Simpson Street Stories

Published on May 20, 2019, 7:30 pm
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Casita Maria Center For Arts & Education and Council Member Rafael Salamanca, Jr. present the South Bronx Culture Trail Festival 2019 retroACTIVO. As part of this annual Festival, we honor and celebrate community through Simpson Street Stories, a group exhibition featuring artwork by: BG183 Tats Cru, Chen Carrasco, Abigail Montes, William Sarokin, Benny Bonilla interviewed by Nicolás Dumit Estévez and Luis Lara Malvacías. Each artists’ contribution to the show reflects their relationship to the neighborhood as a son, daughter, or father of Simpson Street or as a Casita Maria alum. Historical and present day stories will be shared through video, archival and contemporary photography, painting, mixed media, and ephemera. A companion exhibition, They Will Remember Us, will hang in the Young Artist Gallery. The show features a photojournalistic journey of Simpson Street expressed through street photography, portraiture, and landscape created by Casita Maria middle school program participants.

For the exhibition, artists were invited to share their unique stories and relationship to the neighborhood each through a different artform. Nicolás Dumit Estévez and Luis Lara Malvacías will present an excerpted interview they conducted with Casita Maria alum and percussionist Benny Bonilla in 2015. The interview was conducted when they were Artists in Residence at Casita Maria. In the interview Bonilla, born the same year Casita Maria was founded in 1934, lovingly recounts his experience attending Casita’s after school program in 1944 when it was located in El Barrio. He shares how he learned at Casita to be compassionate and get along with children from different cultural backgrounds. Life lessons that he carried with him as his family moved to an apartment located at 1061 Simpson Street in the Bronx by 1946. This apartment happened to be located up the block from what was originally an Orthodox Jewish school and later became the new Bronx home of Casita Maria at 928 Simpson Street in 1961. Bonilla went on to become a well respected musician playing with Pete Rodriguez and others and a city employee working for the NYC Parks Department.

The exhibit will be on view between the dates of May 24 and August 16, 2019.

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


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