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.


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 Artist Asks Visitors to Share Their ‘Sites of Struggle’ On NYC Map

By Eddie Small For DNAInfo

CONCOURSE — A Bronx artist wants to hear about your struggles.

Artist Hatuey Ramos Fermín has set up an interactive map of the city as part of the Bronx Museum of the Arts’ exhibit on the Young Lords Organization that asks visitors to write down something they are struggling with on a small paper flag and then place the flag in the corresponding location on the map.

“It doesn’t have to be exactly your place where you live,” said Fermín. “Maybe it’s where you’re from in the city, or it’s a struggle that pertains to that specific borough.”

Most of the flags are in The Bronx so far, which could be due to how many people from The Bronx have come to see the exhibit, according to Ramos.

A "Sites of Struggle" map is part of the Bronx Museum's Young Lords exhibit.
A “Sites of Struggle” map is part of the Bronx Museum’s Young Lords exhibit. Photo by Eddie Small

Struggles that people wrote down for the borough include environmental concerns (“Stop FreshDirect” and “Stop NYPA Power Plants“), economic concerns (“gentrification” and “empowering the underserved”) and personal concerns (“have fun”).

A few visitors also wrote down people’s specific names, which Fermín said he found surprising and possibly indicative of struggles the author was having with that person.

“It’s an open-ended invitation, so people can map what struggle means to them,” he said. “They’re invited to add their own meaning to that.”

The Young Lords were a radical group of social activists founded in the 1960s by young Puerto Ricans who demanded housing, police, employment, education and health care reform, according to the Bronx Museum.

In addition to the map, the museum’s exhibit on them also includes a reconstruction of the group’s Bronx office and an installation dedicated to women in the organization.

The map is meant to show how issues that the Young Lords fought for, such as social justice and racial equality, are still very relevant today, according to Fermín.

“I hope that it connects to today’s struggles. They’re all more or less similar,” he said. “They might not look the same, but they might be similar to the ones you faced 40, 50 years ago.”

The map will be up until the Young Lords exhibit comes down on Oct. 18, and Fermín said he was very pleased with the response it had received so far.

“I didn’t know if people were actually going to do it, first of all,” he said, “but it’s been great to see people walking through and reading and taking careful notice and writing thoughtful comments. That’s been great.”

“You never know with something like this how’s it going to work, if it’s going to work or not,” he continued, “but it seems like people are into it.”

The Bronx Museum of the Arts is located at 1040 Grand Concourse. Check their website for the hours of operations.

Artists in the Marketplace at the Bronx Museum


BY MOSTAFA HEDDAYA for Blouin Artinfo

The Bronx Museum of the Arts has long distinguished itself by its commitment to the communities that surround it, with its three-and-a-half decade Artists in the Marketplace (AIM) program a leading example of this dedication. The program assists emerging artists of varying degrees of seniority and experience with the more practical aspects of life as a working artist, and has produced a small coterie of notable alumni. Initially conceived as a means of training, the museum began tapping its AIM cohort for a biennial exhibition six years ago, and the latest iteration of this effort, “Bronx Calling: The Third AIM Biennial,” is now on view. Curated by the Bronx-based artists Laura Napier and Hatuey Ramos-Fermín, the biennial is a dizzying mixture of styles and mediums, comprising the work of 72 artists of varying backgrounds and interests. We spoke with Napier and Ramos-Fermín about their approach to the third AIM biennial, and how they sought to bring two classes of AIM participants — from 2014 and 2015 — into the public eye.

Revisiting a heated chapter of Bx history

By Shant Shahrigian for the Riverdale Press

A large banner with an AK-47 silhouetted in front of a cutout of the Puerto Rican flag greets visitors to the Bronx Museum of the Arts’ latest show, conveying something of the shock New Yorkers might have felt when the Young Lords took the city by storm starting in the summer of 1969.

The exhibit offers a sympathetic history lesson on the group’s rise and fall by way of the posters, publications, paintings and other artwork that members used to fight for better conditions for Latinos and others in the Bronx, Manhattan and Puerto Rico. A recreation of the group’s Bronx office includes a wall covered in photocopies of FBI files on members, illustrating the police infiltration that contributed to the Lords’ disintegration in the early 1970s.

“¡Presente! The Young Lords in New York” also features items ranging from a list of the group’s 13 socialist goals to a sofa scorched during a 1961 work of performance art.

“A lot of the imagery is very violent. It’s obviously of its era,” said Yasmin Ramírez, an adjunct curator at the museum. “If we look at it at a broader level, I think it’s resonating with people in the community because these issues are still occurring, unfortunately, to this day.”

