Bomba dancing last year at a block party in Port Morris
Bomba dancing last year at a block party in Port Morris

When you split $130,000 among 6 cultural institutions, it may not sound like much, but every bit helps as funding, grants, and charitable donations become tougher to come by each year.

Thanks to The National Endowment For The Arts, six local Bronx institutions will be able to either continue or provide additional programming.

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With so many school children— particularly those living in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods of The Bronx—disproportionately cut off from arts programs in schools, these institutions provide a vital outlet to both our youth and their families to experience the benefits of such programming.

A study conducted by the National Endowment For The Arts indicated that at-risk youth who are engaged in arts education show a potential benefit with, “…better academic outcomes, higher career goals, and are more civically engaged.”

The study also reported:

“At-risk students who have access to the arts in or out of school also tend to have better academic results, better workforce opportunities, and more civic engagement, according to a new NEA report, The Arts and Achievement in At-Risk Youth: Findings from Four Longitudinal Studies. The study reports these and other positive outcomes associated with high levels of arts exposure for youth of low socioeconomic status.” (Read a more detailed breakdown on the findings of how arts education benefit our at-risk youths.)

The $130,000 in funding will be distributed as follows as per Congressman Serrano’s press release:

Bronx Council on the Arts, Inc. –    $25,000

To support a professional development series of workshops.

The project will elevate the quality of submissions by Bronx artists for fellowships and grants and contribute to the health of arts and culture in the Bronx in general. Additionally, the series will connect artists with professionals in their fields who will provide specific advice and technical assistance about how to succeed in their disciplines. The eight-part series comprising free presentations will be geared to reaching the filmmaking, literary, theater, visual arts, and performance communities, as well as small businesses.

Bronx Documentary Center Inc      – $15,000        

To support a documentary photography exhibition series and related public programming.

The series will present works by photographers, filmmakers, and photojournalists who deal with the themes of justice, education, and social change. Selected photographers may include Hiram Maristany, Kadir Van Louhizen, and Eugene Richards. Film screenings, artist presentations, and panel talks will be offered to stimulate debate and discussion. A specific curriculum will be developed to address critical thinking skills related to documentary photography. Exhibition tours will be offered to local middle schools, high schools, and community groups.

Dancing in the Street, Inc. –  $20,000

To support Dancing through the Bronx, a festival of free performances that will engage diverse neighborhoods in the Bronx.

The festival will take place at Wave Hill, Hayden Lord Park, Owen Dolen Park, and Roberto Clemente Plaza. The program will feature “Bolero Bronx,” a site adaptive version of Larry Keigwin’s Bolero project, featuring Keigwin + Company dancers and community members. Other project components will include Latin dance with live music, site-specific dances, and a culminating salsa dance party. Artists under consideration for the Latin dance component include Frank Muhel, Eddie Torres, Jr., and Danza Fiesta. Choreographers under consideration to create site-specific dances include Reggie Wilson, Wally Cardona, Nora Chipaumire, and Paloma McGregor. Emerging or mid-career choreographers will be commissioned for as many as five site-specific performances that will take place during continuous loops in the gardens of Wave Hill.

Eugenio Maria de Hostos Community College Foundation  – $30,000    

To support BomPlenazo, Ninth Biennial of Afro-Puerto Rican Culture.

The festival will include a series of concerts featuring dancers and musicians from New York City and Puerto Rico. The event also will feature workshops for percussion, singing, dance, and a special workshop for children. Also planned are a series of lectures, demonstrations, and films exploring the evolution of “bomba” and “plena,” percussion-driven musical traditions from Puerto Rico, NEA Heritage Fellow Juan Gutierrez will participate as both a performer and lecturer.

Pregones Touring Puerto Rican Theatre Collection, Inc. – $30,000                    

To support a production of “The Bolero Was My Downfall,” an English-language translation of an original ensemble play with music.

Originally produced in Spanish and adapted from a story by Puerto Rican author Manuel Ramos Otero, the work tells the story of an aging transvestite and convicted murderer serving out the last days of a prison sentence.

Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation  – $10,000

To support the Bronx Music Heritage Center’s Living Legends Performance Series.

Concerts at venues in the Bronx, such as The Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture, will honor and celebrate master Bronx musicians for outstanding contributions to their artistic field and community as artists, educators, activists and advocates. Each concert will include an onstage interview and a musical performance, which will either feature or be curated by the respective honoree. Previous honorees include DJ Kool Herc, jazz pianist Bertha Hope, and Latin jazz bassist Andy Gonzalez.

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