June 13, 2022 — New York, NY — ArtBridge, in partnership with NYC nonprofit affordable housing developer CAMBA Housing Ventures, Inc. (CHV), is pleased to announce Bronx Communal Spaces, a public art exhibition featuring works by Bronx-based artists Laura Alvarez, Blanka Amezkua, Trevon Blondet, Matthew Burcaw, Dennis RedMoon Darkeem, Carlos Wilfredo Encarnación, and James Martocci at CHV 202nd and 203rd Street — a sustainable, affordable, and supportive housing development in the Bedford Park neighborhood for families, formerly homeless households, seniors, and veterans.
Centered on celebrating the shared spaces that bring Bronxites together and enrich the local community, Bronx Communal Spaces — made possible with financial support from CHV — is part of City Canvas, an initiative of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs that transforms the city’s temporary protective structures into platforms for artwork driven by collaboration between local artists and communities.
“New York has a whole lot of buildings, and transforming an affordable housing development like this into a platform for local artists to exhibit their work in the Bronx is an amazing way to reflect the creativity, energy, and vitality of our city in our built environment,” said NYC Cultural Affairs Commissioner Laurie Cumbo. “Congratulations to ArtBridge and the participating artists on the installation of Bronx Communal Spaces. The City is proud to partner on the City Canvas initiative and provide opportunities like this for public artwork to engage and inspire New Yorkers in every corner of our city. This is what cultural democracy looks like!”
“We are thrilled to collaborate with CHV to showcase the works of seven talented Bronx artists. Our goal is not only to beautify the City’s 300+ miles of construction fencing — we want to showcase local artists, while exploring and celebrating themes and cultures that are specific to the neighborhood of each exhibition. With CHV’s support, we were able to succeed in this mission,” said Stephen Pierson, Executive Director of ArtBridge.
“Our continued partnership with ArtBridge to feature local Bronx artwork on the construction site for CHV 202nd and 203rd Street will add beauty and enliven the area as we work to bring much-needed affordable and supportive housing to the community,” Chief Administrative Officer of CHV David A. Rowe added, “we believe a strong connection to the community is critical for the success of our developments, and incorporating art from local artists adds to this connectivity.”
ArtBridge hosted a local artist open call in fall of 2021, seeking applications from artists who reside in the Bronx or who have had a very strong connection to the borough. All submissions were instructed to comply with the central theme: Bronx Communal Spaces, and selected artworks were replicated on vinyl to install on the sidewalk sheds and construction fences at CHV 202nd and 203rd Street. All vinyl art prints will be upcycled into reusable materials to give the vibrant art a new life, ensuring the project is a sustainable resource for the community.
- Laura Alvarez is a Bronx-based, Spanish illustrator, muralist, community activist, and educator, who is interested in the connections people make through her art.
- Blanka Amezkua is a formally trained painter, cultural promoter, educator, and artist in the Bronx, whose practice is deeply influenced by folk art and popular culture.
- Trevon Blondet, is a Bronx native and a visual storyteller who has been taking photographs in his neighborhood since 2013.
- Matthew Burcaw, a Bronx resident for almost two decades, is an artist and educator who has worked with youth and painted several murals in the Bronx.
- Dennis RedMoon Darkeem, an artist of Yamassee Creek-Seminole Native American and African American descent, creates artwork based on the familiar objects that he views through his daily travels.
- Carlos Wilfredo Encarnacion, born and raised in Puerto Rico, is a visual artist and art educator whose work represents his vehicle to connect and communicate aspects of his identity and their coexistence with nostalgia.
- James Martocci, a Bronx resident for more than 30 years, is an artist whose work is inspired by nature and known for his use of a limited monochromatic palette.
Founded in 2008 by artist and designer Rodney Durso, ArtBridge empowers emerging artists to transform prominent urban spaces by turning street-level construction fencing and scaffolding into a canvas for art. ArtBridge works with communities and artists to develop large-scale art exhibitions that represent local narratives and culture. Through the program, ArtBridge’s outdoor exhibitions have provided unprecedented exposure for hundreds of artists, and have covered over 50,000 square feet of public space.
About City Canvas
Announced in September 2018, City Canvas allows nonprofits to install large-scale, temporary artwork on protective construction structures — namely construction fences and sheds — throughout the five boroughs. A 48-month pilot program, City Canvas is a collaboration between NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, the Office of the Mayor, and the NYC Department of Buildings designed to improve the city’s visual landscape, while giving artists and organizations opportunities to bring their work to public space. Learn more about the program HERE.
About CHV 202nd and 203rd Street
CHV 202nd and 203rd Street is an affordable and sustainable LEED Gold development under construction that will feature two 11-story buildings located at 261 East 202nd Street and 270 East 203rd Street. The project will provide 323 units in total. One hundred ninety-four (194) units are designated for seniors, veterans, individuals and families currently living in a NYC Department of Homeless Services shelter. (Fifty percent (50%) of the formerly homeless units have a preference for formerly homeless veteran households.) One hundred twenty-seven (127) residential units are available to households earning between 30% and 80% of the area median income (AMI) and will be leased using the NYC Housing Connect Lottery website. The remaining two units will be reserved for live-in superintendents, one per building.
About CAMBA Housing Ventures, Inc.
CAMBA Housing Ventures, Inc. (CHV) is an NYC award-winning non-profit affordable and supportive housing developer. CHV pairs design excellence and sustainable energy-efficient buildings with CAMBA’s life-changing case management services to provide safe, healthy homes for low-income and formerly homeless individuals. To date, CHV has completed 13 developments totaling more than 2,000 units in New York City. CHV projects represent over $1 billion in public and private investments, over 2 million square feet, and quality, amenity-rich housing for over 7,000 individuals in four of the five boroughs.