While the City Council continues to debate free lunch for all public school students, works documenting the Lords’ effort to provide free breakfast for children show the idea is an old one. There are also photos of the group’s one-day occupation of Lincoln Hospital and of demonstrations against the filming of “Fort Apache the Bronx.”

A wall covered in silkscreens by the still-functioning artists coalition Taller Boricua shows the Lords’ roots in Puerto Rican culture. One image is a vibrant homage to Puerto Rican labor organizer Luisa Capetillo, while another protests the death of Young Lord Julio Roldán while in NYPD custody.

Large collages commissioned for the exhibit emphasize the role of women in the movement, who demanded that the Young Lords’ 13 goals said “Down with machismo and male chauvinism” along with battle cries like, “We want self-determination for Puerto Ricans—Liberation of the Island and inside the United States.” Sophia Dawson’s  “Women of the Young Lords” incorporates a photo of activists Iris Morales and Denise Oliver-Velez. Her “Sistahz” references a 1970 poster protesting the sterilization of Puerto Rican women.

Organizers said the exhibit was five years in the making and incorporated lengthy discussions with original Lords members. Some of them, like Ms. Oliver-Velez, continued work as community organizers while others, like Juan González, have made their mark as journalists.

A long with Young Lords banners and the wall of FBI files, the recreation of the group’s Longwood Avenue office includes a table map of all five boroughs. Little blue flags mark the locations of demonstrations like the 1970 Lincoln Hospital takeover and a protest for greater minority representation at the Museum of Modern Art in the same year. Visitors to the free museum are invited to plant white flags and write causes that are important to them.

“What does struggle mean to you, and where can we map it?” said education curator Hatuey Ramos-Fermín, who made the office recreation. “It’s really open-ended.”

“¡Presente! The Young Lords in New York” runs at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, located at 1040 Grand Concourse, through Thursday, Oct. 15. Admission is free. For hours and more information, visit www.bronxmuseum.org.

The Art and Activism of the Young Lords

Three New York City venues look back at the Puerto Rican nationalist group

By MARK ARMAO for the Wall Street Journal

Máximo R. Colón, ‘Partido Young Lords,’ is included in the El Museo del Barrio exhibit. As part of the exhibition, the Bronx Museum of the Arts and the Loisaida Center will also focus on different aspects of the Lords’ history. MÁXIMO R. COLÓN Three New York City venues are looking back at the Puerto Rican nationalist group the Young Lords in the exhibition ‘¡Presente! The Young Lords in New York.’ Máximo R. Colón’s ’Untitled,’ seen here, is on view at the Bronx Museum. MÁXIMO R. COLÓN

When garbage started piling up on East Harlem sidewalks in the late 1960s because of irregular trash collection, a group of young activists decided to intervene. They dragged the discarded mattresses, old refrigerators and abandoned cars into the street, blocking traffic in a dramatic protest. They then set the garbage aflame.

The protesters were members of the Young Lords, Puerto Rican nationalists who would go on to become one of the most radical civil-rights activist groups in New York City. Controversial in their heyday, they are now the subject of a new, multi-venue exhibition.

Like their better-known collaborators, the Black Panthers, the Young Lords—whose New York chapter was founded in 1969—aimed to combat social oppression in their community through highly organized protests that sometimes involved run-ins with the law.

The exhibition, titled “¡Presente! The Young Lords in New York,” documents those efforts with photographs, publications, films and artwork that came out of the movement. The Bronx Museum of the Arts, El Museo del Barrio and the Loisaida Center will each focus on different aspects of the Lords’ history, which began as a struggle for Puerto Rican independence and racial equality, before evolving into a much larger fight.

Máximo R. Colón, ‘Partido Young Lords,’ is included in the El Museo del Barrio exhibit. As part of the exhibition, the Bronx Museum of the Arts and the Loisaida Center will also focus on different aspects of the Lords’ history. MÁXIMO R. COLÓN Three New York City venues are looking back at the Puerto Rican nationalist group the Young Lords in the exhibition ‘¡Presente! The Young Lords in New York.’ Máximo R. Colón’s ’Untitled,’ seen here, is on view at the Bronx Museum. M?XIMO R. COL?N The Young Lords were Puerto Rican nationalists who would go on to become one of the most radical civil-rights activist groups in New York City. Shepard Fairey’s ‘Visual Disobedience’ is on view at the Bronx Museum. SHEPARD FAIREY/OBEY GIANT ART

“The civil-rights movement is imagined in black and white,” saidJohanna Fernández, co-curator of the Bronx Museum’s exhibition. “But the movement in itself was diverse, and it was concerned with problems of social and economic import” in Puerto Rican neighborhoods, such as unemployment and poor health care. Their work testing East Harlem children for lead poisoning—and trumpeting the dire results at news conferences—helped lead to city legislation on the issue.

