The Bronx Council on the Arts opened its new headquarters in Westchester Square with a ceremony that should help the arts become an even bigger part of the community’s renaissance.The former Washington Mutual bank branch opened as the BCA’s new headquarters on Monday, April 4 after J.P. Morgan Chase donated the building at 2700 E. Tremont Avenue, valued at $850,000, to the organization.
The 5,200 square foot building is nearly double the size of the organization’s current headquarters on Hone Avenue, and is situated in the heart of the Square, where it will serve as an art center.
Joined by Mayor Bloomberg, Chase retail banking CEO Charlie Scharf, Congressman Joseph Crowley and Councilman Jimmy Vacca who both worked together to help make the deal possible, BCA executive director Deirdre Scott and longtime director Bill Aguado opened the new headquarters.
“For 50 years, the Bronx Council on the Arts has supported NYC’s Arts Community with its wide-ranging programs,” Bloomberg said. “Thanks to the philanthropic leadership of Chase, and the incredible focus and dedication of Joe Crowley and Jimmy Vacca, this public and private partnership will make an enormous difference in the Westchester Square community while allowing the organization to expand its programming and serve even more artists, arts organizations and audiences.”
For those who have been fighting for the revitalization of Westchester Square for decades, the donation by Chase served as a reminder to how far the community has taken the Square’s rejuvenation.
“People from all over the world are going to come here, and this means education for our kids in the arts and culture for the Square,” said Sandi Lusk of the Westchester Square Zerega Improvement Organization.
Bill Aguado said he is proud that he is able to turn over the reins of the BCA after 30 years to Scott, who inherits an art handling training program that was recognized by the mayor during the ceremony, a Bronx Writers Center at the Westchester Square Library, the Bronx Cultural Trolley, and other programs.