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LTL Architects Selected to Design

Future Headquarters of BCA

Click here to read press release

 
WELCOME TO BCA’S FUTURE HOME!

BCA’s future headquarters, located at 2700 E. Tremont Avenue, serves as the springboard for cultural revival in Westchester Square. "When the light goes on for a public event, it won't be on just here but in the entire neighborhood," said Maria Romano, Director of BCA's Bronx Writers Center. "We will be part of the revitalization of this community." With the move, BCA will be establishing a new center of activity for Bronx residents, artists, and cultural and community organizations.

 

By hosting events in the building (such as Big Read events like "Women In Creative Rebellion," pictured right), expanding programming and developing local partnerships, BCA is making its mark in the neighborhood. From holiday concerts to craft workshops to community arts nights, BCA is making its presence felt and invites the community and the whole borough to join them.


Building our Artist Community

 

Most recently, our Bronx Writers Center’s free monthly workshops (pictured above) have made the new building their home. Both aspiring and accomplished writers gather for instruction in areas such as plot building, science fiction writing, and getting your work published. Participants get an opportunity to network with other writers and learn in a welcoming environment.

 

The Bronx Writers Center has also made the building a new center of its annual Big Read. Each year, the Big Read celebrates a work of literature by hosting events that include read-alouds, arts & crafts, writing workshops, movie screenings and more.

 

 

This year, a highlight was “Women in Creative Rebellion.” A spoken word event celebrating women who have reinvented themselves, audience members shared their stories and their emotions over an open mic, in a room that was filled to capacity. Educator and writer Peggy Robles-Alvarado (pictured top-left) was crucial in making the event a huge success.

(r.) photo courtesy of Jaime Emeric


Past Events: Earned-Income Planning Workshop Series

The first official program at BCA’s future headquarters was a professional development series for artists in Fall 2011.

The series taught artists and cultural organizations how to create earned-income/business plans based on assets they already had. Five seed grants of $2,500 were given for the best prepared plans, with support from the New York Community Trust and the National Endowment for the Arts. Winners also received access to consultants who helped improve the business plans further.    

 

Highlights from the Workshops

Ron Kavanaugh sums up how workshops like BCA’s really help artists gain ground and plan long-term success. (Shown right)

“Oftentimes when you start a business, it’s literally in your head. You run it from home, you do all the math and calendar planning in your head. The great thing about business planning is it frees up all that space in your head.”

-Ron Kavanaugh

 

Steve Franciosa (CPA & Professor at Iona College) and Dart Westphal (Support Center) share tips on how to wisely manage your time and money. (Shown right)

“You have to be very careful that you don’t avail yourself of business cash for personal expenditures.” -Steve Franciosa

“You have got to pull some time, especially in the beginning, to manage your own business that does not involve doing your thing.”

-Dart Westphal


Building our Local Community
Community Arts Tuesday

In coming to Westchester Square, another BCA goal is to support economic and cultural vitality by bringing people to the area. It is in this spirit that BCA has introduced Community Arts Tuesday. A free monthly networking event at our new building, it is an effort to connect the arts with local businesses and residents. Visitors meet our Westchester Square neighbors and experience some of the borough’s best artistic talent.

Our inaugural event in January (pictured above) featured live jazz music, performed by Grammy-award winning bassist John Benitez and his jazz quartet. Our latest event provided an open mic for local poets and spoken word artists to share their work. Please check bronxarts.org for details on upcoming Community Arts Tuesdays. All are welcome to stop by!


BCA Around the Neighborhood
BCA and the Huntington Free Library
Once a month from October through April, BCA brings a free craft workshop to Huntington Free Library, bringing families together in a fun arts setting. Parents and their kids create a range of items -- everything from crocheted flower pins to stuffed Halloween ghosts to recycle art (pictured right, in an April workshop with artist Star Nigro).
 
BCA and the Owen Dolen Recreation Center
The Owen Dolen Recreation Center, a cultural staple in the Westchester Square community, works with BCA to host programs for youth, families and senior citizens. Fashion doll shows, cultural celebrations, and arts & crafts workshops are some of the events BCA has sponsored here.
 
5th Annual Fair at the Square

An event that keeps on growing with each year, this year's Annual Fair at the Square is set to take place on May 11. The Fair is a chance for local businesses to promote themselves and for families to enjoy free fun and entertainment, including:

  • Kids Games & Activities Area
  • Art Exhibits
  • A Variety of Foods and Vendors
  • An All Day Concert Series
  • Contests, Raffles and Give-Aways

BCA has been a proud co-sponsor of this event since 2009.

 
Holiday Concerts at the Hutch Metro Center
BCA also helps sponsor free lunchtime concerts every December at the Hutch Metro Cafe. This past year, soprano singer Melissa Primavera and the Robert Silverman Jazz and Blues Quartet were featured performers. The series aims to promote our borough's musical talent and also includes a bronxArtworks Artisans display of unique holiday gift items.

These and other Westchester Square events are made possible with funding by: the Association of Merchants and Business Professionals of Westchester Square, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the City of New York Parks and Recreation, Hudson Valley Bank, Hutchinson Metro Center, the National Endowment for the Arts, NYC Council Member James Vacca, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, NYC Department of Youth and Community Development, NYC Department of Small Business Services/Avenue NYC, the New York Community Trust, the New York State Council on the Arts, Robert A. Bowne Foundation, Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation, Scherman Foundation, Simon Bolivar Foundation, and the Westchester Square Business Improvement District.


