera from the Alliance’s archives. They trace how spaces along the river has changed throughout the years, revisit past restoration and recreation plans, and consider the river’s present state and plans for its future. In addition, Meta Local is showcasing work they are developing focused on public access to the Bronx River Greenway.

Artists and Partners:

Andrew Manahan is an Eagle Scout from Northwest Ohio who received his Bachelors of Science in Architecture from the University of Cincinnati and his Masters of Architecture from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. His vision is to create architectural and cultural policy through an opportunistic and proactive practice. He completed his first building just this past year through a mixture of contemporary and digital fabrication techniques and traditional woodwork and handcraft, featured in Metropolis magazine. Andrew has become increasingly interested in the reemergence of wilderness and nature in highly populated or recently vacated urban areas, and is interested in crafting a relationship between culture architecture and wilderness.

Meta Local Collaborative is the practice of Elizabeth Hamby and Hatuey Ramos Fermin. Their work investigates the dynamics of urban spaces, exploring the histories of buildings and neighborhoods, and tracing the flows of people, ideas and products. Combining documentary strategies with performance and fine art, they articulate concepts of origin, and the sense of place. Meta Local develops site-specific, participatory works that refer to the complexity of their community in the South Bronx and beyond. The artists observe, analyze, and dissect the social, cultural and economic structures of their neighborhood, as well as the design and organization of buildings and spaces, and use the information gathered to develop questions that serve as a foundation for their projects.

The Bronx River Alliance serves as a coordinated voice for the river and works in harmonious partnership to protect, improve and restore the Bronx River corridor so that it can be a healthy ecological, recreational, educational and economic resource for the communities through which the river flows.


Flux Factory Not so Silent Auction 2012



Date: Wednesday, December 19th
Location: 79 Walker Street, 6th Floor, NYC
Time: Cocktails begin at 7pm, award ceremony at 8:00pm, with silent bidding until 10pm

Metalocal Collaborative (Elizabeth Hamby & Hatuey Ramos Fermin) is  part of Flux Factory’s not so silent Art Auction

Title & Date: Metalocal Mystery Box (2012)
Material: Mixed (Mystery!)
Dimensions: 4″ x 2″ x 2″
Edition: 1-10

Description: In honor of the Flux Auction, Metalocal Collaborative assembled an edition of 10 Mystery Boxes containing small objects and ephemera. Each box is sold at a fixed price of $25. Please use the “Buy It Now” option.

Artist Biography:
 Meta Local is the collaborative practice of Elizabeth Hamby & Hatuey Ramos Fermin. Their work investigates the dynamics of urban spaces; exploring the histories of buildings and neighborhoods, and tracing the flows of people, ideas and products. Combining documentary strategies with performance and fine art, they articulate concepts of origin, and the sense of place. Meta Local develops site-specific, participatory works that refer to the complexity of their community in the South Bronx and beyond by observing, analyzing, and dissecting social, cultural and economic structures, as well as the design and organization of buildings and spaces. By actively engaging a broad range of people and working collaboratively across disciplines, Meta Local challenges the existing hierarchies, inclusions, and exclusions that characterize “participation” in the larger democracy of New York City.

Celebrating Conversing Bricks

Please join us on Wednesday, December 5th 2012, 6:30 PM  @ Hostos Community College, to celebrate Hatuey Ramos-Fermin’s “Conversing Bricks” permanent public art installation. The installation was constructed from bricks sent by an anti-immigrant right wing organizations to those congressional representatives who voted against the legislation to build the wall between Arizona and Mexico. The artist repurposed the bricks by inviting immigrants to write their own messages on them and build a round table and a bench.

This event is part of BCA’s 1st Wednesday’s Bronx Culture Trolley.

Oceans / Golden Tear Drop (Thong Yod)

CEC ArtsLink in partnership with THE POINT CDC Presents “Oceans/Golden Tear Drop (Thong Yod)”



November 2nd, 7-10pm

940 Garrison Avenue
Bronx, NY 10474

Bronx-based artist Hatuey Ramos-Fermin and Thai artist Arin Rungjang collaborate on a project that explores the relationships between a Thai dessert and a Puerto Rican dance using personal histories and collective memories on a journey from the past to the present. The evening will begin with an exhibition of video and images at the Brick House and Art Container, followed by food, music and dance at THE POINT Community Development Corporation.

