A pioneering advocate for cultural equity, the Bronx Council on the Arts (BCA) nurtures the development of a diverse array of artists and arts organizations and builds strong cultural connections in and beyond The Bronx.
We seek to strengthen the cultural ecosystem of The Bronx by nurturing its artists and arts organizations, and by serving the field at large and the public through programs that build connections, provide resources, and advocate for equitable practices.
Founded in 1962, BCA was a pioneer of cultural equity in The Bronx. We remain committed to those core values of community, service, and inclusivity, which we define as follows.
- Community: The notion of community is BCA’s guiding light. Within the creative ecosystem of The Bronx, community is both a context and an environment. It is a sense of trust, belonging, safety, and caring for each other; it is the feeling of shared experiences and a sense of shared history; it is an individual and collective sense that we can inspire each other and influence our environment. We believe this treasured feeling is fundamental to hope and human existence, and to all authentic and transformative human interaction.
- Service: As a local arts council, our mission puts service at the apex of our value system. Being “in service” means providing programs that are responsive rather than prescriptive; programs that nourish, build capacity, and advocate for the borough’s creative community rather than dictate, define, or impose solutions. Especially as a funder, we don’t deal in answers – we support creative exploration of the questions.
- Inclusivity: Mindful of historic and ongoing inequities, we believe in creating environments that are nurturing, open, and welcoming to all. We respectfully acknowledge the paradox that by serving one we may exclude another, and will constantly seek to redress any exclusions. We recognize the need for greater resources to actively include the multitude of languages, abilities, and cultures we seek to serve. And we honor the nested communities of The Bronx, in all their intersectionality, while affirming our shared humanity.
Founded by visionary community leaders in 1962, the Bronx Council on the Arts was a pioneer in advancing cultural equity in The Bronx. From our early beginnings as a presenter of affordable arts programming in select Bronx neighborhoods, we have grown into a cultural hub that serves the entire creative ecosystem of the borough.
Then as now, we focus on supporting the work of underrepresented groups – especially artists of color, women, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Through this lens, we offer affordable programs for seniors and youth, and provide direct services to over 1,000 artists and 250 community-based arts groups each year.
Our programs are always evolving, in constant dialogue with the ever-changing needs of the borough and the complexity of its creative ecosystem. Early keystone programs included the Cultural Trolley and the Bronx Writers Center; current long-running programs include the historic Longwood Art Gallery @ Hostos and our comprehensive Grants Portfolio. Past Executive Directors include Deirdre Scott and William “Bill” Aguado. On the cusp of its sixth decade, BCA is proud to have helped launch, support, and sustain the careers of hundreds of artists and cultural organizations throughout the borough.
Who We Are
The Bronx Council on the Arts (BCA) is dedicated to advancing cultural equity in The Bronx. From creative placemaking and arts advocacy to the provision of services for artists and arts organizations, as well as programming for children and seniors, BCA was the first organization in The Bronx to focus equally on supporting local artists, serving the community, and catalyzing relationships between the two.
Since its founding in 1962, BCA has focused on the work of underrepresented groups, especially artists of color, women, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. We provide direct services to over 1,000 artists and 250 community-based arts groups each year, and thanks to our granting programs, we are able to touch the lives of over 50,000 audience members.
Over the years, BCA has adapted its programs to serve the ever-changing needs of the borough. From our roots as a provider of affordable arts programming in a handful of Bronx neighborhoods, we have evolved into a cultural hub that now serves the entire borough. In 1981, we began adding to our core programs with the launch of dedicated initiatives for which we are now well known – Longwood Arts Project, the area’s first artist-led and community-based gallery space for visual artists (1981); four distinct city- and state-funded grant programs including the prestigious Bronx Recognizes its Own (BRIO) Award, which provides direct support to artists and small arts organizations (1989); and an array of technical assistance initiatives that provide resources for artists.
Over its 55-year history, BCA has launched the careers of thousands of artists and has helped sustain and support dozens of artist collectives and cultural organizations. A new chapter of our history began in 2015 with the acquisition of our first program space: a 6,750sq ft. facility in Westchester Square, donated by Chase Bank. Our $6M capital campaign was underwritten entirely by city and borough agencies, testifying to the deep and historic impact that BCA has had on the cultural life of the city. We have opened our doors in the spring of 2019 and hope to have a “Grand Opening” event in the Spring of 2021.
Executive Director, BAAD! Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance
Co-Chairperson and Secretary
Partnership Liaison Manager, NYC Department of Homeless Services
Treasurer - Chair Finance Committee
Assurance Director Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP
Vice President, Wingo NYC Fundraising Studio
Participatory Budgeting Coordinator for The Bronx at the NYC Civic Engagement Commission
Development Officer, Hispanic Society Museum and Library
Cathy M. Kaplan
Retired Partner, Sidley Austin LLP
Executive Director, Center for Bronx Nonprofits
Executive Director, Bronx Chamber of Commerce
Founder/CEO, La Reina Del Barrio Inc.
Board Member Emerita
Chief Development Officer, Women’s Sports Foundation
Marketing and Communications Associate
Alexis Marie Montoya
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Longwood Art Gallery @ Hostos Director
The Bronx Council on the Arts operates efficiently with minimal fundraising and administrative costs. Financial efficiency is one indicator of organizational health, and we conduct independent, external assessments of our finances yearly to ensure compliance and best practices. We are committed to a policy of transparency and disclosure by ensuring that important financial information is publicly available.
- Program Expenses
Certified Nonprofit Organization
The Bronx Council on the Arts is a U. S. registered nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and meets all tax-exempt requirements for a charitable organization as stated by the Internal Revenue Service.
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