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Friday, December 19, 2014

Artists ‘IN’ the Bronx bring energy of the borough to their art

By Adam Wisnieski
Posted
Marsol Diaz/The Riverdale Press
Artist Melissa Calderon inhabits her piece, Ecotone 2013, as she chats with Betty Simmons.
Marisol Diaz/The Riverdale Press
Daniel Hauben’s Urban Texture II
Illumination by Marisol Díaz
Marisol Diaz/The Riverdale Press
Patricia Cazorla and Nancy Saleme collaborated on a painted walkway.
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‘We Are Still Here: Art IN the Bronx’ will be open at the Andrew Freedman Home, at 1125 Grand Concourse, through Sunday, March 17. To learn more, visit armoryartsweek.com.

Most of the trees out front are still bare, but it’s already spring at the Andrew Freedman Home. Bright orange, green, purple and blue flowers painted on the concrete pathway lead visitors to the historic villa in Concourse Village. 

The colorful installation by Nancy Saleme and Patrcicia Cazorla, titled “Joyful Path,” is symbolic of how this historic palace on the Grand Concourse has flourished in its second life. 

After opening its wrought iron gates to the public last April (for decades it was restricted to housing elderly, formerly rich residents), the Andrew Freedman Home has been at times an art gallery, a performance space, a day care and even a place for culinary arts — sometimes all at once.

This week the home is celebrating a year of boosting culture in the Boogie Down. Dozens of Bronx artists, as well as 20 Bronx-based arts organizations under the supervision of the Bronx Arts Alliance, are hosting an art show on the main floor of the Freedman Home. “We Are Still Here: Art IN the Bronx” — on display through Sunday, March 17 — is one of the most comprehensive and diverse collections of living and breathing Bronx artists ever.

“The energy is something I’ve never felt before. It’s really down deep. It’s in your soul,”said curator Jeanine Alfieri, who also has sculptures in the show.

Ms. Alfieri said about 85 percent of the 60-piece show is made by Bronx artists. And some pieces created outside the Bronx were submitted by Bronx-based organizations, like Wave Hill and the Derfner Judaica Musesum at the Hebrew Home.

This is the second year the Bronx has hosted a satellite show for the larger “Armory Show,” but this year is bigger, with more artists and organizations. The show was scheduled to run for a few days last week, but organizers were able to extend it through this weekend.

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