View Oceans/ Golden Tear Drop (Thong Yod) in a larger map

Oceans/Golden Teardrop (Thong Yod) continues One Big City, a series of collaborative artistic events produced by CEC ArtsLink in partnership with leading cultural institutions to engage New York’s diaspora communities through international arts initiatives.

Hatuey Ramos Fermín was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and grew up in Puerto Rico. He is an educator, artist and curator who uses photography, video, installation, graphics, performance, interventions, maps, audio, collaborations, and social and curatorial practices to creatively investigate issues related to urban spaces. He is part of meta local collaborative.

Arin Rungjang studied graphic arts at Silpakorn University, Bangkok and École Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. His video and site-specific installations explore daily life and experience, such as memory, living space, history of family and individuals, and migration. Rungjang is one of the co-founders of an independent art initiative in Bangkok called As Yet Unnamed, an alternative platform which holds exhibitions, discussions and other events on contemporary art.

One Big City is supported by The Rockefeller Foundation’s NYC Cultural Innovation Fund and the Trust for Mutual Understanding.

Voices and Visions: Re-imagining America Media Exhibition


The Voices and Visions Re-imagining America Media Exhibition at the recent Imagining America national conference in New York City presented the work of artists and artist collectives whose practices articulate the mission of Imagining America by thriving in and contributing to community-based action and revitalization. The program was divided between two screening rooms, focusing on the strategy and practice of community-based art work.

The first room, “Visions,” presented documentation of tactics used to engage with a variety of publics to initiate dialogue and catalyze meaningful change. Featuring the work of Meta Local CollaborativeGhana Think TankThe Laundromat ProjectThe Tax Dodgers, and Housing is a Human Right, this program looked at the strategies that a diverse group of artists use to collaborate with different communities, instigating broad conversations about history, culture, and politics.

The second room, “Voices,” presented the work of Kanene HolderAna Garcia-RockafellaLa BrujaMichael Paul Britto, and Zachary Fabri, showcasing the product of community-based artistic practices. The works presented in this program emerged from long-standing relationships between artists and their communities, and demonstrated the power of large-scale collaboration in production, performance, and design.

In addition, monitors in the atrium of the screening rooms featured the work of youth from the Global Action Project, and the artist Shani Peters.

All of the artists and artist collectives whose work was presented in the Voices and Visions Media Exhibition occupy a complex place between the art world, activism, and social practice. Their work presents actionable strategies to achieve Imagining America’s ambitious vision of an enriched civic life, facilitated by publicly engaged artists, designers, scholars, and other community members working with institutions of higher education.

About the Curators

Bill Aguado was the Executive Director of the Bronx Council on the Arts, 1981–2009. His accomplishments were many over the years as the influential force behind many of BCA’s more successful and noteworthy programs. Among them, The Longwood Art Gallery, one of New York City’s oldest and longest running alternative spaces, and BRIO (Bronx Recognizes Its Own) is a twenty-year independent artist fellowship program offering 25 fellowships to Bronx artists. In 2000, he was the recipient of the Governor’s Arts Award. He is also the recipient of the Mayor’s Arts Award in 2006, and most recently he received the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Service to Artists at the 38th annual Skowhegan Awards Dinner in April 2009.

Elizabeth Hamby and Kanene Holder at the IA Conference

Kanene Holder is an avant-garde performance-artist, poet, photographerand chronic-contrarian, educator, and spokesperson for the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Her newest political satire, Searching for American Justice, premiered for NYU’s LowLives festival.

Elizabeth Hamby is an artist and an educator, working in a complex space between the studio, the classroom, and the city. Using drawing, video, installation, and participatory workshops, she explores the dynamics of place and the rhythms of everyday urban experience. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally. She teaches at the Museum of the City of New York, Millennium Art Academy, and The Drawing Center. She holds a BA in Cultural Studies and Philosophy from Eugene Lang College and a BFA in Studio Art from Parsons School of Design.

Hatuey Ramos-Fermín is an educator, multimedia artist and curator who uses photography, video, installation, graphics, performance, interventions, maps, audio, collaborations, social and curatorial practices to creatively investigate issues related to urban spaces. He is interested in articulating conceptual ideas regarding our society into thought-provoking critical language using a combination of documentary and fine arts practices. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally.

