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Press Release

NYCEDC and DCLA Seeking Operator to Develop Immigrant Research and Performing Arts Center in Northern Manhattan

Sep 04 2019

The Center Is Part of Inwood NYC, a Neighborhood Plan That Will Deliver Over $200 Million in Investments to Enrich Inwood Community

NEW YORK, NY—New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA), today released a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) for a nonprofit organization to design, construct and operate a new Immigrant Research and Performing Arts Center (The Center) in Northern Manhattan. The Center is part of the Inwood NYC neighborhood plan, which was approved by the City Council last August.

The RFEI can be downloaded here.

“As the Inwood community continues to grow, we’re thrilled to support local organizations and artists that reflect the rich culture that defines this neighborhood,” said NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett. “The Immigrant Research and Performing Arts Center will deliver state-of-the-art cultural space in Northern Manhattan, providing a permanent home to honor the vibrancy and history of immigrant contributions to our cultural fabric. I want to thank Council Member Rodriguez for his continued leadership and support, and I look forward to making this project a reality.”

“Inwood is home to a vibrant cultural community, and we’re thrilled to take this step toward providing this community with a new anchor space that will attract and engage visitors from across the city and beyond for years to come,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. “We thank Council Member Rodriguez for his dedicated advocacy on behalf of his constituents, and we look forward to working with stakeholders in the area for years to come to bring this exciting project to fruition.”

The City has committed $15M to fund the acquisition, design, and construction of a future facility that is expected to include performing arts space designed to allow a variety of programming, staging for performances, space for local arts and cultural groups as well as storage, dressing rooms, classrooms, rehearsal space and administrative offices. The facility will also include a space programmed by New York Public Library (NYPL) for the public to research historical and contemporary materials that reflect the immigrant experience in New York City. The space is expected to provide access to NYPL’s major research collections held at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Library for the Performing Arts, and the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.

Once complete, the City will own and operate the facility and it will be included in the DCLA Energy Coalition, a group of cultural organizations on City-owned property under DCLA’s jurisdiction that receive City funding to cover energy costs. The goals of the Energy Coalition align with the City’s CreateNYC cultural plan, which supports a long-term strategy of strengthening NYC’s cultural sector through more equitable City funding.

The Northern Manhattan Immigrant Research and Performing Arts Center will be the first cultural institution dedicated to the immigrant experience in New York City. This center will be the first of its kind in the nation to research and celebrate the contributions of all immigrants. I am confident that this center will shed light onto the abundance of culture and language that makes New York City one the greatest cities in the nation,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez.

“The Immigration Research and Performing Arts Center will bring rehearsing and performing art space, classrooms, and a new program managed by the New York Public Library for the public to learn about the Immigrant experience in New York and the United States. The center will also include many collaborations with the Dominican, Puerto Rican, Mexican Institutes, and all other Centers at CUNY and other colleges and universities. At a time when immigrants are constantly under attack by the current Administration, this cultural institute will be a beacon of hope and safe haven for millions of immigrants. I am proud to be working alongside City agencies like the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the New York Public Library to bring these valuable resources to my community.”

The history and strength of New York City is defined by our collective immigrant experience,” said Iris Weinshall, Chief Operating Officer at The New York Public Library. “The New York Public Library is proud to offer visitors to IRPAC and the Inwood Library insight and information into their own unique background and its role in the development of our vibrant City.”

“Inwood’s vibrant community is home to a thriving ecosystem of literary, visual, performing, and cinematic arts, and I’m happy that more people will now get to experience it,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I thank NYCEDC, DCLA and the NYPL for engaging the community in the ongoing process to create a space for residents to celebrate the culture and diversity in this growing community.”

“We appreciate the efforts of NYCEDC, DCLA and NYPL in supporting the performing arts and research of the immigrant experience in upper Manhattan,” said Richard Lewis, Chair of Manhattan Community Board 12. “We look forward to the establishment of this Center and working with local stakeholders and the Administration to have it located where it can have the greatest impact and programmed so that it can be a tremendous resource to the surrounding community.”

“A cultural space in Inwood that is dedicated to celebrating the legacies and contributions of those who live in the neighborhood will empower the community to recognize individuality while valuing these as inherent components as a whole,” said Dr. Ramona Hernandez, Director of CUNY Dominican Studies Institute.

IRPAC is a key component of Inwood NYC, a neighborhood plan to strengthen affordable housing and deliver over $200 million in public investments to ensure Inwood remains an affordable, attractive neighborhood for working and immigrant families. The Inwood NYC Action Plan was the result of over three years of extensive community engagement led by NYCEDC.

Key highlights of the action plan include:

  • Preserving and protecting at least 2,500 affordable homes in Inwood and Washington Heights with new resources to prevent displacement and keep apartment buildings affordable.
  • Creating an estimated 1,600 affordable homes through 100 percent affordable projects on public sites and MIH requirements on private sites.
  • Providing access to workforce training and jobs, youth programming and resources for local businesses cultural organizations.
  • Modernizing area infrastructure and improving streets to make them safer for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Rebuilding and renovating existing waterfront parks to meet the need for public amenities and recreation.

NYCEDC will host an information session in Northern Manhattan, and proposals are due on December 19, 2019. The date, time, and location for the information session will be provided in the coming weeks. Questions regarding this RFP should be directed to [email protected].

New York City Economic Development Corporation creates shared prosperity across New York City’s five boroughs by strengthening neighborhoods and creating good jobs. NYCEDC works with and for communities to provide them with the resources they need to thrive, and we invest in projects that increase sustainability, support job growth, develop talent, and spark innovation to strengthen the City’s competitive advantage. To learn more about our work and initiatives, please visit us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

About NYC Department of Cultural Affairs
The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) is dedicated to supporting and strengthening New York City’s vibrant cultural life. DCLA works to promote and advocate for quality arts programming and to articulate the contribution made by the cultural community to the City’s vitality. The Department represents and serves non-profit cultural organizations involved in the visual, literary, and performing arts; public-oriented science and humanities institutions including zoos, botanical gardens, and historic and preservation societies; and creative artists at all skill levels who live and work within the City’s five boroughs. DCLA also provides donated materials for arts programs offered by the public schools and cultural and social service groups, and commissions permanent works of public art at City-funded construction projects throughout the five boroughs. For more information, visit