The storied Upper West Side cultural center, El Taller Latino Americano, is partnering with El Barrio’s Artspace PS109. Artspace is nation’s the leading developer of affordable space for artists, small businesses, and community- based arts organizations. The partnership is a community-driven project aimed at transforming an abandoned public school building into a vibrant and thriving live, work, create space that features 89 affordable live/work units for artists and their families, while providing El Taller with a long-term home to continue beyond 2014.
Opening its new home in January of 2015, El Taller will continue a 35-year tradition as it moves from the UWS to El Barrio, utilizing Spanish of the Americas to teach Spanish to adults and children through culture, music, art, and community. Working alongside Artspace staff in the construction phase, the new location at 215 East 99 Street, will have classrooms, a performance/workshop space, and the Grady Alexis Gallery that support current programming, as well as access to an outdoor programming area, a 120-capacity theatre and improved recording capabilities that will enhance organizational capacity.
Facing eviction from the current location due to an unsustainable lease increase of $10k per month, El Taller’s partnership with Artspace and El Barrio’s Operation Fightback provides a long-term solution when the organization’s lease ends in October of 2014. With a mission to create, foster, and preserve affordable space for artists and arts organizations, Artspace is aware of the challenges facing artists and arts organizations wishing to create a vibrant community through creativity while simultaneously battling the rising cost of property in New York City.
“New York City is a vibrant epicenter of art and culture, and we must always be on the lookout for collaborations that foster creative expression in our communities,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “The rich cultural fabric of El Barrio makes it a great home for El Taller, whose work with local arts organizations, businesses, and artists raises vital awareness and appreciation of Latin American culture throughout New York City. We welcome El Taller to El Barrio's Artspace PS109, the first project of its kind in New York City, which will provide affordable live-work space for artists in our community.”
Before leaving its current space, El Taller’s programming continues with the sounds and sights of the people who have sustained it in honor of the organization’s 35th anniversary. The 35 Years Taller Series, a series of 35 nights of music, art and social events with various artists from New York and Latin America, including Hudson Valley
Sally, Perry Robinson, Karl Berger and Ingrid Sertso, Argentinian musician León Gieco, Dave Soldier, among others.
El Taller’s Bernardo Palombo sees the move as an “opportunity to continue to create” and will use November and December to program and plan large-scale events with musicians and artists to open the new space in El Barrio. Palombo adds, “We decided from the very beginning that music and art shouldn’t be the business because then it’s not music and art. Anyone who wants to come and share creativity and dialogue is welcome, wherever we exist.”
El Taller will continue this 35-year tradition of creativity and dialogue in its new El Barrio home.