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Posted on 08-07-02

Bronx Museum of Arts

by Tiffany Crawford
Photos by Torin Amar


In this museum, Graffiti is considered art. The Bronx Museum of the Arts, founded 30 years ago, has successfully been able to give artists a place to show their work. It was founded by a community group. Originally housed by the Bronx County Courthouse, they later moved to the location that they are at now. Which is 1040 Grand concourse, Bronx, NY 10456. I interviewed Ron Kavanaugh, Who is the Communication Associate at the museum. Here are some of the things i found out.

During the 1970’s, all of the boroughs were trying to get culturally aware. Many other museum opened up around that time but it was the Bronx Museum that stood out. They didn’t start in the great building that they are in now. When they first opened up they just showcased peoples work in a vacant area of the Bronx County Courthouse. A little later on the city purchased property. Then in 1982 they moved on to that property.

Their mission statement is to serve the culturally diverse populations of the Bronx and the greater New York metropolitan area. The museum has a commitment to increase audience participation in the visual arts through its permanent collection, special exhibitions, and education programs.
They showcase a number of contemporary art exhibits. One of the more popular exhibits is called Newmonic Architecture, which brings in around 20,000 tourist a year. Compared to other museum, this is a very small number. They rely a great deal of community support and school trips to the museum. They also benefit their community. “Imagine that everyday you got up, went to school, and went to sleep. Life would be so boring. Culture is what makes a community whole.” Says Mr Kavanaugh.

They also have a number of different programs. Like One Planet Under a Groove: HipHop and contemporary art. One Planets first exhibition, the transitional impact of Hip Hop culture on contemporary art, was on view from October 26, 2001 through March 3, 2002. This landmark exhibition has more than 60 work of art. Including painting, sculptures, drawings and many more. The exhibition consist of more than 30 artist. Some like David Bertocchi, Juan Capistran, and Chris Ofili.

Another one of their great programs is called BOUNCE. BOUNCE is an electric mix of Music, Media, and Urban Lifestyles. This new mix of monthly parties blends DJ, club culture, and visual and media art. The WORD, which is apart of BOUNCE, presents spoken performances by emerging and established artist. Who combine their interest in Hip Hop with urban culture and music.

Right now they don’t have too many programs for the youth but they are currently creating a program called Studio Lab. The purpose of this program is to give youth new media skills and elements. The program should be up around September or October.
It’s not impossible to get your work into the museum. Artist that are usually in the museum are mostly Asians, African Americans, and Latinos. Also those who live, have lived, or who work in the Bronx. Other artist of different nationalities can get into the museum too. They have a staff of curators who come up with exhibition ideas. Then they find an artist to fill the exhibition. It would also make it a lot easier to get your work into the museum if you have a history of art. Also if you started at a young age.

For more information, please visit www.bxma.org


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