The intersection of activism and art is a major theme of “¡Presente!” The Bronx Museum’s portion of the exhibition, which runs until Oct. 15, features an artistic re-creation of the Young Lords’ headquarters, complete with their distinctive posters and a ’70s-era radio that plays interviews with its members.

It also includes around 30 pages from group’s bilingual newspaper, Palante, many emblazoned with vibrant artwork by artists associated with the Young Lords. Several in the group were themselves artists and writers, said co-curator Yasmin Ramírez. Founding New York member Juan Gonzáles, for one, has written several books, and the original party chairman, Felipe Luciano, is a published poet.

The Lords’ history began as a struggle for Puerto Rican independence and racial equality. Hiram Maristany’s ‘David with Palante, V. 2, N. 4,’ is on view at El Museo del Barrio. El Museo’s piece of the multi-venue exhibition, running from July 22 to Oct. 17, will focus on the Lords’ East Harlem activity. HIRAM MARISTANY

Prints and paintings from the era are interspersed with newer pieces, such as a reimagined Young Lords poster by contemporary street artist and activist Shepard Fairey.

The walls of the main gallery are lined with photographs depicting the organization during fiery demonstrations in the Bronx.

In 1970, Denise Oliver-Velez became the first woman elected to the party’s central committee. (Gender equality was a big issue.) She was among the Young Lords who barricaded themselves inside Lincoln Hospital in the South Bronx to protest the facility’s unsafe conditions—an event portrayed in the exhibition with both photographs and film footage.

‘Vine pa’echar candela’ is an installation by Hatuey Ramos-Fermín, an artist artist and curator of education at the Bronx Museum, in collaboration with curator Johanna Fernandez. PHOTO: HATUEY RAMOS-FERMÍN

Paintings and political prints created by prominent Young Lords artists will also be on display in the Harlem museum, including a colorful silk-screen print byAntonio Martorell protesting the U.S. Navy’s occupation of an island off Puerto Rico.

Several contemporary works were commissioned specifically for the exhibition. Miguel Luciano fashioned a piece consisting of four fuchsia-colored AK-47s, recurrent symbols in Young Lords iconography.

The Young Lords—whose New York chapter was founded in 1969—aimed to combat social oppression in their community through highly organized protests that sometimes involved run-ins with the law. Máximo R. Colón’s ‘Borinquen Plaza’ from 1971 shows a commemorative march for the anniversary of the 1937 Ponce massacre. The initially peaceful march ended with violence. MÁXIMO R. COLÓN

A third exhibition, opening July 30 at Latino social-service and cultural center Loisaida Inc., will focus on the Lords’ presence in the Lower East Side. Documents include audio recordings and found footage of party members reciting poetry and speaking about their cause.

The show will also feature unpublished photos by Mr. Maristany, and posters by graphic artist and poet Sandra María Esteves. It will examine the efforts of the Young Lords Gay and Lesbian Caucus, as well as the organization’s influence on the neighborhood’s burgeoning Latin-jazz scene, said Wilson Valentín-Escobar, who is co-organizing the exhibit with Libertad Guerra.

Máximo R. Colón, ‘Partido Young Lords,’ is included in the El Museo del Barrio exhibit. As part of the exhibition, the Bronx Museum of the Arts and the Loisaida Center will also focus on different aspects of the Lords’ history. MÁXIMO R. COLÓN

“The Young Lords redefined the mainstream stereotypes of Puerto Ricans [as being] prone to violence, drug addiction and welfare dependence,” Ms. Fernández said. “They challenged that perception through their eloquent, strategic and smart activism.”

The Young Lords Party newspaper, Palante, on view at El Museo del Barrio. EL MUSEO DEL BARRIO, NEW YORK

Artists respond to call from the Bronx

Work by more than 70 emerging artists from across New York featured in Bronx Calling

by VICTORIA STAPLEY-BROWN for The Art Newspaper

Video still from Cat Del Buono’s Voices (2013)

Twice each year, 18 emerging artists living in the New York metropolitan area participate in Artists in the Marketplace (AIM) at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, a professional development residency programme whose alumni include Glenn Ligon, Rina Banerjee and Polly Apfelbaum. The exhibition Bronx Calling: the Third AIM Biennial (until 20 September) features one piece from each of the 72 artists who have participated in AIM in the past two years.

The artists are “talking about their work in their own terms” in the show, says Hatuey Ramos-Fermin, the museum’s curator of education, who co-organised Bronx Calling with the artist and curator Laura Napier; each label, for instance, includes an artist’s statement. The exhibition reflects the diversity of the artists’ practices, with a range of media, from installations like Erik Shane Swanson’s picnic table Saltwater, Piss and Vinegar (2015), made of scagliola, to oil paintings like Eden Morris’s Biblically-inspired Tamar’s Chance (2013). The works are arranged to dialogue with each other on different levels—“some of [the connections] are very subtle, some of them are more thematic”, Ramos-Fermin says.

