Cultural Center Comes Home to El Barrio

Franklin H. Williams Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute Moves to Transitional Space until Relocation to Former City Firehouse on 125th Street; Renovation Project Anticipated to be $5.2 million
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Aug. 23, 2012 - PRLog -- (New York, NY) The Franklin H. Williams Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI) has successfully moved into its transitional space on Park Avenue and will remain there until it settles into its permanent home, the 8,500 square foot firehouse on 125th Street in East Harlem.  In 2008, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) selected CCCADI to redevelop the firehouse and will invest $5.2 million into the project. The new location—which will be complete with ample exhibition and performance space, offices, meeting rooms, multipurpose areas, light food facilities, a café and a museum shop—allows CCCADI to be an integral part of East Harlem/El Barrio and the greater New York community.

“Grounded within our global community, we are now able to connect at varied levels of engagement from local to national and international,” said CCCADI President/Founder Dr. Marta Moreno Vega. “Being physically located in the cultural arts corridor of 125th Street provides us with an even greater opportunity to bridge the experiences of the Diaspora from West to East.”

CCCADI was selected as one of 16 New York historic sites awarded preservation grants, distributed by American Express and National Trust for Historic Preservation through the Partners in Preservation Program. The Center received $70,000 toward the firehouse renovation project.

Although working in more limited space during the transition period, CCCADI has expanded its strategic partnerships to ensure continuity of programs. This year, CCCADI has spearheaded two brand new publications: a self-published work, Snap Shots: Landmarking Community Arts Organization Nationally, focused on the state of community arts activists organizations nationwide; and Women Warriors of the Afro-Latina Diaspora, a collection of 11 essays and four poems that tell the stories of Latina women of African descent.

The Center also looks to expand its audiences with new initiatives that further its mission to promote and link communities of African descendants wherever they are present. Shantrelle P. Lewis, director of exhibitions and public programming, recently received a curatorial fellowship from the Andy Warhol Foundation to conduct research for the upcoming exhibition Negotiating Identity: Resistance and Assimilation in Dutch Caribbean Art which is scheduled to open at the center’s new home in 2014. With support from the fellowship, Ms. Lewis will travel to the Netherlands and the Dutch Caribbean to meet with artists, curators, art historians and activists.

Top initiatives for the center include deeper cultivation of relationships with area institutions that are doing similar work, such as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Dwyer Cultural Center, Apollo Theater, and the Julia de Burgos Cultural Center, among others.

“We are where we need to be,” Dr. Vega continued. “In our location in Midtown Manhattan, gentrification changed the whole environment. El Barrio retains the feel of neighborhood and the cultural identities that speak to the diversity of the Diaspora and we are proud to be located within our community.”

Upcoming programs for the center include the 8th Annual Latin Music Collectors Festival on Saturday, September 1, in Tribute to Arsenio Rodriguez presented in partnership with the 12th Annual New York International Salsa Congress at the Hilton Hotel: and Cuba Y Puerto Rico Son on September 29 at Aaron Davis Hall.

For more information on the Franklin H. Williams Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute and its current programs and events, visit The center can also be found on and

The Center’s transitional location is 1825 Park Avenue New York, NY 10035, Suite 602.

About the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI)
The Franklin H. Williams Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute, commonly known as the Caribbean Cultural Center, was conceived in 1976 by Dr. Marta Moreno Vega who had a vision to create an international organization to promote and link communities of African descendants wherever they are present.  Dedicated to making visible the invisible history, culture and welfare of peoples in African descent, the Center is based in New York City but effectively works for the social, cultural and economic equity of African Diaspora communities around the world.
Source:Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Inst.
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Page Updated Last on: Aug 23, 2012

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