Culture and arts organizations in the borough received a financial boost as 2019 came to a close.
The NYC Department of Cultural Affairs recently announced $51.3 million in grants to support cultural programming at 985 organizations as part of its 2020 annual funding cycle.
Some of the local organizations that received money were: Bronx Arts Ensemble, $344,688, Bronx Children’s Museum, $35,800, Bronx Council on the Arts, $298,120,
Bronx Documentary Center, $139,020, Bronx House, Inc. $93,020, Bronx Opera Company, $71,800, Bronx River Alliance, $24,560, Bronx River Art Center, Inc., $181,700 and BronxArtSpace, $16,000.
“With additional grant funds from DCLA, we were able to fund more art community projects more fully,” said Viviana Bianchi, executive director Bronx Council on the Arts.
“This increased funding will also allow us to award more BRIOs (Bronx Recognizes Its Own awards) to even more artists. We are very grateful for this increased support, and hope that funding continues at this level or higher in the years ahead so that BCA can continue strengthening the cultural ecosystem of the Bronx,” she added.
One of the recipients in the borough was Jeremy McQueen, an award-winning choreographer, who started The Black Iris Project in 2016, which is a ballet that celebrates diversity and black history.
He won $5,000 from Bronx Recognizes Its Own (BRIO), which provides support to artists who create works in the literary, media, visual and performing arts.
McQueen spoke to the Bronx Times about the money. The funds will help form the creation of a new ballet, The Storm, which centers on the disruption caused by tumultuous hurricanes that have taken place in the United States over the last 15 years and the Middle Passage.
“The Black Iris Project from its inception has been about creating movement within the Black community that has housed diversity, justice, equity and inclusion,” McQueen said. “Communities of color are not often ones that can always afford or have access to high quality performing arts experiences. The work I do as an educator and choreographer with The Black Iris Project has specifically made it possible for various communities of color to have access to live art and to see themselves in the art that is shared onstage as a source of inspiration.”
Another winner was Ivan Velez Jr., a comic artist that received close to $11,000 for three community engagement grants, “New Work,” “Arts Fund” and “Community Arts” and an artist residency called Su-Casa. SU-CASA is a program that aims to enrich the lives of senior citizens through the arts.
This grant will help fund programming and events and provide art supplies, advertising, and financial support for larger events.
“I’m an individual artist who has used my grant funding mostly to support my art instruction programs and celebrations,” Velez said. “I’ve also been able to create art events for the community where other artists can meet and create together, as well as inspire people who would not normally consider themselves artists to participate and create.”