Installation view of Cat Del Buono’s Voices (2013) in Bronx Calling: the Third AIM Biennial

Cat Del Buono’s Voices (2013), given its own separate space in a hallway, perhaps speaks loudest all on its own. From a distance, the 13-screen sound and video installation of the lower half of women’s faces speaking is a pretty picture of moving mouths and a hum of indistinguishable chatter. But up close, each screen features a different woman speaking about her own harrowing experience with domestic violence. The work has a simultaneous anonymity and extreme intimacy, and the brief blackness of a screen when its monologue ends adds to the haunting sentiment. Napier recalls her initial hesitation to include the work, and admits it was difficult to handle—she eventually had to turn off the videos during installation—but is happy to have included the piece. “It’s a really important conversation to have,” she says.

Bronx Calling and its associated programmes are supported by Agnes Gund, the Jerome Foundation and the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund among others.

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

‘Boogie on the Boulevard’ to Turn Grand Concourse Into Thoroughfare for Recreation

By: Erin Clarke for NY1

Link to original article and video

A popular event from the past is being revived that will close the Grand Concourse for three days this summer and turn it into a wide thoroughfare open for recreation. NY1’s Erin Clarke filed the following report.

No vehicles, not even one, will pass along a stretch of the Grand Concourse for three days this summer.

Instead, live performances, music, workshops and more will fill the space as part of Boogie on the Boulevard.

“This idea of being open, inviting community to bring children, bring their families, bring their friends and have fun here,” said Hatuey Ramos-Fermin, curator at the Bronx Museum of the Arts.

The event revives the tradition of car-free Sundays, when nearly the entire length of the Concourse closed every Sunday of the summer. It stopped in the ’90s.

“I remember when I was younger, when the concourse on Sundays was closed and all I would see was bike riders and people walking around, and there was this big sense of community,” said Ed Garcia Conde, a blogger with Welcome2TheBronx.

Several community partners are bringing the idea back as a way to showcase the borough, its people and culture, and to encourage healthy lifestyles.

“It’s good to have it for the community, but they should have been done this a long time ago to all the people that get to see different cultures of everything that is going around this city,” said one member of the community.

Another goal of Boogie on the Boulevard is to start a conversation among community members about the Grand Concourse.

“Folks can reimagine the Grand Concourse, where they can look at how they would improve the Concourse or changes they would make so that they can have it, have better access to it all year-round,” said Jill Guidera, filed organizing manager with Transportation Alternatives.

Organizers hope to open a dialogue about the roadway, especially since Transportation Alternatives found that similarly constructed roadways accounted for 60 percent of fatal crashes or serious injuries citywide.

“It’s still sometimes referred as the Boulevard of Death because the cars are really zooming and racing by,” Conde said. “I really would love to see it be more pedestrian-friendly, also friendly for bikers and rollerbladers like myself to be able to experience that. Do we really need all these lanes for cars?”

They’re questions that will hopefully get the wheels moving in the direction of change.

Boogie on the Boulevard will be held on August 3, August 10 and August 17.

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 athttp://www.bobbygonzalez.com/ .  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 

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.


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.

Citizen Placemakers: Elizabeth Hamby & Hatuey Ramos Fermín Use Art to Bring People Together

By  for Project for Public Spaces

Elizabeth Hamby and Hatuey Ramos Fermín are people connectors. As artists, activists, and Bronxites, their creative collaborations are all about gathering information from neighbors and presenting it in ways that allow communities to better understand themselves and the urban spaces they create. The two have worked in all kinds of public spaces, from major thoroughfares and street corners to laundromats, grocery stores, and vacant waterfronts.

Recently, they organized Boogie Down Rides: Bicycling is Art. The artists used the social act of biking as a springboard for talking with people about the creation of healthy, active urban environments. Throughout the month of May 2012, they set up many different formats for engaging the public: a temporary bike shop that simultaneously served as an education hub, group rides across the Bronx, and visioning workshops about biking and greenway initiatives in the city.

The project was organized as part of the public art exhibition, This Side of Paradise, by No Longer Empty at the Andrew Freedman Home. I recently sat down with Hatuey and Elizabeth to talk aboutBoogie Down Rides and the other urban projects they have in the works.


What was it about your community that inspired Boogie Down Rides? Was there a particular need that you were responding to or wanted to address?

