Kicking off the festival on June 1, 4-9:30 PM is the opening reception for exhibition Las Tres Hermanas: Art & Activism on view June 1-September 6, 2017 in two locations, Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education and Bronx Music Heritage Center (BMHC).At 6pm,Afro Puerto Rican music and dance group BombaYo unites the two exhibitions by leading a mobile performance of song, drum and dance from Casita Maria to BMHC. Theexhibitions pay tribute to the sisters, Evelina Antonetty, Elba Cabrera and Lillian Lopez, who settled in the Bronx from Puerto Rico, where they became activists for the community and the arts.
At Casita Maria, writer Nancy Mercado, art director and graphic designer Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez, and illustrator Sabrina Cintron were commissioned to produce a coloring book, available for free, based on the lives of Las Tres Hermanas. The pages of the coloring book will be printed large scale and hung on the gallery walls for attendees to color in during the run of the exhibition. The exhibit at the BMHC will focus on how the arts were a tool for social justice and feature archival images from the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, as well as the personal collections of the sisters and members of their family. The exhibit will also include artwork created by artists who have worked closely with the three sisters over the years.
Together, the exhibitions illustrate how Evelina López Antonetty the oldest sister was an activist and champion for social causes, Lillian López the middle sister was among the first Puerto Rican librarians in the New York Public Library system and was the first Puerto Rican Administrator and Elba Cabrera the youngest of the three sisters established herself as an ambassador and advocate for the arts. Opening the same night in Casita Maria’s Youth and Community gallery is ARTiculation featuring a social justice focused “Zine” self-published by Casita Maria NDA High School students.
Additional Festival programming includes visual art, dance, music, theater, spoken word, artist-led and community-based group projects. Highlights include The D.O.M.E Experience “Age of Unity” on June 2, 8 PM, a program that promotes social and environmental awareness through music, dance and visual media. Also on June 2 and 9, It’s Showtime NYC!, a program of Dancing in the Streets that celebrates and promotes NYC street culture, providing performance and professional development opportunities to street and subway dancers, whose unique NYC art form—“Lite Feet”—mixes acrobatics, hat tricks, and Breakdance elements.
Come watch the mural kings, Tats Cru, paint the façade of Casita Maria with empowering imagery of Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez’s La Borinqueña, the first Puerto Rican female super hero June 5-6 and on the 7th at 5:30 PM Miranda-Rodriguez will be in front of Casita Maria for a comic book signing.
On June 8, 6pm Arturo O’Farrill’s BLITZ, a Bronx-based latin jazz ensemble and form of “guerrilla jazz”, will collaborate with Garifuna musicians Libaña Maraza, Cultural Ambassador of the Bronx Baron Ambrosia, Double Dutch Team The South Bronx Starlights and Casita Maria’s Middle School Step Dance Team Limitless. June 9 pairs the ambassadors of Mariachi, Mariachi Real De Mexico, with Music With A Message, 15 performers ages 6-21 who write, produce and perform original songs changing communities one song at a time. Morning Glory Garden will host Mobile Print Power on June 10, 4:30-6:30 PM as they explore community generated ideas for a just society, while printing designs based on the theme, Rooted in Liberation andPolice Reform Organizing Project lead a community discussion. Rounding out the evening at 7 PM, the Bronx Music Heritage Center presents Bronx Rising: One Island, Two Houses a series that looks into the rich and complicated history of the island of Hispaniola - today shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The night begins with a screening of Birthright Crisis, the 2013 award-winning documentary about the plight of Haitians in the DR, followed by a Q&A with director Miriam Neptune followed by live Dominican roots music with jazz, blues, funk, and rock music by Yasser Tejeda & Palotré.
Closing out the festival on June 11, and in partnership with Lincoln Center’s Boro-Linc, is a free workshop with Jadele McPherson at Casita Maria and a live performance by Spirit Ensemble in Msrg Del Valle Square featuring the enchanting sounds of of the mbira, kora, bala, steel pan and bamboo flute.
All events are open to the public and suitable for all ages.
See Festival schedule for full listing of events.