BCA Brings a Vision of Innovation & Growth
in its Move to the Neighborhood
 
Fair @ The Square, co-sponsored by BCA and the Westchester Square Merchants and Businesses, brings multitudes of people into the Westchester Square section of the Bronx every May. Some gather just to hang out and enjoy the day (l.) while younger groups create their own art at the afternoon craft tables (r.).
 

 

Located at the intersection of East Tremont and Westchester Avenues in the Central Bronx, the Westchester Square neighborhood is active and coming alive. Since the early 1990s, Westchester Square 's merchants have suffered from the absence of a major anchor retailer to draw consumers to the area. The Bronx Council on the Arts plans to help fill this void by making Westchester Square its new home. BCA began renovations at 2700 East Tremont Avenue in 2012. BCA has also begun to infuse arts & cultural programming to foster economic revitalization and enhance the vitality of the district

Westchester Square possesses numerous assets that facilitate artistic and cultural growth. These resources make the Square attractive to those seeking arts programs and services, bringing many new potential customers to the area's business community.

A few key features are:

Public transportation -- about eight different bus lines converge on the Square,
as well  as the #6 subway line;
The Huntington Free Library, a landmarked building with strong historical significance;
Owen Dolen Recreation Center and Park and surrounding area, which are undergoing a $2 million renovation;
Changing demographics that include growing numbers of Latinos, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, etc. (i.e., an ethnic diversity that BCA cultural programs can draw to the Square's business district).

New Westchester Square BID proposal was approved unanimously by the City Planning Commission and now goes to the City Council for their review and process and final public hearing.

   

Free outdoor concerts at the Owen Dolen Recreation Center (l.) continue to bring fresh young crowds to the area while free indoor craft activities at the Huntington Free Library (r.) are enjoyed by neighborhood groups of all ages.
 

NYC Council Member James Vacca (l.) is surrounded by young supporters as he joins us at a recent Westchester Square event while an outside craft table (r.) enthralls the young ones and their families.
 

In Westchester Square, BCA will replicate the success it's had in bringing audiences and visitors to the South Bronx Cultural Corridor (thanks in large part to the Bronx Culture Trolley). This success has been predicated on the integration of arts and culture with sound business development practices. Likewise, BCA will aim to actively help build a Westchester Square where local artists and cultural programs not only spur economic development, but also raise the area's profile as a great place to live and do business.

Furthermore, BCA will not be alone in these efforts. The Bronx Business Alliance will assist with fundraising and small business development. The following partners will also support BCA's mission by reaching out to the community and/or cultivating new programs:

Association of Merchants and Business Professionals of Westchester Square

The group works toward the stabilization, commercial revitalization and economic growth of the commercial corridor, and the surrounding community, of Westchester Square . These efforts will be fortified by the Westchester Square Business Improvement District, which will be implemented upon final approval.

 

Westchester Square/Zerega Improvement Organization

A non-profit founded in 1990 by a group of Westchester Square parents with young children. Over the years -- via advocacy, an arts and crafts program, and special events -- they have taken on the role of community activists, addressing major issues that affect the lives of local children and neighbors.

 

Office of Council Member James Vacca

Council member Vacca, representing the Westchester Square area, has vigorously aided in efforts to increase social capital in the Square by providing funds for arts programming and activities.

 

Office of NY Congressman Joseph Crowley

Congressman Crowley has been a strong proponent of BCA's move to the Square, and he has played an active role in making the move a reality.

 

NYC Parks & Recreation Owen Dolen Center

A focal point for community programs and celebrations, the space will play an even larger role after its $2 million renovation, which is set to be completed by 2012.

 

Huntington Free Library

A New York City landmark, this turn-of-the-century library houses materials on Bronx history and hosts various BCA workshops.

 

Hutchinson Metro Center

The 42-acre development site features more than 30 business tenants and thousands of employees; the center has been home to free, seasonal lunchtime concerts in past summers, something that BCA will continue.

 

Bronx Underground

The Bronx Underground is a DIY (do it yourself) booking and promotions company based in the Bronx . Its mission is to bring new live music to the Bronx -- "music by the kids, for the kids."

 

The East Bronx History Forum

The East Bronx History Forum meets monthly to discuss Bronx history.

 

Lehman High School

A public high school with more than 4,000 students, Lehman H.S. is located right outside Westchester Square . The student body serves as a potential market for Square merchants and arts programs.


(this map is currently being updated)

 

Archive of programs

at Westchester Square

 

 

PAST & CURRENT
SUPPORTERS

ccc

Apple Bank for Savings

Association of Merchants
& Business Professionals
of Westchester Square

Avenue NYC Department
of Small Business Services

Bronx Business Alliance

Bronx Underground

City of New York Parks
& Recreation

Huntington Free Library
& Reading Room

Hutchinson Metro Center

JPMorgan Chase Foundation

Lehman High School

New York Public Library

NYC Department of
Cultural Affairs

NYC Council Member
Annabel Palma

NYC Council Member
James Vacca

NYS Council on the Arts

NYS Assemblyman
Michael Benedetto

NYS Senator Jeffrey D. Klein

Scherman Foundation Inc.

Westchester Square Merchants Association

Westchester Square / Zerega Improvement Organization


INFORMATION

718-931-9500 x24

 

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