Hatuey: Boogie Down Rides grew out of another project of mine, Transmit-Transit. It explored the idea of taxi drivers as a mode of transport in the the Bronx, and the need for cabs to move around. Public transit in the north-south direction works well but east-west not so much. No Longer Empty first approached me about that transportation project, which became a video installation at the Andrew Freedman Home that connected the gallery space to the outside world. Then we began thinking about how to physically and conceptually expand transportation within the community. Transportation was a major theme extending back to Mr. Freedman’s time, with Mr. Freedman being a major backer of the Interborough Rapid Transit (IRT), New York City’s original underground subway. The IRT addressed the linking of open space from Central Park to Van Cortlandt Park. Extending the idea of Transmit-Transit beyond cabs, we wanted to look at bikes as another viable option to address mobility in the Bronx.

One of the great things about Boogie Down Rides is how it brings together many activities that people may not normally associate but which all contribute to healthy places. Your tagline, for example, is Bicycling is Art. Can you explain how biking, public art, and urban spaces are linked in your project?

Elizabeth: Instead of representing reality as a painting, we live it on a bike. The bike embodied action for this issue of transportation in the Bronx, where biking is a social act and a political act. Instead of designing a solution to a problem, we tried to figure out the questions that exist in real life through the experience of biking. We both live in the Bronx. It’s part of our day-to-day reality, and because we’re artists, we have a compulsion to make what we see public. We often talk to people about the role that artists play as citizens and neighbors in our communities. We hope our work as artists can help make our neighborhoods more safe, lively, and liveable in many ways.

The project also involved community visioning sessions for the Bronx’s longer-term development. What came out of these sessions?

Elizabeth: The visioning sessions were really spearheaded by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which was just launching an interactive toolkit to gather data and address threats to active transportation and public space. They were key in leading some of the concrete visioning work happening around the Sheridan Expressway, where dangerous connections make it unsafe to bike between the parks. Rather than focusing on cause and effect, the visioning sessions were about figuring out opportunities for improvement. Safety—specifically, feeling safe in public—was an ongoing theme in the conversations we had with our neighbors.

Throughout your various interactions with the public, did you come across questions or reactions that particularly surprised you?

Elizabeth: One of the most surprising things that we learned from Boogie Down Rides was the number of adults—particularly women—who had never learned how to ride a bike, and who were very excited to find out about opportunities for biking in the Bronx. In the instance of another project, Mind the Gap/La Brecha, we talked a lot with folks in our neighborhood about their ideas for the waterfront. One of the critical components to the waterfront that came up over and over again was the basic need for clean public restrooms!

Collaboration seems integral to your work. What other community partners were vested inBoogie Down Rides?

Hatuey: Conversations and collaborations were important from the start; we worked with Transportation AlternativesDepartment of Health and Mental HygieneBronx River AllianceBike the BronxBronx Health REACHPartnership for ParksVelo City

Elizabeth: We also had a meeting with City Planning and the Mayor’s Office where we were able to show our recommendations. It was perhaps an unusual case in that the Mayor’s Office and City Planning came to us. Our collaborations really grew organically, and our project was timely in terms of how they related to conversations already happening in New York about biking, complete streets, and the South Bronx Greenway Plan.

And did people express any misconceptions that you were able to address through these collaborations?

Elizabeth: I think that artists working in public the way that we do are often confused with non-profit or other community-based organizations. We often talk to people about the role that artists play as citizens and neighbors in our communities—and the ways that we hope that our work can help make our neighborhoods more safe, lively, and liveable.

Any advice you would give to communities who are trying to build healthier places?

Elizabeth: You have to remember the factor of critical mass. If you notice a problem, someone else probably has too, so it becomes about working together in a long-term way.

Hatuey: It’s realizing there are already resources within the community, and that becomes the main point of departure. You don’t want to reinvent the wheel. You want to create space to bring stakeholders together.

Elizabeth: Also humility and willingness to listen and genuinely collaborate—those are really important, in regard to attitude. There’s a lot of work that goes into working together.

Hatuey: Listening is the biggest thing, listening with a big ear.

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 IAM.com. 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: www.artinoddplaces.org



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.


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.

How Do Supermarkets Decide Where to Open?

A funky, fresh look at how supermarkets work in urban neighborhoods

By CUP for Gilt Taste

Last year, we shared a fantastic video made by high school students on the food in convenience stores in their Bronx neighborhoods. Rather than take the tsk-tsk approach of many who write about the “food deserts” where low-income people can’t find fresh, healthy produce, it was a balanced, smart, and fun look at the issue, one that saw the store owners as their neighbors.

In that same spirit, we’re happy to share a peek at Funky Fresh another project by another group of students. Both of these projects (and many more!) were produced in collaboration with CUP, a nonprofit organization that uses design and art to improve public participation in shaping the places where we all live. Check them out. – Ed.

