the creative economy in the bronx


Changing Perceptions

South Bronx Cultural Corridor: A Creative Economy

How can The Bronx Council on the Arts (BCA) propel the Bronx creative community to invite new investment and entice outside business to locate to the Bronx, fuel expansion, convince local business to stay here and work cooperatively to enhance the profile of the South Bronx as a great place to do business? 

BCA can


  • Enhance  the profile of the  Bronx arts brand;
  • Develop the potential of the South Bronx creative workforce;
  • Expand  access to available financial resources for South Bronx artists;
  • Form partnerships with the public sector and
  • Engage in advocacy efforts to increase funding and programming for the development of the arts and the creative economy in the South Bronx.


We define the creative industry as those Bronx business entities, tradesmen and women, suppliers, and designers who support the production of art-related products and services as well as those who employ art and design in the creation of products. Our definition is broad in an effort to be inclusive. Recognizing the synergy between arts and entrepreneurship, creative individuals can be equipped with the “hard” business skills needed for successful enterprise development that will have ripple effects on the rest of the local economy. BCA can help.


The Bronx is changing and evolving. BCA focuses on place based art related economic development to increase access to arts and artists, build sustainable relationships among the many different sector of the Bronx community and make connections that work.  We understand that in the midst of all the growth and change in the South Bronx, artists and arts organizations continue to face two basic economic development problems – on the demand side potential consumers often lack information about the quantity and quality of products and on the supply side, artists and arts organizations may not have resources to take advantage of the market opportunities. BCA helps to generate income and investment through staging creative connections between arts/artists the community at large and the market place.

BCA’s pivotal role in the area is to

  • Find social networks;
  • Provide opportunities for cross pollination of ideas and innovation;
  • Encourage cross promotion and healthy competition for market share.

Two Models - Visible and Valuable

The Bronx Culture Trolley and Culture Trolley Saturdays link locals, visitors and arts enthusiasts to profit and non-profit artist and arts organizations as well as retail and commercial strips. BCA is branding the area, building the profile of neighborhoods and merchants while promoting the variety of ways that the arts contribute to the vitality and excitement of the South Bronx. The Bronx Culture Trolley uses the public space of the streets, the business district, and major institutions like Hostos Community College as the canvas for promoting social integration, a sense of identity and upward economic mobility.  The new Yankee Stadium, the Gateway Mall, The Grand Concourse, and the Bruckner rezoning will continue to impact local parks, neighborhood clusters, small business anchors, treasured casitas, arts sites, local parks and the waterfront in the coming years.  We are committed to effect change without triggering displacement and therefore sustaining  our community and helping it thrive.

The Creative Bronx! Black Book is a visible, accessible and user-friendly part of BCA’s multi-pronged initiative for the South Bronx Cultural Corridor promoting business and opportunities in the area, using arts and cultural activities as a centerpiece that bring diverse people from within and outside the Bronx together while stimulating economic activity in the business district. The Creative Bronx! Black Book provides specific marketing and promotion services for Bronx creative industries as part of an overall strategy to bring business to and sustain business in the South Bronx. In the broadest terms its mission is to support and encourage creative industries in the South Bronx so as to:

  •        Heighten the visibility and uniqueness of the South Bronx;
  •        Improve job growth in/for this community;
  •        Improve community building and support;
  •        Support community lifestyle/heritage/cultural presence.


It is available online and in hard copy. In addition, BCA continues solicitations to high end private collectors, corporate collectors, cultural institutions, and commercial and non-profit galleries with the goal to significantly increase revenues of these Bronx businesses.

These two discrete programs bring positive attention to the Bronx as a whole and to local small businesses, government agencies, artist/entrepreneurs and arts and cultural institutions.  This is an ideal time for artists, member of the cultural community, business and community leaders to begin to form networks to advocate for South Bronx to become a viable and livable space in the southern tip of the Bronx.   We are confident that our efforts to showcase the amenities and aesthetics of the area will attract additional growth, which in turn will lead to increasing jobs and investment. 


                                                            Ellen Pollan, Director, South Bronx Cultural Corridor

Profiles of the Creative Economy

Underground Music Studios opened on January 1st 2010 at 1728 Eastchester Road in the northeast section of the Bronx. The space sees 5-10 bands a week and draws musicians locally as well as from the West Bronx, Washington Heights, and the Fordham areas. All kinds of bands and groups stop by - hip hop, metal, established Latin bands, and there is even a youth music program being run in the space. Dave Rosa, one of the business partners, says that they saw an opportunity and took it - the space, literally underground, was used as a music studio for a number of years until the previous owner left. There are two uses of the space: two hourly rental rooms, open in the evening, are equipped with drums, amps, mixers, and also monthly rental rooms, which come with 24 hour access - five of six rooms are rented. For more info, visit the website,
Bronx, NY 10451
(212) 628-7582

Stephen Wallis opens a door and leads visitors into a deep warehouse space, crammed with furniture. As we walk around the floor he points out particular pieces of furniture and names them, and talk a little bit about each. Then he takes visitors upstairs to his office - and a whole other floor. There’s even more shelves of modern and contemporary furniture here, awaiting rental for photo shoots, films, special events, and home showings.

