Arts and Social Change
In partnership with PEN America and the NYC Literary Action Coalition, Bronx Council on the Arts presents a moderated panel discussion with Bronx-based artists sharing how they have leveraged their own creative voices to address structural inequities and inspire social change. On Wednesday, May 18, 2022, from 6 to 8 p.m. ET at Longwood Art Gallery, Hostos Community College, PEN America’s community outreach manager Alejandro Heredia will moderate a conversation with internationally renowned movement artist Ana “Rokafella” Garcia and internationally exhibited visual artist Laura Alvarez in a broad discussion about the intersection of arts and social justice. How do the arts lead to change? How do you maintain a social justice perspective in your arts practice? What does it mean to be an artivist? How do we create more spaces, resources, and partnership opportunities for folks working at the intersection of art and activism/community building?
Ana “Rokafella” Garcia is an NYC native who has represented women in Hip-hop dance professionally over the past three decades. She co-founded Full Circle Prod Inc – NYC’s only non-profit Break Dance Theater company with her husband, veteran Bboy Kwikstep, generating theater pieces, original poetry, and local dance-related events. She performs music based on her experiences growing up in Hip-hop’s birthplace and has had her poetry published in a Bronx Poets anthology. In addition to directing the documentary about Bgirls (women who Breakdance) “All the Ladies Say,” she is hired internationally to judge breakdance competitions based on her mastery of the classic Hip-hop dance style. Presently an adjunct professor at The New School and a Hip hop dance instructor at Peridance Studios in NYC and NJPAC, she motivates aspiring dancers to understand and learn the business side of being an independent artist.
Laura Alvarez is an illustrator, author, designer, visual artist, muralist, community activist and educator. In NYC, she juggles her city job, her artist career, and her commitment to her Bronx community. Laura is the Co-Founder, Vice-President and COO of BxArts Factory, a non-profit organization whose mission is to make art accessible to everyone in the Bronx. She is also part of the Board of Directors of Artbridge, a non-profit that empowers local artists to transform prominent urban spaces into gallery-quality exhibitions, focusing on New York City’s 300+ miles of construction fencing and scaffolding. She has received several awards and grants that she has used to promote the arts among Bronx youths and to create work that starts a conversation about ecology, womanhood, racism, tradition, inequality and immigration.