Who decides where supermarkets go? Are there enough supermarkets in the Bronx? Why does it matter? For Funky Fresha group of public high school students worked with teaching artist Hatuey Ramos-Fermín, to took a look at who gets supermarkets, who doesn’t, and why.

To find answers, the students got out of the classroom and into the frozen food aisles. They visited grocery stores across the boroughs, the Fresh Direct distribution site planned for the Bronx, and the real estate department of a major supermarket. For the story on how supermarkets choose sites, they interviewed the CEO of Western Beef supermarkets; a supermarket site analyst; the Department of City Planning; a Bronx Community Board member; organizers; and public health experts.

Afterwards, the group designed a booklet to teach others what’s funky and what’s fresh about Bronx supermarket access. Here are a few pages of their work. For the rest, check it out here.

Bienal de Arte en el Bronx

Por: EFE para Telemundo

Más de 75 artistas participan en la Tercera Bienal de Arte Latinoamericano en El Bronx, que se realiza bajo el tema de “correlación ilusoria” en un evento cultural que busca establecer el arte como lenguaje común en este condado.

“La mayoría de los países latinoamericanos están representados” en las cinco sedes de la bienal en El Bronx y una galería en el condado de Manhattan, dijo a Efe el comisario y cofundador de la muestra, el artista puertorriqueño Luis Stephenberg.

Los artistas de la muestra, que se extenderá hasta el 30 de noviembre, provienen de diversos estados del país, así como de países de Latinoamérica, el Caribe y Europa, explicó Stephenberg.

El comisario destacó que entre los artistas hay creadores de la talla de los puertorriqueños Diógenes Ballester y Carlos Fajardo, el ecuatoriano Amaru Chiza, el dominicano Hatuey Ramos, la peruana Carolina Bazo y el español Jesús Algovi.

La bienal de arte latinoamericano se realiza como parte del Festival Hispano de El Bronx, que cada año festeja el mes de la Herencia Hispana.

Stephenberg dijo que esta bienal aspira a contribuir en el trabajo cultural de la misma forma que las bienales de Sao Paulo (Brasil), La Habana, Cuenca (Ecuador), la trienal poligráfica de San Juan o la trienal del Caribe de República Dominicana.

“En sicología, la correlación ilusoria es la percepción de algo que aparentemente es pero no es. La discriminación está basada en la correlación ilusoria, se llega a una conclusión de algo que no se ha estudiado”, explicó el comisario, que agregó que los estereotipos también están incluidos en este concepto.

De acuerdo con Stephenberg, esta bienal, que en su primera edición de 2008 exploró el tema de los recuerdos y la historia y en 2010 el tema de la inmigración, contribuye a cambiar “la imagen negativa que muchos tienen aún de El Bronx”, agregó.

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.

2 BX artists bring ‘Mind the Gap’ project to Mott Haven

2 BX artists bring ‘Mind the Gap’ project to Mott Haven by Bornx News 12

MOTT HAVEN – Two Bronx residents have launched a project in an attempt to bridge the gap between the waterfront and Mott Haven. ‘Mind the Gap’ is part of The Laundromat Project, which brings artists to neighborhood Laundromats to document what locals think about the waterfront and how to improve access to it. The participants hope the project helps residents appreciate the area’s natural resources. ‘Mind the Gap’ will be stationed at the Blue and White Laundromat on East 140th Street through September.

Mott Haven artists transform laundromat into interactive art site

By Patrick Wall for DNAinfo

MOTT HAVEN — With its rumbling dryers and stinging smell of detergent, the Blue and White Laundromat on East 140th Street is a fine place to wash clothes, but an odd one to dream about a river.

But that is what two Mott Haven artists are asking patrons to do as they conduct interviews outside the laundromat and invite passersby to fiddle with a whimsical model of the South Bronx waterfront, where popsicle sticks stand in for bridges and blue tape signifies water.

“Feel free to touch things and put things here,” said artist Hatuey Ramos-Fermín as locals approached the tabletop river. “Make your own little place along the water.”

Through the model, the recorded interviews, maps, photographs and riverside walks, Ramos-Fermín and his creative partner, Elizabeth Hamby, want to draw their neighbors’ attention to the South Bronx waterfront, which sits just a mile south but often feels a world away.

“There is a disconnect between people’s everyday experience here and the waterfront,” said Ramos-Fermín, noting that many locals travel some nine miles northeast to Orchard Beach or walk along the Manhattan bank of the Harlem River to spend time near the water. The piece, which will culminate with a public presentation in October, was commissioned by The Laundromat Project, a citywide nonprofit whose residency program gives artists $4,000 to launch interactive art projects inside laundromats in the neighborhoods where they live. Other artists have converted sections of laundromats into yoga studios, reading rooms and English language classrooms for immigrants — all with the blessing of the storeowners, who are not paid by the artists or the nonprofit.

