Places that Matter
Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center
Place Matters Profile
Built in the 1880s as P.S. 72 (the first full-block school building in the city), this building was recently renovated to provide studios and performing space for Latino artists. Named in honor of the Puerto Rican teacher, journalist and poet who died in East Harlem, the Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center is home to El Taller Boricua (the Puerto Rican Workshop), the Heritage School and Los Pleneros de la 21. The building features offices and exhibition galleries, a 150-seat auditorium used for music, dance and experimental theater performance, and a home-base for the workshop's computer graphics, digital filmmaking and other arts training programs.
The creation of the Center at P.S. 72 was spearheaded by the artists of El Taller Boricua. In 1969, in a period of intense political upheaval across the country, a group of Puerto Rican artists joined forces to address the social and economic ills afflicting El Barrio--and El Taller Boricua was born. (Many of its founding members were also involved in the creation of El Museo del Barrio at the same time.) Grounded in a spirit of activism that flourishes to this day, the workshop used the arts to resuscitate the community, acting as curator, educator, cultural historian and real estate developer to promote and nurture Puerto Rican art and culture. For 30 years, the workshop has been an advocate for local artists-- providing work and gallery space, curating exhibits and performances, and conducting in-school arts education programs. The Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center is the centerpiece of the Workshop's "Cultural Corridor"--featuring artist studios and live-work spaces on Lexington Avenue and on East 106th Street.
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