About the Artists

Michael Paul Britto‘s work ranges from videos to digital photography, sculpture, and performance. Britto has had residencies at the New Museum, as well as Smack Mellon and The Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation in New York. Britto’s work has been featured in shows at El Museo del Barrio, New York; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; The Zacheta National Gallery, Warsaw; Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, Louisville; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Britto has been written about in The New York Times, Art In America, and The Brooklyn Rail.

La Bruja has numerous acting credits, spoken-word performances, and hip-hop albums. Her presentations span television, theater, and film, such as HBO Latino, The History Channel, public service spots for Americans for the Arts, and Spike Lee’s commercials for She has recorded with Fat Joe, Vivian Green, Jadakiss, Don Dinero, The Jungle Brothers, Black Ice, B-Real, Tony Touch, Afrikaa Bambaata, Chingo Bling, Hurricane G, Boy Wonder, and The X-ecutioners. La Bruja released her debut album Brujalicious in 2005 on De La Luz Records. La Bruja is a dedicated artist-activist, who frequently performs at schools, universities, hospitals, and community centers around the country.

Focusing on video and performance, Zachary Fabri‘s work seeks to create a space for discourse around social and political systems of oppression. In addition to video, he also incorporates various media, including photography, sculpture, drawing, and installation into his work, which often responds to a specific environment or context.

Ana Garcia-Rockafella is a female breakdancer (B Girl Rokafella) who co-founded Full Circle Productions, Inc. in 1996 with her husband Kwikstep. Their mission has been to present uplifting Hip-Hop dance performances and provide educational Hip-Hop dance programming throughout NYC. The only Hip-Hop dance company of its kind in NY, Full Circle proudly references its roots and style to street performing. In the span of its near-two-decades’ existence, Full Circle has gone from hosting international contemporary companies for exchange to representing Hip-Hop at places once intangible to the street vibe, such as The Library of Congress in Washington D.C., where they have the credit of being the first Hip-Hop group to grace the stage.

Founded in 2006,  Ghana Think Tank is a worldwide network of think tanks creating strategies to resolve local problems in the “developed” world. The network began with think tanks from Ghana, Cuba and El Salvador, and has since expanded to include Serbia, Mexico, and Ethiopia. In a recent project, GTT sent problems collected in Wales to think tanks in Ghana, Mexico, Serbia, Iran, and a group of incarcerated girls in the U.S. Prison system.

Global Action Project works with young people most affected by injustice to build the knowledge, tools, and relationships needed to create media for community power, cultural expression, and political change. GAP has provided media-arts and leadership education for thousands of youth living in under-served communities across New York City and the country.

Housing is a Human Right is a creative storytelling project that aims to help connect diverse communities around housing, land, and the dignity of a place to call home. We create a space for people to share stories of their community and ongoing experiences trying to obtain or maintain a place to call Home. We are building a collection of intimate, viscerally honest narratives exploring the complex fabric of community and the human right to housing and land, painting a living portrait of human rights.

The Laundromat Project is a community-based non-profit arts organization committed to the well-being of people of color living on low incomes. Understanding that creativity is a central component of healthy human beings, vibrant neighborhoods, and thriving economies, we bring arts programs to where our neighbors already are: the local laundromat. In this way, we aim to raise the quality of life in New York City for people whose incomes do not guarantee broad access to mainstream arts and cultural facilities.

Meta Local Collaborative develops site-specific, participatory works that refer to the complexity of their community in the South Bronx and beyond. By actively engaging a broad range of people and working across disciplines, Meta Local challenges the existing hierarchies, inclusions, and exclusions that characterize “participation” in the larger democracy of New York City.

Shani Peters is a New York based artist working in video, collage, printmaking, and social practice public projects. She is interested in collective movement, cyclical patterns throughout history and generations, and cultural record keeping and accessibility. Her work examines histories in the focused context of present societal conditions, and re-presents them in manners consciously influenced by a hyper-mediated society. Her perspective is heavily informed by her family and by the historical era in which she lives. Peters was born into the me generation of the socially conservative 1980s by way of faithful Black Power era parents who live by a mantra of social responsibility. The intersections of these influences, combined with that of contemporary life’s constant media program, produces work dense with appropriated material (both highly recognizable and commonly overlooked), contradictory notions, and always with an eye towards realities yet unseen. She layers ideas and references through video, print, and public projects in an attempt to push back her own program—a new account, or record of existence.