The Mott Haven pair hopes their piece, called “Mind the Gap/La Brecha,” can connect residents with the ongoing efforts of local activists, city officials and urban planners from as far away as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge to convert stretches of Bronx waterfront from their old industrial uses into public spaces. “A lot of plans already exist,” said Hamby, including ones for new riverside parks, pathways and a long-delayed footbridge to Randall’s Island. But, she added, there is a need to carry “that conversation out of those meetings and onto the ground.” Riverfront access gained new attention this year when some Bronx residents loudly opposed FreshDirect’s plan to build a new 500,000-square-foot facility in the Harlem River Yards in Port Morris.

But when the art project began this month at the laundromat on East 140th St., talk of the water was far less contentious and much more personal. After shoving her clothes into a dryer, an elderly woman told the artists that she loves dipping her feet in the water. A man passing on the sidewalk pulled out his cell phone to share a picture of his favorite beach in Puerto Rico. Alex Alonzo, 9, played with the river model until he had designed his dream waterfront, with pipe connectors as telescopes, a plastic badge as a police station and a pack of pink wafers as a cookie factory. Alex’s older brother, Alberto Alonzo, stopped folding clothes for a moment to imagine fishing and picnicking by the river. “You sit by the water and feel the breeze and you feel relaxed,” Alberto Alonzo, 25, said. “You forget about the city.” When the artists asked their neighbors about their visions for a reclaimed South Bronx waterfront, they mentioned shade, bright colors, swimmable water, security and, of course, restrooms. “What this exercise reveals is that everybody has feelings about water,” said Hamby, while some young children pushed plastic fish through the blue-tape river. “It’s elemental.”

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.


Art show at Bronx Museum curated by local teens features artworks also by area teens

By Tanyanika Samuels / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

When “The Other I” art exhibit opens Thursday at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, it will be a triumph not only for the artists but also for the curators.

The exhibition, inspired by the theme of alter ego, was curated by the museum’s Teen Council–13 high school students who work with two staffers to produce media projects on issues affecting youth.

“The idea is to give teens a forum to express themselves,” said museum educator Hatuey Ramos Fermín.

After choosing the theme, the Teen Council put out an open call for teen artists citywide and received about 100 submissions.

“It’s a great opportunity for (young artists) to show at a museum at such a young age,” said Hannie Chia, the museum’s programs manager.

Teen Council members narrowed the selection to 24 drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures. Earlier this week, they worked to install the pieces.

Among them, is an untitled painting by artist Mohammed Hossain that shows a man emerging from a pyramid and reaching for an apple. It’s one of teen curator Kwadwo Asamoah’s favorites.

“The apple symbolizes truth but the the man is being held back by his foundation. That’s what I see,” said Asamoah, 17, of Concourse. “I think this picture is so important because I feel that a lot of people today aspire to become things that they want to be, but they’re being held back.”

Another piece, “Not Everyone Can See It” by Yrma Batista, is an intricate drawing with the words “Everything has beauty but not everyone can see it” hidden within the swirling pattern of lines.

“We felt like this picture summarizes alter ego, that everyone has a beautiful side but it’s not always brought to the surface,” said curator Eric Avila, 17, of Harlem.

Putting together the art show proved quite the learning experience.

“It definitely broadened my view of art,” Avila said. “I’m a photorealist artist. But with this gallery show, I tried to look for the deeper meaning in the pieces.”

The experience brought life lessons as well.

“We learned to work together,” said Asamoah. “Sometimes it was very difficult to get your voice heard but we got past that. And that’s how we were successful.”

“The Other I” will be on exhibit until July 8 at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1040 Grand Concourse. For more information, visit bronxmuseum.org.

[email protected]

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/bronx/art-show-bronx-museum-curated-local-teens-features-artworks-area-teens-article-1.1094887#ixzz1xlSXirZm




This Side of a Postmodern Paradise: No Longer Empty in the Andrew Freedman Home


The two-month run of This Side of Paradise, the much celebrated exhibit by No Longer Empty, is quickly coming to a close. Last minute viewers have until June 5th to see the works of 34 artists occupying the Andrew Freedman Home (1125 Grand Concourse) before it closes this Tuesday.

Since the opening on April 4th, the exhibit has received over 2500 visitors and significant press attention, making it by far the most successful show for the nascent arts organization No Longer Empty. Founded in the heart of the recession by the prominent curator Manon Slome, No Longer Empty transforms the vacant storefronts littering NYC into temporary art exhibits. Slome, former curator of the Guggenheim, stresses that No Longer Empty’s unique vision does not produce ‘pop-up’ shows; their mission is rather to dissolve the barriers between public and private art through curated, site-specific exhibits which are truly inspired by the empty spaces they occupy. In this way the group also revitalizes forlorn streetscapes; a key part of No Longer Empty’s mission is to provide neighborhood benefits by fostering activity in and around their show spaces.

