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Casita Maria Celebrates Garifuna Culture with Gallery Exhibition and Public Programming

BRONX, N.Y. -- Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education and Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc. are delighted to announce Garifuna Intangible Heritage, an exhibition celebrating the cultural expression of the Garifuna people of Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, St Vincent and the Grenadines and the United States. The art gallery exhibition and related public programs comprise the Winter season of ¡CelebrARTE!, Casita Maria's South Bronx arts and culture series.

Through ¡CelebrARTE! and other public programs, Casita Maria has become a premier location for the arts and culture of the South Bronx. "The Casita Maria Gallery features and promotes local, national, and international artists whose work reflects and honors the vibrant communities of Hunts Point and the South Bronx. Our programming and the artists we showcase are a testament to the transformative power of the arts," says Creative Arts Director Gail Heidel.

Garifuna Intangible Heritage will showcase the work of two self-taught Garifuna artists, Pen Cayetano and Isidra Sabio, whose brightly-colored paintings and digital prints highlight Garifuna culture, cultural expressions, and daily life.

The Garifuna Beat!, a companion photography exhibition in Casita Maria's Young Artist Gallery, will depict the joyful self-expression of the Garifuna Punta Dance Style.

Garifuna Intangible Heritage will honor the 18th anniversary of UNESCO's proclamation of the Garifuna Language, Music, and Dance as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. This Heritage consists of the intangible and tangible aspects of the whole body of cultural practices, resources and knowledge systems developed, nurtured and refined by Garifuna people, and that are transmitted from generation to generation as a crucial component of their sense of identity and continuity.

Winter 2019-2020 season of ¡CelebrARTE! (Celebrate Yourself) series
On view at the Casita Maria Gallery December 5, 2019 - February 28, 2020

Free Public Events
Hours: Monday - Friday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
* Exhibition Opening Reception and Artist Talk: Thursday, December 5, 2019, 5:30 - 8 p.m.
* Workshop: ¡ExpresARTE! Express Yourself Through Garifuna Dance: Wednesday evenings beginning December 11, 6:30-8 PM. Workshop series on Garifuna dance styles, led by acclaimed performer Luz F. Soliz.
* ¡ExpresARTE! Performance: We will celebrate the end of the workshop with performances by ExpresARTE participants and Soliz's WABAFU Garifuna Dance Theater.
o February 28, 2020, 4-5:30 p.m.: Casita Maria program performance, open only to participants in Casita Maria's after-school program.
o February 28, 2020, 7 - 9 p.m.: Community performance-- free and open to the public.

Both performances will take place in the auditorium:

Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education
928 Simpson Street
Bronx, N.Y. 10459

Book Club: One Book One Bronx, Wednesday evenings, 6:30 - 8 PM. Jan. 8, 15, 22, 29, Feb. 5.
Featured book: Searching for Zion: The Quest for Home in the African Diaspora by Emily Raboteau.

Each week, the group will meet at Casita Maria to discuss a book related to themes reflected in art work featured in the Gallery. Reading selections reflect the Bronx's racial, economic, and gender demographics while (re)sparking a love of literature. The first 15 attendees to each series will receive a free copy of the book; participants are free to join even if they have missed earlier sessions.

Learn More: https://www.casitamaria.org/gallery

Casita Maria Center For Arts & Education - a 501(c)(3) non-profit - creates a safe and welcoming community, enriching and uplifting youth and families towards success through shared cultural, art and educational experiences and programs. We are the first and oldest Latino charity in New York, founded in 1934.

Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc. advocates for issues that affect the Garifuna community by projecting a united voice. The coalition contributes to the improvement of the social, economic, political and cultural conditions of New York's Garifuna Community.

One Book One Bronx is presented by the Literary Freedom Project, which is committed to creating spaces that help leverage the power of books, culture, and education. LFP's programs value the variety of histories and cultures found in the Bronx and give residents places to build community and explore social engagement.

Casita Maria's exhibition and public programs are made possible by support from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the Lily Auchincloss Foundation.

