Casita Maria Presents The 11th Annual South Bronx Culture Festival

Published on April 06, 2022, 1:58 am
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Casita Maria presents the South Bronx Culture Festival 2022 with the generous support of Councilmember Rafael Salamanca Jr. Since 2011, the Festival has celebrated the best of South Bronx arts and culture through an annual visual art and performance series anchored by a new theme each year. This year’s theme, ¡Yo Soy La Salsa! literally translates to, “I am the Sauce”, but is understood to mean, I am the root, the rhythm, the beat, the spice, the music. If each individual is the “sauce”, then collectively the community that attends the Festival is the culture we uplift and experience joy with through music, dance and visual art. The outdoor performances will take place June 3-5 at Father Gigante Plaza in front of St. Athanasius Church, 878 Tiffany St, Bronx, NY 10459. A new mural, designed in collaboration with Young Artists of Casita Maria and Puerto Rican artists Colectivo Moriviví, will be painted from June 12-23 with an unveiling on June 24. Everyone is welcome to attend all events in person for free and to also watch the Festival events broadcast by our media partner BronxNet Television.

Bilingual Celebrity MCs and BronxNet hosts, Rhina Valentin & Javier E. Gomez, along with DJs Christian Mártir, Boston Chery and Grandwizzard Theodore will provide the throughline for 11 performance groups representing genres such as Argentine tango, mariachi, roots drum and dance, latin jazz and of course salsa! Headliners include, freestyle pioneer and classic Salsa singer Brenda K Starr, two-time Grammy award winner and Fania Allstar famed Eddie Montalvo and & his Orquestra, and Casita Maria’s own 9-piece jazz ensemble BronX BandA featuring seven time Grammy award winning artist Arturo O’Farrill. 

Our partnerships with community based organizations help us to present all aged performers at different points in their careers. Young artists from Hunts Point Alliance for Children will be presenting Shakespearean monologues related to music and art. The Afro Latin Jazz Alliance’s pre-professional group Fat Afro Latin Jazz Cats is a 25 piece orchestra that plays repertoire from the Afro Latin Jazz orchestra’s catalog and Bronx Arts Ensemble will present culturally responsive performing arts by Bodoma Garifuna Culture Band. Additional partners provide educational information including the New York Fire Department, Urban Health Plan and the New York Public Library. Lastly, Bronx Night Market will present 12 Bronx based food vendors to keep audiences energized to dance the night away. 

Use of the plaza was kindly donated by Sebco Development Inc.

Schedule of Performers and Events

Friday, June 03, 2022

03:30- 06:00 p.m.: New York Public Library Book Mobile

03:30 – 07:00 p.m. (Food Vendors) Bronx Night Market 

03:30 – 04:30 p.m. (DJ) Christian Mártir

04:00 – 04:15 p.m.: (Dance) Young Artists of Casita Maria

04:30 – 05:15 p.m. (Argentine Tango) Los Chantas Quartet and dancers Orlando Reyes Ibarra, Carolina Jaurena, Marcelo Mesa and Adriana Salgado Neira 

05:15 – 06:00 p.m. (DJ) Christian Mártir

06:00 -07:00 p.m. (Salsa) Eddie Montalvo & his Orquestra / Cache Studios dancers

Saturday, June 04, 2022

Throughout The Day: Hunts Point Alliance for Children Youth Monologues

1-6pm: New York Public Library Book Mobile

1-7: (Food Vendors) Bronx Night Market 

1-1:45: (DJ) Boston Chery

1:45-2:30: (Roots Drum & Dance) Legacy Women

2:30-3: (DJ) Boston Chery

3-3:45: Bronx Arts Ensemble Presents Bodoma Garifuna Culture Band

3:45-4:15: (DJ) Boston Chery

4:15-5: Mariachi Real de México with Ballet Folklorico Mexicano de Nueva York

5-5:30: (DJ) Boston Chery

5:30-7: (Salsa) Brenda K Starr / Cache Studios dancers

Sunday, June 05, 2022

1-5pm: (Food Vendors) Bronx Night Market 

1-2: (DJ) Grandwizzard Theodore

2-3: Fat Afro Latin Jazz Cats

3-3:30: (DJ) Grandwizzard Theodore

3:30-5: (Jazz) BronX BandA featuring Arturo O’Farrill

FDNY will have a fire truck and Smoke House available for tours at select times throughout the weekend.

To learn more visit:

Rain Location: Casita Maria Auditorium, 928 Simpson Street, Bronx, NY 10459

About the Presenter

Since 1934, Casita Maria has served as a cultural and community anchor for thousands of South Bronx and East Harlem young people and their families. As New York City’s first and oldest Latino-serving community organization, Casita Maria showcases and champions the community’s artistic and cultural legacy, channeling the power of this unique heritage to educate, inspire, and encourage young people to become exceptional artists, scholars, and leaders. Dedicated to enriching the lives of youth and families in the community, Casita Maria offers shared cultural, art, and educational experiences including free after school programs and public art programs. Casita Maria builds an active South Bronx community by showcasing the beauty, life, and creativity embedded in every block. 

