Taller opened its doors to El Corazón Cultural Center, our new home on December 7, 2016.

The newly constructed 24,000+ square-foot center is a vast expansion of Taller’s space, and consolidates all of our operations and functions as a community cultural hub, an educational arts institution, and gathering space.

Taller Puertorriqueño’s new center includes the following amenities:

  • A more spacious and flexible exhibition gallery.
  • A larger and more accessible gift shop.
  • More classrooms with access state of the art technologies.
  • Flexible dance and theatre studio rooms
  • A 170-seat multi-use event space, with a total capacity of 340+.
  • An outdoor play area for participants in our art education programs.
  • An outdoor entertaining area for artistic and social functions.
  • 3 Classrooms and a pottery arts studio with a combined student capacity of 160.
  • And much more…

El Corazón Cultural Center’s numerous advantages:

  • Full accessibility: a one-story building, meeting all ADA and Child Care Certification requirements for the safety and comfort of all children and community members served.
  • A parking lot for 80+ cars with safe drop-off points to meet the needs of parents dropping off children, mini buses carrying seniors, school buses bringing students, and visitors for our events.
  • Closer proximity to public transportation (SEPTA bus routes 47, 39 Eastbound, and 54).
  • Ability to accommodate larger groups.
  • An attractive and architecturally-significant gateway to El Centro de Oro.
  • The consolidation of all Taller’s programs and offices under one roof.

This monumental achievement constitutes the largest Puerto Rican/Latin@-based arts and cultural facility in the state of Pennsylvania and in our region. The success of this project illustrates the important role Taller plays in its community, underlining the power of arts and cultural programming to create social change and build community. El Corazón Cultural Center will act as an economic engine in Eastern North Philadelphia, spurring new business development in the area. For years to come, El Corazón will be an anchor and source of pride in serving the region’s growing Latin@ population while educating the broader public about Latin@ cultural contributions.


 

For questions, more information about naming opportunities, or to make a larger donation please contact Carmen Febo San Miguel by phone at 215-426-3311 or by email at cfebo@tallerpr.org.

December 7, 2016 to January 7, 2017

Exhibition Album

We connect through images, designs, and slogans. It is through representations that people communicate preferences and associations. Colors like red, white, and blue bring to mind the American flag or, with a slight addition of a single star, Puerto Rico’s flag. Even within communities, however, there may be differences in representations. The choice of background color in the Puerto Rican flag, for example, may signal a political preference. Dark blue suggests sympathies for the status quo, and sky blue for an independent state. When realized, the sentiments associated with these representations leave an indelible mark in time. Each choice of image and color responds to the moment of its creation that signals both the intentions of its maker and the context in which it was born. With 24 artists from Philadelphia to Brazil, Taller Puertorriqueño’s inaugural exhibition in the new El Corazón Cultural Center, Nuestro Tema: Llamada y Respuesta (Our Theme: Call and Response), looks at Taller’s community through a sample of its art collection primarily focused on the work of artists it has exhibited to date – the “Call” invoked in the title. In turn, Taller invites outside artists to respond with their work as well as encourages the community to comment – the “Response”. Taller Puertorriqueño arose out of an implicit understanding that art in the community brings people together, stimulates thought, challenges notions — and most of all, enriches people’s lives.

Opened February 12, 2016

Unpacking Hispañola re-envisions the processes that construct historical narratives, racial subjectivity, and gender roles through the work of Dominican American visual artists Scherezade Garcia and Firelei Báez. Both artists create images that complicate the traditional distinctions between myths and historical ‘facts’, questioning the very nature of historical narratives. Channeling their own racialized experiences in the United States, the artists explore both Dominican and U.S. African-derived culture and history and challenge constructed racial hierarchies and inequalities in both countries.

Anthropologist Michel-Rolph Trouillot has explained that dominant historical narratives are constructed according to a Western viewpoint, which assigns power through the emphasis of specific moments and subsequently the creation of ‘silences’, or omissions. Emphasizing the importance of the creation of and access to archives, as well as the contemporary interpretation of history, Trouillot shows that historical narratives are manipulated to reflect the political or financial proclivities of those in power. Through the lens of race and gender, in Unpacking Hispañola Garcia and Báez expose the flaws within the construction of the historical narrative in the Dominican Republic and the United States. They subsequently parody these flaws through the elaboration of mythological creatures and folklore, which can be considered ‘silences’ in their iteration of the historical narrative. Garcia and Báez blur the boundaries of accepted historical facts and myths, re-creating a narrative that defies racial stereotypes and traditional gender roles.

Grounded in similar political, social, and historical issues, Garcia and Báez create artworks that are instrumental in representing the diasporic transformations of Dominican immigrants in the United States. When living in the United States, Dominican Americans experience a different hegemonic system of racial and gender classification and often redefine their own identity. The artists blur and exaggerate dominant racial and gendered boundaries to recreate a specifically Dominican American subjectivity in an alternative space that exposes and critiques pervasive and global inequalities.

Unpacking Hispañola is curated by Abigail Lapin Dardashti

Related programs:

 

About the artists and curator:

Firelei Baez: Through the lens of anthropology, science fiction, and black female subjectivity, Firelei Báez’s art explores the humor and fantasy involved in self-making within diasporic societies, which have an ability to live with cultural ambiguities and use them to build psychological and even metaphysical defenses against cultural invasions. Báez received a B.F.A. from The Cooper Union’s School of Art in 2004, and an M.F.A. from Hunter College in 2010. Her work is included in the permanent collections of the Studio Museum in Harlem, El Museo del Barrio, and Pérez Art Museum Miami. Born in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, Báez is was raised in the Dominican Republic and has ancestral connections to Haiti.

Scherezade Garcia: Born in the Dominican Republic, Scherezade Garcia has lived in New York since 1986. Garcia received her AAS from Altos de Chavón The School of Design, Dominican Republic, her BFA from Parsons The New School for Design, and her MFA from The City College of New York. Her work evokes memories of faraway home and the hopes and dreams that accompany planting roots in a new land. Garcia’s work is included in the permanent collection of The Smithsonian Museum of American Art, El Museo del Barrio in NYC, and El Museo de Arte Moderno in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

The curator, Abigail Lapin Dardashti is a Ph.D. candidate in Art History at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her research focuses on formations of ethno-religious and racial identity in twentieth century art of the Americas, with a concentration on the Dominican Republic and Brazil. Most recently, she received a fellowship at the Smithsonian American Art Museum to study the work of contemporary Dominican American artists who re-evaluate Dominican blackness from a U.S. post-civil rights perspective. Lapin Dardashti is a Graduate Teaching Fellow at City College, CUNY .

Press release is here.