Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone

Development Corporation

290 Lenox Avenue, 3rd Floor

New York, New York 10027

Tel:  (212) 410-0030       Fax:  (212) 410-9616 or 9083

















New York, NYHope Knight, Chief Operating Officer of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone (UMEZ) announced today that Taller Boricua, a visual arts workshop and exhibition space for artists in East Harlem, has been awarded a grant of $354,400 through this organization’s Cultural Industries Investment Fund.  The money will go toward capacity building and institutional development.

Taller Boricua, whose English translation is “Puerto Rican Workshop,” is a non-profit, community arts organization established in 1970 to provide workshops for artists to create, discuss, and share their work with each other and the broader community.   Over the years it has expanded into a multi-cultural institution that provides a variety of programs that stimulate the social, cultural and economic development of the community.

“For nearly forty years, this outstanding organization has been working diligently to assist the arts community in East Harlem,” said Knight.  “The grant we are providing to Taller Boricua will enable it achieve goals that we believe will prove to be beneficial to the entire East Harlem community, as well as New York City.  Moreover, we see the realization of Taller Boricua’s aspirations as key to our efforts to create a cultural corridor along East 106th Street.”


The grant award of up to $354,400 follows a technical assistance grant awarded to the organization in 2005 for an organizational assessment. This most recent grant will support the implementation of several high-priority assessment recommendations. Specifically, the funding will support three new full-time positions, thereby doubling the size of Taller Boricua’s staff, equipment purchases, board development, succession planning, and marketing and promotions.  The organization will contribute a total of $253,600 over a three year period, bringing the total cost for the initiative to $608,000.



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 The grant to Taller Boricua is the latest in a series of UMEZ investments in East Harlem organizations. Over the past two years, UMEZ has approved investments in East Harlem Business Capital Corporation, El Museo del Barrio, Art for Change, La Fonda Boricua, PR Dream, and East River Plaza. The East River Plaza investment, which totaled $55 million ($40MM in bonds and $15MM in debt), is the largest single investment in UMEZ history.


Knight believes that investments throughout East Harlem will have a positive impact throughout Upper Manhattan in terms of its aesthetic appeal, the creation of jobs and improvements to its infrastructure.  “The investments we make today will lay the foundation for even greater benefits tomorrow.  This has been UMEZ’s goal since its inception and we are proud of our many contributions to making East Harlem and all of Upper Manhattan a better place to live, work and visit.”





            The CIIF Strategy seeks to strengthen and advance organizations in Upper Manhattan that have been identified as anchor institutions within the community.  As such, CIIF’s primary goals are to sustain the local economy by promoting development, revitalization and tourism; making strategic cultural investments; strengthening the cultural ecosystem; and positioning Upper Manhattan as major cultural district in New York City.



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