A GRAND RE-OPENING FOR THE CLEMENTE
After eighteen years covered by scaffolding, Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center will celebrate its grand re-opening November 16th - November 18th, 2012. The City of New York has already invested millions of dollars in this century-old building, and has completed the structural renovations needed to create a safe, accessible, public space. With 11 cultural organizations and over 40 visual artists in residence, the Clemente is now turning its energy from renovation to multi-arts programming, and is poised to reach its potential as a great cultural destination on the Lower East Side. With your support, the not-for-profit organization that runs the new Clemente will take the baton from the City, and will complete the final exterior details, hang signage and banners, and outfit the common spaces - including several galleries and theaters - for public and creative use. Your donation will help create the spaces where musicians, dancers, photographers, painters, writers, and arts administrators of multiple cultures will encounter the public and one another. This is an architectural treasure that has been hidden for almost a generation and it belongs to you! Your donation will also support the celebrations of the grand re-opening with four days of parties, lectures, tours, music and dancing. Please come and meet the many artists and educators who call The Clemente home.
The signs and banners have been designed by Studio Kudos as a result of selection by the prestigious DesigNYC competition and are the last finishing touch on the building that will announce the return of the Clemente from its long renovation.
The re-opening celebration will take place over four days opening November 16 with a gala party attended by local elected officials, resident artists and members of the community. In addition we will be hosting our annual Borimix celebration of Puerto Rican culture and Building Guai (Spanish for "Cool")/Wide, our open studios celebration. The festivities will continue over the next four days beginning Thursday November 16th with building tours, theater and dance performances, and exhibitions.
ABOUT THE BUILDING
Clemente Soto Vélez is located in the former Public School PS. 160, a historic building completed in 1898 and designed by C.B.J. Snyder, an important American architect and engineer. It has served the Lower East Side community for over one hundred years. After the school closed in the 1970's it was reborn as a cultural and educational center named after the respected Puerto Rican poet and activist Clemente Soto Vélez to nurture and develop Puerto Rican and Latino Culture and support artists of all cultures and backgrounds in New York City. The building has just completed an extensive long term exterior renovation and with the removal of the scaffolding has reaffirmed its place as one of the most beautiful architectural treasures of the Lower East Side.
ABOUT THE CENTER
The Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center is a vibrant center of the arts and culture located in the heart of the Lower East Side. It was founded as a not-for-profit organization in 1993 and hosts four theaters, three galleries, three rehearsal spaces, and forty-three artist studios. It is currently home to many individual artists, cultural institutions, and educational organizations including Artists Alliance, HOLA
(Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors), FELT (Fantastic Experimental Latino
Theatre), La Tea (Latin American Theatre Experiment), Mark DeGarmo & Dancers,
Afro Brazil Arts, Afro Asian Inc., Arts for Art (Vision Festival), Feraba –
African Rhythm and Tap, and the Society for the Educational Arts (Bi-Lingual Spanish English Children’s Theater). In addition, the center has been a major hub for local performing arts organizations including the undergroundzero festival, the New York International Fringe Festival and many other independent artists and companies.
Risks and challenges
The most challenging phases of this massive construction project are behind us. Because this represents the final stage, the risks are that the various tasks associated with re-opening will be delayed, rather than that they will not be completed. After many years of managing the permitting and construction process for various building systems, Executive Director Jan Hanvik and his staff are more than qualified to oversee the cosmetic and interior projects, which are subject to less regulation. The debut of the renovated space will take place during the second week of November, and we will celebrate both the work done to date and work that is ongoing. The organization has produced the Borimix celebration for 6 years, and Open Studios for even longer, so we are well-versed in hosting wide ranging cultural events.
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