Casita Maria online:


Instagram: @casitamariabx

Twitter: @casitamariabx


About the Artists

Ballet Folklorico Mexicano de Nueva York (BFMNY) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to stimulate public interest in Mexican history and culture promoting the art of traditional folkloric dance. It aims to make Mexican history and culture more widely accessible to a diverse audience, educate the public about Mexican traditions and build a more culturally diverse society through dance performances, exhibitions, workshops and educational programs.

The Bodoma Garifuna Culture Band is made up of nine members who came together in 2002 to celebrate their heritage through ancestral-African customs through music.

At 14, Brenda K Starr met Harry Belafonte on an audition for the musical, “Beat Street”. In the midst of negotiating her first deal, she was intercepted by producer Arthur Baker who offered a recording deal on the Mirage record label. In the late 80’s Brenda had many hits including the Grammy-nominated # 1 pop ballad “I Still Believe”. The first, which was re-recorded and turned, once more, into a mega hit by one of Brenda’s backup singers at the time, the international Superstar Mariah Carey. At the same time that Carey was working as Brenda’s back up vocalist. Soon after that Brenda’s Spanish influence began to emerge. Her first Spanish album release “Te Sigo Esperando”, was certified Gold then Platinum by the RIAA. It was followed by three Spanish language albums, “No Lo Voy A Olvidar”, “Petalos de Fuego” and the critically acclaimed “Temptation”, which in 2002 garnered two Latin Billboard Awards for Hot Latin Track of the Year-Vocal Duo and Tropical /Salsa Airplay track of the Year-Female. The singer continued her career moving into her native Salsa roots. Soon she was a star on the Sony label, with a major hit in which she sang with internationally acclaimed crooners like Victor Manuelle and Tito Nieves.

BronX BandA is Casita Maria’s latest collaboration with Grammy Award-winning artist Arturo O’Farrill. This nine-piece improvisational ensemble is bridging the gap between performers and audiences by weaving original jazz creations into the daily life of the community. Compositions and performances integrate local musicians and collaborative artists, melding traditional jazz with the sounds and stories of the community.

Juan Portella is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Cache Studios. Affectionately known by his students as “El Profesor” or “ El Maestro”; his innate ability to instill confidence into his students as he skillfully passes along his knowledge of dance technique, is what allows everyone the ability to learn and grasp his concepts instantly. His expertise in timing, technique, and movement have made him a highly sought after master instructor for his energetic and impactful classes/workshops.

Fat Afro Latin Jazz Cats are a pre-professional training ensemble made up of young people from across the New York Metropolitan Area. Students audition to join the ensembles that play music from the library of the Grammy Award-winning Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra under the tutelage of the orchestra. To learn more, please visit here.

​​​Carolina Jaurena was bound at an early age to follow a desire to perform. She has been teaching and performing for over 20 years, the height of her professional career is marked by her role as a primary dancer in the feature film Random Hearts directed by Sidney Pollack. 

Legacy Women is an all-women Afro-Caribbean roots drum and dance troupe that plays traditional genres of Bomba from Puerto Rico and Palos from Dominican Republic with an urban twist. Through original songs that advance women’s dreams, challenge oppression and promote healing, Legacy Women promote joy and connection for all audiences. For more information, please visit here.

Los Chantas are a multinational tango ensemble based in New York City. Their repertoire draws from the great Argentine tango tradition from the guardia vieja to the present. The group has been playing in milongas, clubs, theaters, and other venues in and around New York since its inception in 2002. With original arrangements of songs by Gardel, Troilo, Salgán, Piazzolla, and others, and a playful, improvised style, Los Chantas infuse classic tangos with new life and unique flavor. To learn more, please visit here.

Mariachi Real De Mexico was founded in 1991 by Ramon Ponce, Sr and Ramon Jr. The band is considered to be the most important and sought after mariachi ensemble in New York and the North East of the United States. They have performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, Constitution Hall, Kennedy Center and More. In 2002 they founded The Mariachi Academy of New York a non-profit organization devoted to preserve the beautiful tradition and music of mariachi for future generations. To learn more, please visit here.

Eddie Montalvo is a two time Grammy winner & Grammy nominee in the Salsa genre. He has recorded over 250 Salsa albums as a recording artist with Willie colon, Celia Cruz, Johnny Pacheco, Hector Lavoe, Ruben Blades, Pete Conde Rodríguez, Juan Luis Guerra, Paul Simón-( the capeman), Fania Allstars, Puerto Rico Allstars, Gilberto Santarosa, Adalberto Santiago, Hector Casanova to name a few. Montalvo is endorsed by Latin Percussion and has his own signature line of conga drums. He is also endorsed by Remo Conga Heads. He has recorded two productions (CD) with his Orquestra. The titles of the CDs are Desde Nueva York a Puerto Rico and Señor Tambo. Montalvo performed in the movie El Cantante with Jennifer López & Marc Anthony. To learn more, please visit here.

