FORUM

Puerto Rican Creativeness for
Social Change and Economic Development
Thursday, June 5
9 am – 2:30 pm
2nd Floor Auditorium
Silberman School of Social Work
2180 Third Avenue and 119th Street

Forum Features DIVEDCO Art Exhibit
And Launch of Centro Research Book

Centro, the Puerto Rican Federal Affairs Administration Northeast Regional Office and the National Puerto Rican Day Parade are joining forces on June 5th for the Puerto Rican Creativeness for Social Change and Economic Development forum in East Harlem at the Hunter College Silberman School of Social Work. The daylong event will explore the success of using the arts to promote social and economic change by Puerto Ricans, and opportunities to develop meaningful projects to empower the community. As part of the event, Centro will open a new art exhibit, entitled Shaping Puerto Rican Identity: Selections from the DIVEDCO Collection at Centro Library & Archives, and release its latest research book, Puerto Ricans at the Dawn of the New Millennium. The forum is open to the public.

Shaping Puerto Rican Identity: Selections from the DIVEDCO Collection at Centro Library & Archives will showcase some of the 41 prints, 30 pamphlets and 12 films from its DIVEDCO holdings. It will run in the in the lobby area of the Hunter College Silberman School of Social Work until June 30. The exhibit will be on display throughout the day and there will be an opening reception following the last panel.

Besides Centro’s DIVEDCO exhibit, which consists of works of art created on the island to educate Puerto Ricans, particularly the rural population, about issues of health, education, democracy and the economy, the forum will also include presentations on arts initiatives in Puerto Rico and the U.S. that have resulted in positive economic and social change; a discussion on the current projects and trends in Puerto Rico and the U.S. and; a panel presentation on the findings in the new book, Puerto Ricans at the Dawn of the New Millennium.

For the launch of Puerto Ricans at the Dawn of the New Millennium, edited by Centro Director Edwin Meléndez and researcher Carlos Vargas-Ramos, Centro is hosting a panel presentation moderated by Vargas-Ramos.  Presenters will include Centro researchers Meléndez, Kurt Birson, Patricia Silver, Luis O. Reyes and Harry Franqui-Rivera. The discussant is Carlos E. Santiago, an economist.

The Centro presentation will be the second of three panels running from 9:00 am to 1:30 pm with presenters including Felix Matos Rodriguez President of Hostos Community College, Lilliana Ramos-Collado of Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, José Lopez of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center Juan Antonio Corretjer, Frances Lucerna of El Puente, Edwin Torres of the Rockefeller Foundation, and Carlos Bobonis of Design in Puerto Rico.

DIVEDCO (Puerto Rico’s Division of Community Education) was an insular government agency founded in 1949 under the auspices of Governor Luis Muñoz Marín. DIVEDCO artists made films, posters and booklets about health problems, literacy and grassroots action among other social and economic issues in an effort to integrate the rural population into the industrialization and urbanization processes that were transforming the island in the 1950s. DIVEDCO’s artistic production shows Puerto Rico’s cultural traditions and history.

For many years the DIVEDCO prints have been shown as solo pieces in various art exhibitions. There have not been many shows displaying the works of this collective group of Puerto Rican artists outside the island in recent years. This exhibit is being organized by Pedro Juan Hernandez and Juan Fernando Morales in collaboration with the Hunter College East Harlem Art Gallery. Hernandez, Centro chief archivist, said DIVEDCO left an unparalleled legacy to Puerto Rico and art lovers because they nurtured and supported young Puerto Rican artists. Lorenzo Homar and Rafael Tufiño are the best known among this group of artists in and outside of the island. Centro wants to highlight Homar and Tufiño because they both were Puerto Rican artists deeply influenced by the migration experience to New York City.

At the Puerto Ricans at the Dawn of the New Millennium panel presentation researchers will discuss the fast-growing Puerto Rican population in the South, West and Midwest, which is expected to eventually outnumber Puerto Ricans in the Northeast. “When (not if) this event happens, it will mark a significant shift in the history of Puerto Ricans in the United States,” the introduction states. As well as highlighting demographics, the book presents new research on social, economic, political and health conditions of the Puerto Rican population in the United States and highlights the improvements and the challenges in this rapidly changing and growing community. It can be pre-ordered now from the Centro Store, and will also be available at the event.

To attend the forum, please RSVP at centro.events@hunter.cuny.edu.

To learn more about Centro’s research visit http://centropr.hunter.cuny.edu/research/general/research.

 

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