CARIBBEAN CULTURAL CENTER RECEIVES UMEZ GRANT

 

Renovation of Old Firehouse Is Planned

 

 

New York, N.Y.Kenneth J. Knuckles, President & CEO of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corp. (UMEZ) announced that Franklin H. Williams Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI) had received a $150,000 grant through UMEZ’s Cultural Industry Investment Fund.

 

Presently, CCCADI owns its headquarters, a townhouse located at on West 58th Street.  Due to the age, width and general configuration of this facility, however, CCCADI is unable to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements for access by the disabled.  Inability to comply with these requirements poses a serious threat to continued future funding from public sources.  In addition, the building’s physical configuration precludes continued programmatic growth.  Finally, the neighborhood demographics have changed to such a degree that the constituency served by CCCADI is no longer to be found in this community.

 

As such, the UMEZ grant will be combined with other funding to rehabilitate and redevelop a decommissioned city-owned firehouse located at 120 East 125th Street as a community and/or cultural facility.  The new five-story, 8,500 square foot Firehouse will include a café, shop, exhibition and performance spaces, media center, offices, meeting and community rooms, kitchen facilities and classrooms. The firehouse would help to extend this district eastward along the 125th Street corridor and provide continuity and diversity of cultural offerings.  Through its proximity, the firehouse would also complement the development of the East Harlem Media, Entertainment and Cultural Center, a 1.7 million square foot mixed-use development bounded by 125th and 127th Streets and Second and Third Avenues.

 

ABOUT UMEZ:

 

UMEZ’s mission is to sustain the economic revitalization of all the communities of Upper Manhattan through job creation, corporate alliances, strategic investments and small business assistance.  UMEZ seeks to revitalize distressed communities by using geographically targeted public funds and tax incentives as catalysts for private investment. In Upper Manhattan, the communities that lie within the Empowerment Zone's borders include Harlem, East Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood.

 

ABOUT THE CULTURAL INDUSTRY INVESTMENT FUND

 

UMEZ’s CIIF celebrates Upper Manhattan’s rich past while creating new legacies.  The work of the CIIF is two-fold:  community building through a cultural and economic lens; and, a marketing of place that repositions Upper Manhattan as one of New York City’s primary cultural districts.  The goals of the CIIF are sustaining the local economy by promoting development, revitalization and tourism; making strategic cultural investments; and, strengthening the cultural ecosystem.

 

CIIF seeks to fund service organizations that can significantly position and promote local arts and culture as an integral component of cultural history, contemporary art production, and the local cultural industry and economy; build the artistic and administrative capacity of local arts and cultural players; provide technical assistance; develop programmatic links and collaborations with other groups in Upper Manhattan, city-wide, and/or nationally; and, service the arts across disciplines.

 

 

ABOUT C.C.A.D. I.

 

Founded in 1976 by Dr. Marta Moreno Vega, The Visual Arts Research and Resource Center Relating to the Caribbean, Inc. (also known as Franklin H. Williams Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute) was one of New York City’s first organizations to focus on the cultural contributions of people of color and remains the leading African Diaspora cultural organization in New York.  CCCADI’s mission is to expose and educate general audiences about the cultural expressions of the African Diaspora, as manifested through visual arts, film, literature, music, dance and the study of traditional belief systems.  Its annual programming is built on a foundation of artistic and community-based initiatives that incorporate a full range of Afro-descendant perspectives.  

 

 

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