The Tax Dodgers is a high-impact media spectacle that is able to show up anywhere real corporate tax dodgers do, and immediately attach itself to their “brand.” It works on corporations, lobbyists, and politicians. Because of the creativity, humor, and, of course, the massive popularity of baseball, the message sticks. Whoever they “go to bat for” is immediately re-branded as a Tax Dodger.






Art in Odd Places Model 2012

Street Cartographies will be part of this year’s Art in Odd Places!

Fashion. Prototype. Pose. Imitate. Plan. System. These definitive words come together to create AiOP 2012: MODEL, a festival of transformative ideas, wearable visions of positive change, and walking theories that expand preconceived notions of public space and art. From October 5 -15, national and international artist-citizens will take over 14th Street through poetry, performance, site-specific installations, videos, painting, sculpture, drawing, illustration, street art, mobile studios, design, music, as well as innovative trans-disciplinary work. Sashay, swagger, roll, prance, play, aspire, duck walk, run, jump, drop, tap, crawl, and strut along with over 100 artist-citizens as they are celebrated, presented, demonstrated, and paraded on 14th Street. Their work will occur all along this unrestricted corridor: in plain view, exposed, transparent, accessible, interactive, tangible, engaged, audible, robust, and colorful. Stop, watch, listen, and interact in fun, insightful, and unexpected ways.

Fashion: The global fashion world creates garments that adorn and protect our bodies while simultaneously gleaning from, and pushing forward, culture. Woven within this system is the ideological “fabric” from which we fashion ourselves as individuals and communities. The artist-citizens in AiOP 2012 MODEL present couture that mirrors the shared desire to define ourselves through a particular style, social norm, brand or uniform. Their projects also work to the contrary, reflecting our struggle for personal expression, individuality as well as our resistance to stereotypes, racial profiling and prejudice. They explore work that challenges often-unattainable perfection or unrealistic ideals, express behind the scenes viewpoints, and reverse the roles between fashion model and consumer. Take part in the transformation of subways, parks, buses and sidewalks into interactive runways complete with paparazzi, catwalks and, at times, a walking hotdog.

Prototype: History shows that before any creation becomes a fixture of society, there is first a creator of the exemplar, the ideal construct from which all others are modeled. This year’s festival literally reinvents the wheel including helmets that communicate without technology and permit us to hear with our bones, apparatuses that allow us to effortlessly carry the world on our shoulders, air made solid, illuminated blood, boxes made from cooked sugar, magnetic dreams, wearable furniture and bodega bag wisdom. Not limited only to objects, prototypes also define ideal citizens, those who, in our estimation, resist the status quo and seek to improve the world around us. For these artist-citizen role models, 14th Street becomes a platform for social change with visionary propositions that examine issues around politics, racism, ecology, economics, and health care.

Pose: Whether striking a pose or posing a question, this aspect of model embraces contrast: passive and assertive, subject and object, leader and follower. AiOP artist-citizens redefine these dichotomies, inverting the relationship between model-creator, digital-analog, celebrity-anonymity, and the personal-political. Questioning notions of race, beauty, gender, age and sexuality, their work asks us to reexamine the everyday tools and parameters we use to position ourselves with within society, as well as delve into the ways in which we document, arrange and prioritize our on- and off-line social profiles. “Like,” “friend,” or “poke” other participants through the vernacular of social media, as well as aspects of hyper-identity and virtual reality. Activate your own contributions to mobile photo studios, instant makeovers, portrait painting, games of the flesh and fetishes of the mind.

Imitate: Throughout our lives, we are presented with models of behavior, belief and social interaction that become the foundation for own aspirations, tastes, and relationship to the world around us. Be prepared to be entranced by the siren’s song and call-and-response of popular culture with marching choirs, gospel voices, spontaneous sing-a-longs, eclectic ensembles, lip-synchs, DJ and VJ performances. Stand witness to manifestations of deities, spiritual apparitions and incarnations of our darker sides. Sidewalks are converted into sociological experiments with artist-citizens analyzing social class, culture, religion, law, and deviance. Corners, curbs and cellar doors offer self-help and psychological evaluations including poetic probes into our collective state of mind.

Plan. Come partake in redefining our landscape. The schematics of 14th Street will be continually reinterpreted, rebranded and rearranged with projects that seek to draw out its present and potential urban structures, and remap its entire length delineated by our individual preferences rather than historical landmarks. Hidden infrastructures will fill in the outlines of its avenues through mystical labyrinths, poetry driven geographical charts, geocached communications and unraveling knit-guided walks. Bold, wheat pasted statements of solidarity and projected remixes of culture combine to inform a revised topographical social matrix that echoes through the corridors of 14th Street.


