In the Spring of 2016 I, along with 15 other photographers, was selected to participate in a project entitled Bronx Photo Stories. The aim was to lend our photos for display at the construction site where Roberto Clemente Plaza is being built in the South Bronx. The Plaza is a collaboration between SoBro, a community organization focused on revitalization efforts in the South Bronx, the NYC Dept. of Design and Construction, as well as the NYC Dept. of Transportation.
On Friday, September 23, 2016, an event was held to demonstrate progress in the Plaza's construction, as well as celebrate the creation of this space with the community. The event was a lot of fun. It was good to catch up with folks, and see the evolution of Roberto Clemente Plaza taking shape on 149th and 3rd in The Bronx.
Melissa Calderón (pictured below at the podium) is Bronx born and based artist. She's been commissioned to create a permanent piece of art for the Roberto Clemente Plaza being built at The Hub. At the Bronx Photo Stories event she gave a passionate speech on Clemente and the inspiration for her sculpture.
As part of the Bronx Photo Stories event, Dancing in the Streets showed their world premiere performance piece entitled, Graphic Cyphers. Performed by a diverse group of talented dancers and choreographed by Ann Nguyen, it was an energetic dance routine. Choreographed movement gave way to improvisation, as well as crowd participation. Everyone was dancing!
One of my favorite moments was at the end of the dance. One of the performers talked to the crowd about how happy she was to be in The Bronx. As a native of Italy that fell in love with Hip-Hop, it was her dream to perform at the place where it all began.
After Graphic Cyphers came the Bobby Sanabria Quartet. They had the crowd rocking to their Latin Jazz sound. At the end of their set, a member of Dancing in the Streets came over to pay respect to a Quartet band member.
The September 23rd Bronx Photo Stories' event was a fantastic mix of community, art, music, and dance. It's my hope that Roberto Clemente Plaza provides a beautiful, inviting space for everyone in and around The Hub.
I'm thankful that SoBro, the NYC Dept. of Design and Construction, as well as the NYC Dept. of Transportation, put together the Bronx Photo Stories initiative. It serves as a way for government, private, and non-profits agencies to engage a community through it's transformation. It also gave me an opportunity to connect with creative, diverse, and engaging people of talent.
Here's to a better Bronx!