*IMAGE link for media: https://www.Send2Press.com/300dpi/19-1115s2p-garifuna-sabio-300dpi.jpg
*Caption: Garifuna Village by Isidra Sabio.

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Exploring Black and Afro-Latinx female identity with RESPECT: gallery exhibition, workshops, and discussions

BRONX, N.Y. -- The Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education is delighted to announce the opening of "RESPECT," an exhibition celebrating Black and Afro-Latinx womanhood. The art gallery exhibition and related public programs comprise the Fall season of "CelebrARTE," Casita Maria's arts and culture event series celebrating the South Bronx community and the art it has inspired.

"RESPECT" is a multimedia exhibition that features New York-based artists Timothy Okamura, Jessica Spence, and Nichole Washington. Like much of the art displayed at Casita Maria, the exhibition examines a belief about or within the community -- here, that beauty diminishes as skin tones become darker or hair becomes kinkier -- and turns it on its head, with powerful depictions of Black women respecting themselves and loving each other.

Each artist celebrates Black womanhood in their signature style. Okamura combines his 'realist' paintings of figures with details rendered in collage, spray paint and mixed media. The exhibition will include work he created from photographs of four Casita Maria after-school program participants as well as giclee prints from his Begin Transmission and Urban Portraits series.

Jessica Spence's acrylic paintings examine Black womanhood and societal beauty ideals, focusing on the beauty and versatility of Black hair. She will also participate in a panel discussion on the politics of hair and teach a workshop on her collage methods on Saturday, September 21.

Nichole Washington's bold and imaginative works explore feminine strength, identity, and spirituality through both photography and paint. Her strong use of design, layered with symbols and expressive brush strokes, creates a multidimensional space that allows room for nuance. For anyone interested in how she creates her engaging visuals, Ms. Washington will teach a workshop on symbol-making on Saturday, October 5.

Through CelebrARTE and other public programs, Casita Maria has become a premier location for the arts and culture of the South Bronx. Creative Arts Director Gail Heidel says, "Casita Maria is a safe, welcoming space that celebrates cultural pride and honors the communities we serve by creating a resilient ecosystem of self-expression, creativity and education. Seeing themselves and their families reflected in the art we present, neighborhood youth build self-esteem and pride in themselves and their communities. Our programming and the artists we showcase are a testament to the transformative power of the arts."

Fall 2019 season of the CelebrARTE (Celebrate Yourself) series
On view at the Casita Maria Gallery September 3 - November 15, 2019

Free and open to the public
Hours: Monday - Friday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

* Exhibition Opening and Artist Talk: Thursday, September 19, 5:30 - 8 PM
* Panel Discussion: The Politics of Hair: Self-Love, Self-Care and Understanding, Saturday, September 21, 1-3 p.m., Moderator: Lori Tharps, Panelists Sulma Arzu-Brown, Isidra Sabio Jessica Spence, Natasha Tarpley
* Workshop: ExpresARTE/Express Yourself Through Collage, September 21, 3:30-5 PM, Artist: Jessica Spence, Workshop: ExpresARTE/Express Yourself Through Symbol Making, Saturday, October 5, 10-11:30 a.m., Artist: Nichole Washington

Book Club: One Book One Bronx. Wednesday evenings 6:30-8 PM, beginning September 11

Featured books will include: "Girl in the Mirror: Three Generations of Black Women in Motion," by Natasha Tarpley, and "Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America" by Ayana Byrd and Lori Tharps.

Learn More: https://www.casitamaria.org/gallery

The exhibition and public programs are made possible by support from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and the Lily Auchincloss Foundation.

Casita Maria Center For Arts & Education is the first and oldest Latino 501(c)(3) charity in NYC, founded in 1934. The South Bronx-based community arts and educational organization presents diverse, contemporary visual and performing arts and education programming for all ages.

*IMAGE link for media: Send2Press.com/300dpi/19-0823s2p-Spence-Jessica-Sore-Arms-300dpi.jpg
*Image caption: "Sore Arms" by Jessica Spence.

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