System. Amongst all of these conflicting, chaotic and collaborating definitions there is always order to be found. There are the systems that keep our world running, stumbling, prancing and plodding along through models of communication, business, finance, and economy. Investigate the procedures and methods by which we analyze and substantiate society, be challenged to scrutinize class divide, economic collapse, and recession politics. Artist-citizens reorder our current systems of capitalism, consumerism and commerce, reinventing new methods and industry, as well as reach back into the wisdom of indigenous customs.


We are all citizens of the MODEL runway. Throughout the festival, we invite you to join us in putting our best foot forward as we proclaim 14th Street as the largest and longest promenade in the world. We declare it our interactive public showroom, free laboratory, open vitrine, inclusive procession, movement mall, evolving plaza and liberated space. No door will separate us. MODEL!



Art in Odd Places (AiOP) presents visual and performance art in unexpected public spaces. AiOP also produces an annual festival along 14th Street in Manhattan, NYC from Avenue C to the Hudson River each October.



Art in Odd Places aims to stretch the boundaries of communication in the public realm by presenting artworks in all disciplines outside the confines of traditional public space regulations. AiOP reminds us that public spaces function as the epicenter for diverse social interactions and the unfettered exchange of ideas. Website:



Art in Odd Places (AiOP) began as an action by a group of artists led by Ed Woodham to encourage local participation in the Cultural Olympiad of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. In 2005, after moving back to New York City, he re imagined it as a response to the dwindling of public space and personal civil liberties – first in the Lower East Side and East Village, and since 2008, on 14th Street in Manhattan. AiOP has always been a grassroots project fueled by the goodwill and inventiveness of its participants.


Art in Odd Places is a project of GOH Productions.
Bonnie Stein, Executive Director.

Voices and Visions: Re-Imagining America Media Exhibition

Voices and Visions: Re-Imagining America Media Exhibition.

This is part of  Imagining America National Conference, October 5-7 2012 

721 Broadway, Lower Level, Rooms 010 & 014 

Organized by Bill Aguado, former executive director, Bronx Council on the Arts.
Curated by independent NYC artists Kanene Holder, Elizabeth Hamby, and Hatuey Ramos-Fermin.

The Voices and Visions Media Exhibition presents the work of artists and artist collectives whose practices articulate the mission of Imagining America by thriving in and contributing to community-based action and revitalization. The program is divided between two screening rooms, focusing on the strategy and practice of community-based art work. “Visions,” (Room 010) presents documentation of tactics used to engage with a variety of publics to initiate dialogue and catalyze meaningful change. Featuring the work of Ghana Think Tank, The Laundromat ProjectThe Tax DodgersKanene Holder, and Housing is a Human Right, this program looks at the strategies that a diverse group of artists use to collaborate with different communities, instigating broad conversations about history, culture, and politics. “Voices,” (Room 014) presents the work of MetaLocal CollaborativeRockafellaLa BrujaMichael Paul Britto, and Zachary Fabri, showcasing the product of community-based artistic practices. The works presented in this program emerge from long-standing relationships between artists and their communities, and demonstrate the power of large-scale collaboration in production, performance, and design.

In addition, monitors in the atrium of the screening rooms will feature the work of youth from the Global Action Project, and the artist Shani Peters. All of the artists and artist collectives whose work is presented in the Voices and Visions Media Exhibition occupy a complex place between the art world, activism, and social practice. Their work presents actionable strategies to achieve Imagining America’s ambitious vision of an enriched civic life, facilitated by publicly engaged artists, designers, scholars, and other community members working with institutions of higher education.

Laundromat Project’s Third Annual Public Art Potluck

Third Annual Public Art Potluck

What Do We Bring? Yummy Food and Public Art!
What Do You Bring? An Open Mind and Creative Ideas!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012 | 7:00pm – 9:30p
Doors open at 6:30pm
University Settlement, 184 Eldridge Street, New York, NY 10002

The Laundromat Project invites you to celebrate this year’s Create Change artists at its 3rd Annual Public Art Potluck.

Engage our Create Change artists in conversations about their projects and creative ideas set in communities across New York City and Philadelphia.

