New York City Awards $3 Million for Latino and Puerto Rican Theater
The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs announced on Friday that the city has awarded $ 3 million at Pregones / Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, which defends the Puerto Rican and the Latino artists and produces original bilingual plays and musicals.
The new funding, provided by the Mayor, City Council and President of the Borough of the Bronx, is in addition to some $ 7 million from the Department of Cultural Affairs already spent on the theater company over the past eight years, bringing the total to $ 10.2 million. The funds will be used to build a new cultural and administrative headquarters in the South Bronx.
“Arts and culture will be at the heart of this city’s recovery,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. “And this theater will give the youth of the Bronxites more opportunities than ever to build a more inclusive cultural future for our city.”
An addition to one of the company’s existing theaters, on Walton Avenue between 149th and 150th Streets, will serve as the organization’s headquarters. (The theater also has a space in Midtown and shows will continue to be produced in both locations.) The expanded space will allow for more education and other programming, said Rosalba Rolón, founding artistic director of Pregones / Puerto. Rican Traveling Theater.
“I cannot tell you the enthusiasm of our neighbors,” Rolón said in an interview on Friday. “This is the kind of service that artists in the Bronx need. The community could also use the space in other ways, for town halls and community meetings. “
Much of the building, in the Mott Haven neighborhood, will also be used for pre-professional training for performing artists, she said.
The project, which is the organization’s first major project since opening its theater in the Bronx in 2005, had been in the works for eight years. The $ 3 million in aid to the new city added as part of the FY2022 budget got the project across its finish line. It does not yet have a target opening date.
The Pregones / Puerto Rican Traveling Theater was established in 2014 by the merger of the Pregones Theater in the Bronx and the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater in Manhattan. The Pregones was founded in 1979 by a group of artists led by Rolón to create new works in the style of “colectivos” or Caribbean and Latin American performing groups. The Puerto Rican Traveling Theater was founded in 1967 as one of the first bilingual theater companies in the United States.
For a theater that has nurtured the development of Latino artists and has long invested in community engagement in Mott Haven, the new home is an exciting next step.
“It is significant that we are coming to full funding at exactly the same time as New Yorkers are taking bold steps to recover from the pandemic, and when persistent inequalities in funding for the arts are an ongoing conversation,” Arnaldo J López, the organization’s chief executive, said in a statement.
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