A former commercial photographer, Stephen started his prop rental business with a storage unit in Chelsea in the early 2000s. His photo skills and web savvy have been handy; people shopping for props don’t need to visit his warehouse to see what he’s got - he has it all nicely photographically catalogued online, which makes shopping easier than at the old-fashioned prop rental houses downtown. The business lets him do something he loves – researching and collecting interesting furniture. is listed with the Creative Bronx! Black Book.

For rent: ORANGE GLOSSY NESTING TABLES and an orange lamp at



Emerging jewelry artist Elizabeth Ortiz has admired the work of Calder for many years. She recently began a series of innovatively designed mobiles inspired by the work of Calder, handcrafted with metal, using sterling silver, aluminum, stainless steel, copper, and enamel. Two from the series, Hip 2 B Square, were placed with the bronxArtworks label at the Bronx Museum Gift Shop. Elizabeth has been an active member of the Artisans Initiative.


Image: Full Moon Rising, Elizabeth Ortiz, 2007


Marisol Diaz, photographer

events, sports, & documentary photography

Marisol Diaz
(pictured), freelances for news organizations including the Associated Press, El Diario la Prensa, The Bronx Times, Norwood News, and Bronx Net; local arts organizations The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD), and the Bronx Opera Company, as well as corporate clients such as Coca-Cola, Montefiore Hospital, the New York Mets, and Salsa Catering. Marisol Diaz’s photography services are listed with the Creative Bronx! Black Book.


Custom Design Studio
49 Bruckner Blvd
Bronx, NY 10454
718-665-0777 / 718-993-8370
718-665-7896 (fax)

Denisse and Enrique Cruz (pictured), specialize in custom furniture upholstery antique furniture re-upholstery, drapes at customers request, plus other commercial work, including custom made slip covers, wall upholstery and throw pillows. Custom Design Studio has been in business for 18 years. New York magazine wrote in 2005 that "Custom Design Studio may be the best-kept secret in the trade." Custom Design Studio is regularly listed in programs for BCA’s First Wednesdays Bronx Culture Trolley and in the Creative Bronx! Black Book.


A E Art Canvas Priming
605 E 132nd St, #132
Bronx, NY 10454

Angel De la Cruz (pictured) operates a factory dedicated to preparing custom canvases for artists. Angel and his three full-time employees stretch and prime specialty canvases of all sizes that are sold through custom orders at art supply stores and also to individual artists. A E Art Canvas Priming is listed in the Creative Bronx! Black Book.



Sterling Frames, Inc.
544 East 171st Street
Bronx, NY 10457

In addition to custom framing for artists, private collections and galleries, Sterling Frames specializes in gold and silver leaf gilding and antique frame restoration. Luis Sterling (pictured) recently relocated his business to the Bronx from Long Island City, and has been in business for twenty years. Sterling Frames, Inc. is listed in the Creative Bronx! Black Book.




For More Information

email or call 718-931-9500 x24



Read about new initiative in Westchester Square in Crain’s New York Business


The successful Bronx Culture Trolley and our marketing efforts have branded the South Bronx Cultural Corridor as an area of cultural vitality as well as city-wide and regional interest.

Bronx Council on the Arts
South Bronx Programs

Artisan’s Initiative

Arthandlers Training Program

Bronx Culture Trolley

Bronx Indie Artist Series

Culture Trolley Saturdays

Fine Arts/Tech Services

Longwood Arts Project

Cultural Anchors of
the South Bronx

Bronx Academy of
Arts and Dance

Home of Arthur Aviles
Dance Company


Bronx Museum of the Arts

Friends of Brook Park

Hostos Center for
Arts & Culture

Pregones Theater




New York Industrial Retention Network

NYC Business Solutions

Bronx Center

NYC Theatre Spaces
Find rehearsal, audition and performance space in New York City for actors, playwrights, directors, producers and theatre companies. A free resource.

NYC Music Spaces
Find music rehearsal, audition and performance space in New York City. A free resource for musicians in all genres.

Project Enterprise

The Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation

South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation

Lehman College
Art Gallery/CUNY
Public Art in the South Bronx

South Bronx Walking Tour

This program is made possible with funding from the Bronx Empowerment Zone, the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Bronx Delegation of the City Council, State Senator Jose M Serrano, and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.

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