You’ll hear about socially-engaged art projects ranging from yoga-based printmaking in Jackson Heights to envisioning a new waterfront for the South Bronx to a multimedia installation highlighting the history of garment workers in Sunset Park.

Dinner will be prepared by Organic Soul Chef Madea Allen.

Funky Fresh debut presentation

Who decides where supermarkets go? Does the Bronx have enough supermarkets? Does it matter?

This summer, CUP collaborated with teaching artist Hatuey Ramos-Fermín and a group of Bronx public high school students from CUNY College Now at Hostos Community College to look at who gets supermarkets, who doesn’t, and why.

To find answers, the group got out of the classroom and into the frozen food aisles. They visited groceries across the boroughs, the Fresh Direct distribution site planned for the Bronx, and the real estate department of a major supermarket. For the scoop on how supermarkets choose sites, they interviewed the CEO of Western Beef, a market research guru, the Department of City Planning, a local Community Board, organizers, and Bronx health experts. They’ve designed a booklet to teach others what’s funky and what’s fresh about Bronx supermarket access.

Please join us for the world premiere of Funky Fresh on Thursday, September 13, at 7 pm! Free and open to the public. RSVP to [email protected]

Funky Fresh was made possible by the CUNY College Now program. Additional support was provided by public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York City Department of Culture in partnership with the City Council.

Soundview Park Summer Festival 2012: City of Water Day in Your Neighborhood

Friends of Soundview Park annual celebration of the park and the Bronx waterfront!

All activities are FREE and open to the public. Performances for all ages, family friendly fun and educational activities, and fitness and recreational programming.

10:00 am – 6:00 pm – Street Cartography
This bicycle-based mobile exhibition of ideas about ways to make bicycling accessible, safe and sustainable in the Bronx. The artists Elizabeth Hamby and Hatuey Ramos-Fermín will share existing initiatives in the Bronx and generate new ideas with participants in the festival.


The Hive/El panal

Trienal Poli/gráfica de San Juan
Several venues – San Juan Puerto Rico

By Paco Barragán for ARTPULSE Magazine

The Trienal Poli/gráfica de San Juan de Puerto Rico (The San Juan Polygraphic Triennial) kicked off on April 27 under the umbrella title El Panal/The Hive, with the participation of 150 national and international artists. The budget is $1 million, which is very attractive, especially in these days of economic mayhem. Since the art fair CIRCA PR discontinued, La Trienal is basically the only signature international event in Puerto Rico, where the artistic scene is very vibrant but with a practically nonexistent gallery structure and very weak museum programming.

This edition has been curated by a team led by Deborah Cullen, former director of curatorial programs at El Museo del Barrio; the rest of the members of the curatorial team are Brazilian Antonio Sergio Bessa, Ursula Dávila-Villa from Mexico and Rebeca Noriega from Puerto Rico. The press release stresses the presence in the exhibit of blue-chip artists such as Jackson Pollock, Wifredo Lam, Andy Warhol and Vito Acconci. According to official La Trienal information, “[T]he essentially collaborative practices, especially social networks-real and virtual ones-are where artistic practices and its main protagonists come together.”

I have to admit that the adjective “polygraphic” has always troubled me. Too abstract: it means nothing and all at the same time. It’s a cul de sac, and actually in La Trienal you find everything from books and text-based works to sculpture, installation, murals, video works, painting, and many performances or performative works-in short, everything, be it graphic or not. Traditionally focused on graphic expressions, today it becomes a handicap inasmuch as the curator feels somehow obliged to or biased toward an exhibit showcasing historical references related to the matter. In this case, think of propaganda and publicity especially, as it’s there where graphics have particularly excelled: from Marx’s and Engels’ The Communist Manifesto to Hitler’s Third Reich Deutsche Mark stamps to Soviet artists such as Vladimir Lebedev and Dmitry Moor, and graphic designers such as Saul Bass.


