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
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.
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.
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.
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.