Art world’s creative remembrance set to honor Holly Block

Art world’s creative remembrance set to honor Holly Block
File Photo

A local arts leader will be honored at a creative memorial ceremony.

The Bronx Museum of the Arts’ Board of Trustees, Community Advisory Council and staff welcomes everyone to attend the ‘Holly Block Open House: A Community Memorial Celebration of her Life and Legacy’ on Saturday, February 3 from 2 to 6 p.m. at 1040 Grand Concourse.

The imaginative event will feature testimonies and presentations by local artists and community leaders; gallery tours and performances by Arturo O’Farrill, Valerie Capers, Movement of the People Dance Company, Nicky Enright/DJ Lightbolt and Son Pecadores in honor of the museum’s late executive director.

The event commemorates Block’s memory, her many friendships and extraordinary lifetime achievements.

Confirmed speakers include Bronx Museum of the Arts Community Advisory Council, the Bronx Arts Alliance, Ana ‘Rokafella’ Garcia and Gabriel ‘Kwikstep’ Dionisio.

Guests are encouraged to wear orange and gray to honor Block’s museum role.

“I remember Holly best for her dynamic energy and her smile. She was always doing 15 jobs while everyone else was doing one,” expressed Linda Cunningham, Bronx Museum Community Advisory Council member and BronxArtSpace co-founder. “Her hard work and dedication helped put the Bronx Museum on the international map.”

Prior to Block’s appointment her leadership position in July 2006, the Bennington College alumna served as the Bronx Museum’s curator from 1985 to 1988.

From 1988 to 2006, Block served as Art in General’s executive director and hosted exhibitions dealing with poignant political issues.

Under her direction, the Bronx Museum’s annual attendance quadrupled after it introduced free admission in 2012.

The policy change was instituted to support the museum’s mission to make arts experiences accessible to everyone.

The Department of State appointed Block co-commissioner for the 2003 Cairo Biennale and the 2013 Venice Biennale.

In 2013, the Department of State selected the Bronx Museum for the American Pavilion at the 55th annual Venice Biennale.

The Bronx Museum hosted an exhibition of Sarah Sze’s work co-curated by Block and Carey Lovelace for the international art extravaganza.

Block wrote the book, ‘Art in Cuba: The New Generation’ which explored Cuba’s contemporary art scene and showcased works created by Cuban artists.

Reflecting her passion for Cuban art, Block organized several exhibitions at the Bronx Museum including ‘Revolution Not Televised (2012),’ ‘Cuba Libre! Works from the Shelley and Donald Rubin Private Collection (2015)’ and ‘Wild Noise/Rudio Salvaje (2017).’

In May 2016, she established a $25 million capital project funding the Bronx Museum’s renovation and expansion which includes additional galleries and spaces for educational and public programs.

Its first phase received $7 million from Mayor de Blasio’s office; the City Council and Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.’s office. It will be completed by 2020.

Block passed away on Saturday, October 7, 2017 at 58-years-old following a lengthy battle with cancer.

“Holly was a major force for the art community and for art in the Bronx,” said Cunningham.

For more information, contact the Bronx Museum at (718) 681-6000 or