Collaboration as curatorial premise is actually rather fascinating and connects extremely well with our Zeitgeist, exemplified in movements such as 15-M in Spain, Occupy Wall Street, and even The Arab Spring. Nevertheless, we shouldn’t forget the most important element from a historical point of view: the modernist avant-garde never, ever allowed the artist to betray or abandon the dogmas of aura, authorship and authenticity together with the romantic and romanticized idea of the artist as creative genius. Now, and in brief, collaborative practices were at their height during the Renaissance and Baroque period-just think of Rembrandt and Rubens. Even today, many artists have inspired themselves with their working methods: Warhol’s Factory of course, but more contemporary examples are: Jeff Koons’ Studio, Takashi Murakami or Damien Hirst. And throughout the 20th century, many artists have engaged in collaborative practices, including Tristan Tzara, Hugo Ball and Hans Arp with Dada; Duchamp and LHOOQ in 1919; Bauhaus; Tatlin’s Productionists Group, 1920; Black Mountain College; Fluxus; Art and Language; Black Artists Group; Guerrilla Girls; Christo and Jeanne-Claude; Abramović and Ulay; Bob and Roberta Smith; and Atelier Van Lieshout, among others.

Basically, we could say that collaborative practices in the beginning of the 20th century were not necessary, fixed or closed; from the ’50s on, groups or collectives have appeared whose collaboration extended over time with more or less fixed members and with a concept of acknowledged co-authorship.

The problem with the historical part of El Panal/The Hive now is that there is no clear concept. It focuses too much on collaborative practices in printmaking workshops and also on the figure of Robert Blackburn. And this is not really encompassing the idea of collaborative practices nor its history in modern art1.

As such, we find works from Blackburn, Mestre Nosa, Wifredo Lam, Roberto Matta, Jackson Pollock, Charles White, Francisco Mora, Larry Rivers, Andy Warhol, Öyvind Fahlström, Lygia Pape, Raymundo Colares, Vito Acconci, Augusto de Campos, Hélio Oiticica, Ida Appledroog, Liliana Porter, Taller 4 Rojo, Mary Ellen Solt, Corina Kent, Lygia Clark, Cildo Meireles, Marcos Dimas, Tim Rollins & KOS, Luis Camnitzer, Antonio Martorell and many more. Now, the fact that artists went to Mr. Blackburn’s printmaking workshop, Jackson Pollock made some prints and Larry Rivers some lithos is just pushing the idea of collaborative practices too far and turning it thus into something too abstract and hardly representative. Just one example: Even if Vito Acconci’s video Following Piece is great, it would have been more appropriate to showcase one of Abramovíć and Ulay’s pieces; in this same sense I would have loved to see at least some works from the classical Gilbert and George, Anarchitecture and Bernd & Hilla Becher, just to mention a few.

The contemporary part is better at showcasing artistic practices of artists, artists collectives and groups that work or have worked for the occasion on a collaborative level. Think of the Dominican York Proyecto Gráfica, with a set of 12 images by four artists; Miguel Luciano’sPuerto Rican Cotton Picker installation; and Hatuey’s Ramos-Fermín with Oscar Mestey Villamil’s A Post(al) Colonial Correspondence. Two of the outstanding pieces are Tomás Espina’s Caterva, an amazingly big re-creation of a demonstration carried out with gunpowder on paper, and Vargas Suárez-Universal’s site-specific, coffee-wall drawing Outcrop: Distributary Flow, in which he mixes images from Mars with coffee beans from Puerto Rico into a surprisingly otherwordly composition. But although both are stunning pieces of art, we have to be imaginative to find the collaborative angle.

The best project by far is not at La Trienal, but a parallel event, La Casa de los Contrafuertes: espacio de trabajo. Conceived by Puerto Rican artist Charles Júhasz-Alvarado, Contrafuertes is an ongoing interdisciplinary project in which design, music, performance, installation, reading rooms, film, dance and theatre merge in an a imaginative way exploring literally, formally and conceptually the idea of collaborative practices. Guided by the idea of the hive, the upper part of the exhibit showcases a real transparent hive box with real bees that are making honey, constructed by Júhasz and artist and beekeeper Teófilo Torres. The movements and noises of the hive are being transmitted by Fabián Wilkens in his in situ sound studio. The whole building becomes literally a hive in whose chambers different artists-including Ana Rosa Rivera and her sculptural-performative space; Arnaldo Morales’ kinetic sculptures; Dhara Rivera’s hydrographic installation; Teo Freytes’ and Yrsa Dávila’s MSA project; Néstor Barreto’s reading room and the small site-specific installations by Yvelisse Jiménez; Io Carrión; Allora & Calzadilla; Vargas-Suárez Universal; Marielis Castro; Fabián Vélez and Frances Rivera.

Now, I have to admit that this proposal is by far more interesting that the official show, in which we find interesting individual artistic proposals but whose curatorial endeavour never keeps up with what it promises. Although the adjective “collaborative” is pretty new, the practice isn’t, but La Trienal fails to explain how it has changed along the way.