This Side of Paradise, however, differs from most of No Longer Empty’s previous exhibits as it utilizes a historic site rather than a commercial space. Looming over the 167th street B / D stop, the Andrew Freedmen Home opened in 1924 as a retirement home for former millionaires to live their last days in the manner in which they had become accustomed. Freedman, who died in 1915, used his eponymous project as an extension of his interests in life. He was known as a great connector and developer critical in the growth of New York around the turn of the 20th century. Freedman was a member of the controversial Tammany Hall development machine and a key financier of the original IRT subway line. His substantial wealth funded the Home’s operations until the endowment dwindled in the early 1980s, making the living conditions for later residents considerably less luxurious than Freedman originally intended.

Justen Ladda, German-born artist featured in This Side of Paradise, first noticed the Andrew Freedman Home in this period of decline. Ladda began exploring the South Bronx in 1970s for spaces for his installation pieces. “Coming from Europe,” Ladda said, “I can only compare the state of the South Bronx in the 1970s to Pompeii. Whole streets were abandoned and vacant, like some European cities after World War II. I noticed the Andrew Freedman home then- it was already derelict. The place was dimly lit, and you could tell that the residents were heavily sedated. I was able to enter the grounds and building and look around with no questions asked.” Ladda’s piece, “like money like water” (2012) acknowledges the tension between wealth, death and relationships. “My piece is about pissing money,” said Ladda, “how dead these people are who are constantly buying stuff to fill the content of their lives. It does things on a personal level, and also on a wider societal level, this influences our interpersonal relationships.”


Ladda’s piece transforms depending on the stance of the viewer. Similarly, the Andrew Freedman Home transforms depending upon the time and space in which the Home is seen. Naomi Hersson-Ringskog, the Executive Director of No Longer Empty, describes her first engagement with the Andrew Freedman Home much differently than Ladda: “My first impression of the home is the amazement that you don’t recognize it exists. It occupies an entire block and you don’t really notice it. The fence around the grounds still gives off its original air of exclusion; it remains a gated space.” Artist Frederico Uribe’s installation “The Fence” (2012) installed on the exterior gate, softens the Home’s disconnection from the Grand Concourse promenade. Similarly, show’s opening drew over 2,400 people thanks in part to the large blue flag flying in the front lawn with a simple word and message: “free.” According to Hersson-Ringskog, the show receives around 60 visitors each day, a record breaking average for a No Longer Empty show.

While the Mid-Bronx Senior Citizens Council currently owns the property, it is no longer used as a retirement community. The Home is in a period of transition; the Council is renovating separate sections of the large building into a bed and breakfast and community arts and education center. This Side of Paradise acts as a bridge between the old and new uses for the space- the exhibit explores the Home’s captivating past and burgeoning future. Hersson-Ringskog describes the show as a celebration of “human ingenuity, the strength of the human spirit and the resilience needed to fashion beauty, hope and rejoicing.”


According to Hersson-Ringskog, Slome conducted over 60 studio visits to Bronx-based artists to ensure the show featured a cadre of local artists. Their pieces explore the different facets of the Home’s past, present and future. For example, Elizabeth Hamby and Hatuey Ramos-Fermin’s piece “IRT” (2012) indirectly alludes to Freedman’s impact on NYC’s subways while explicitly illustrating how Livery cabs fill in public transit service gaps in the Bronx. Bronx-based couple Hamby and Ramos-Fermin also collaborated with many existing community groups in the neighborhood to create Boogie Down Rides, a temporary bike shop near the Home. The shop was open throughout May and served the area with bike rentals and repairs. Boogie Down Rides also served as an outpost for residents to learn about the development of bike paths and greenways in the Bronx, as well as the new city-wide bike share. Hamby describes the couple’s work as a means of “bringing about meaningful change in the world. As citizens, neighbors and resident of this area, a better network of active transportation is something that {Ramos-Fermin and I} really want to see. It’s something that our neighbors value as well. Something that has a life beyond just a gallery.”

Boogie Down Rides is an extension of No Longer Empty’s Urban Initiative. An urban planner by training, Hersson-Ringskog described the Initiative as following the same site-specific model inspiring the exhibits: “We noticed that transportation was the issue in the Bronx, and so we formed our partnerships around this issue.” She continued to describe how “ No Longer Empty thrives on hybridity. We like the mixing of things- urban planning with professional art. We wanted to put the Andrew Freedman Home on people’s radars and foster visitors for its future programming.”

This Side of Paradise is open until June 5th.
1125 Grand Concourse
Thursday – Sunday
1 – 7 PM

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,