Mural Team

Colectivo Moriviví is a women driven artistic collective that has been producing public art and artivism since 2013. Their artistic production consists of muralism, community-led muralism, and protest performance/actions. They believe that through artivism they can promote consciousness on social issues, producing what they call the collective “imaginario” (imaginary/imagery). The collective “imaginario” is the imagery they build in their artwork that resonates with Puerto Rican narratives strengthening a collective memory. Their intention is to make community and that their history is not denied, that’s why they use public art to achieve it.

About the Partners

Afro Latin Jazz Alliance (ALJA) was founded in 2007 by GRAMMY®-award winning, pianist and composer Arturo O’Farrill. In early 2007, O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra (ALJO) left Jazz at Lincoln Center to pursue the twin goals of developing new audiences for big band Latin jazz and creating a robust educational program for young performers. With the support of a group of prominent leaders from the worlds of jazz and Latin culture, O’Farrill launched ALJA to serve as a non-profit organization that could advance both the performance and educational aspects of this uniquely Pan-American art form. To learn more, please visit here.

Bronx Arts Ensemble brings music and related arts to Bronx schools and neighborhoods. We contribute to the cultures of our Bronx communities through live performances and innovative arts education that stimulate creativity, imagination, and aspirations. To learn more, please visit here.

BronxNet Community Television provides programming and opportunities to inspire, educate, inform, engage and promote community voices for the Bronx and beyond. To learn more, please visit

Bronx Night Market enhances the borough’s food scene by producing world-class, affordable, inclusive, and fun events. The are a small, diverse, majority female-operated team that’s passionate about creating fun and informed experiences for the “love-to-eat” community. We aim to showcase the vibrancy of the Bronx and its convergence with food and culture and create valuable opportunities for more micro-businesses and young entrepreneurs. At just four years old, Bronx Night Market, a brand under the MASC Hospitality Group, has become one of the most recognized brands in the Bronx and greater NY area. To learn more, please visit here.

Hunts Point Alliance for Children expands the hopes and potential of Hunts Point children—nurturing young scholars along their path to college or career by unifying their diverse collective of community organizations to connect every family with the resources they deserve. To learn more, please visit here.

New York Fire Department’s Fire Safety Education Program’s goal is to eliminate residential fire deaths in New York City. Fire deaths have dropped steadily during the past decades and studies have shown that there is a direct link to strong public education programs. The goal of FDNY instructors is to continually educate the public with critical life saving strategies that focus on fire prevention, with a special focus on the City’s most vulnerable populations and at-risk communities. To lear more, please visit here.

For 125 years, The New York Public Library has been a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 92 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library receives approximately 16 million visits through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the library here.

In an attempt to fight the blight and deterioration that had plagued the Hunts Point community of the Bronx, the group known as SEBCO (South East Bronx Community Organization) was formed in the fall of 1968 under the visionary leadership of Father Louis R. Gigante. SEBCO is responsible for the development and construction of over 6,000 new or rehabilitated housing units in approximately 450 buildings throughout the South Bronx. SEBCO has grown from a small group of community activists into a sizable and sophisticated development company with over 300 employees. From modest origins, SEBCO has contributed greatly to the City of New York by providing jobs, commerce, recreational facilities and of course, housing for its low and moderate-income residents. To learn more, please visit here.

Urban Health Plan is a not-for-profit system of twelve health centers, one mental health center, twelve school-based health centers and three part-time clinics, located in New York City’s South Bronx, Corona, Queens and Central Harlem communities. Founded in 1974 by Dr. Richard Izquierdo, a local physician, We provide care to patients, regardless of their ability to pay. UHP provides comprehensive and affordable primary and specialty health care services to all the communities we serve. These include the Latino, African-American, South Asian and West African communities, as well as other emerging communities. To learn more, please visit here.


Casita Maria

About Casita Maria Center For Arts & Education

Casita Maria Center For Arts & Education is the first and oldest Latino 501(c)(3) charity in NYC, founded in 1934.

The South Bronx-based community arts and educational organization presents diverse, contemporary visual and performing arts and education programming for all ages.

Casita Maria creates a safe and welcoming community, enriching and uplifting youth and families towards success, through shared cultural, art and educational experiences and programs.


Casita Maria Center For Arts & Education
928 Simpson Street
Bronx, NY 10459

Tel.: 718-589-2230


Jonas Bronck is the pseudonym under which we publish and manage the content and operations of The Bronx Daily.™ | - the largest daily news publication in the borough of "the" Bronx with over 1.5 million annual readers. Publishing under the alias Jonas Bronck is our humble way of paying tribute to the person, whose name lives on in the name of our beloved borough.