(April 27  – August 28, 2012)


1. See this interview with curator Deborah Cullen explaining her idea of La Trienal,

Laundromat Project 2012 Cycle

We are excited to be part of the Laundromat Project Create a Change Artist Residency!
 Hatuey Ramos-Fermin and Elizabeth Hamby will turn their laundromat into a classroom environment in their project Mind the Gap/La Brecha to invite their neighbors to propose new ways of increasing their access to green spaces and the waterfront. Collaborating with locals, they will use 3D models, workshops, and other platforms to visualize the future development of the South Bronx. The interior and exterior space of the laundromat will be used to exhibit the culmination of ideas generated by locals.

Elizabeth Hamby and Hatuey Ramos-Fermín are artists and educators working between the studio, the classroom, and the city. Their collaborative practice explores the relationship between people and place through a variety of media, and relies heavily on community participation and engagement. Their recent projects, Boogie Down Rides in “This Side of Paradise,” organized by No Longer Empty, and When the Bronx was Burning, Casa Amadeo was Holding it Down produced with Action Club for “Shifting Communities” at the Bronx River Art Center combined installation with public programming and community engagement to create conversations about critical issues in the Bronx.

Unveiling Pro-Immigrant Art Made from Anti-Immigrant Bricks

In the Bronx

Unveiling Pro-Immigrant Art Made from Anti-Immigrant Bricks

Last Saturday, Congressman Serrano joined Hostos Community College President Dr. Félix Matos Rodríguez, community leaders, and artist Hatuey Ramos-Fermín to unveil a the first part of a newly installed art feature at the Hostos Memorial Plaza. The Conversing Bricks installation, which is in the form of a “wall of hope”, is made from bricks that were sent to Members of Congress several years ago in an effort to convince them to build a wall on the U.S. – Mexico border. The bricks were collected and brought to the Bronx for use in a pro-immigrant art installation—turning their message of intolerance and division into one of hope and reconciliation. Soon, a “table of dialogue” art installation, made from the same bricks, will join the “Wall of Hope” in the plaza.

“I was so pleased to be invited to speak at this important community event, where we reaffirmed our commitment to immigrants’ rights, diversity, and community solidarity,” said Congressman Serrano. “This art installation takes the worst anti-immigrant messages, and turns them into the message of unity and dialogue; the best message that the immigrant-friendly Bronx has to offer. Here in the Bronx we celebrate immigrants, we defend them, we uplift them, and we welcome them. Our example—a community of immigrants and long-time citizens living together in peace and harmony—should be emulated around the nation. This ‘wall of hope’ and ‘table of dialogue’ will be a constant reminder to the Bronx and the nation as a whole that we are a country of diverse origins, and must be a place of tolerance through dialogue. I commend Hostos Community College, Bill Aguado, and artist Hatuey Ramos-Fermín for their work on this project and their dedication to the message that it contains.”

“A round table has no head or foot, no person who sits at it can claim a more important position than the other; thus making everyone equal, the table becomes a symbol of equality for all citizens regardless of their immigration status,”  said Hatuey Ramos-Fermín, the artist who carried out the installation.

The Conversing Bricks project emerged from a campaign waged by anti-immigrant groups that sent bricks to members of Congress who opposed the construction of a border wall between Mexico and the United States. The bricks were sent with messages like “Build a Wall,” “No to Illegals,” and “Secure our Borders.”  Of the thousands of bricks sent to Capitol Hill, 273 were donated for this project. For the past three years, community leaders worked to conceive the concept for Around the Table: Conversing Bricks, now shortened to simply, Conversing Bricks. The bricks are meant to become a public art installation in the form of a wall and a round table with the intention of transforming messages of intolerance into a site for dialogue on issues of citizenship, immigration, and human rights.

The Hostos Community College Memorial Plaza, a public gathering place for students and community members recalls and honors the passengers that died on November 12, 2001 en route to the Dominican Republic in American Airlines Flight 587. The Memorial Plaza includes a water-wall of polished granite inscribed with the names of all that perished.  Since its founding days Hostos Community College has welcomed students of all backgrounds. Community leaders felt that the Hostos Community College Memorial Plaza was the best site for the Conversing Bricks art installation.

Ramos-Fermín was awarded a grant from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Community Arts Development Fund for the public art project Conversing Bricks.