As Harlem continues to shift into a new era, plans are slated to renovate a local firehouse on 120 East 125th Street to serve as the new home for the historic East Harlem Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI).
To celebrate CCCADI’s next chapter in its existence in the community since 1976, the institute will host its First Annual Spring Gala in Harlem’s historic Alhambra Ballroom on April 25, 2015. Long established as a major cultural force in the community, the CCCADI gala will take participants back in time to the big band era of the 1950’s featuring entertainment by the acclaimed Mambo Legends Orchestra in celebration of Graciela, known as the first lady of Latin Song with guest artist vocalist Cita Rodriguez who will present a special evening’s tribute to Graciela.
The Center’s gala also honors the contributions of several highly esteemed community member including:
Lorraine Cortes Vazquez, Vice President of Multi-Cultural Markets and Engagement at AARP; Eugene Giscombe, President and chief executive of The Giscombe Realty Group in Harlem; Mario Baeza, Esq. Founder, Baeza & Co.; and Chairman, TCW/Latin America Partners, L.L.C.; Lucky Rivera, Community organizer and founder of Positive Workforce in El Barrio.
CCCADI’s Impacts Cultural Landscape
While Harlem continues to experience an ever expanding demographic shift, the CCCADI has maintained a foundation which honors the artistic, intellectual and cultural brilliance of the African Diaspora. Dr. Marta Moreno Vega, President and Founder of CCCADI, has diligently worked to spearhead programming which produces culturally-grounded, purpose-driven and activist-oriented works. For nearly four decades, CCCADI’s history has proven the center to be an incubator and springboard for artistic and intellectual brilliance, community-building initiatives and cutting-edge academic works presented in engaging ways.
Over the decades, CCADI has presented transcendent talent including: Celia Cruz, Max Roach, Amiri Baraka, Tito Puente, Dizzy Gillespie, Wynton Marsalis, Cassandra Wilson, Hugh Masekela and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. In addition, CCCADI has hosted international gatherings and curated countless groundbreaking shows, such as Transforming the Crown: African, Asian and Caribbean Artists in Britain, 1966-1996 (1996), which amassed more than 100 works into an exhibition that was simultaneously on-view at CCCADI, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and The Bronx Museum of the Arts. The landmark exhibition became a model for institutional collaboration.
Next Chapter – A Harlem Firehouse & Gala to Celebrate The Move
And now, for the next chapter of the institute’s direction, is the move to the renovated firehouse on at 120 E. 125th Street in El Barrio. Renovations will begin April, 2015 and expected to end in late 2016.
“We’ve established a solid footprint in the community,” says Moreno Vega. “This move places us strategically amidst the communities we serve and extends the rich cultural throughway of 125th Street eastward. Our forthcoming gala celebrates our forward move…it will centralize the programs in the heart of the community.”
The gala in April celebrates 39 years of serving the community and expects to fill the Alhambra ballroom with nearly 300 supporters, community members, those from well-established Caribbean and Latino families as well as philanthropists, corporate and financial executives, educators and young professionals. Proceeds from the event will start CCCADI’s new chapter for its move to the state of the art renovated firehouse. It is the start of a new phase which will further solidify CCCADI as a major cultural landscape stakeholder.
“Crafting a momentous symbolic bridge, this new location will allow CCCADI to connect the African and African American communities of West and Central Harlem with the Latino populations historically residing east of 5th Avenue,” notes Moreno Vega. “Our gala promises an array of sharing, celebration and source of energy for the next leg of our journey.”
CCCADI values, connects and advocates for the traditions, history, culture and advancement of the African Diaspora. Through the dual tenants of arts and advocacy, CCCADI aims to create a paradigm shift within the global community toward cultural equity and social justice via new standards, policies and language. The Center is an accessible community resource, which produces culturally grounded, purpose-driven and activist-oriented works, while simultaneously serving as a beacon of motivation and inspiration for many.
The gala will be held on Saturday, April 25th, 2015. Reception @7pm | Dinner & Program @ 8 PM at the Alhambra Ballroom, 2116 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. | Harlem. Call 212-307-7420, email email@example.com or visit cccadi.orgfor more information.
Dr. Marta Moreno Vega (President and Founder, CCCADI) established the center in 1976, inspired by a vision to create an international organization to promote and link communities of African. She has guided the capital campaign for the renovation of the landmark firehouse at 120 East 125th Street that will be the Center’s new home. Dr. Moreno Vega has been an advocate for cultural equity cultural studies and education. As the second director of El Museo del Barrio, one of the founders of the Association of Hispanic Arts, Network of Centers of Color and the Roundtable of Institutions of Colors. Dr. Moreno Vega has contributed to assuring that the contributions of African and African descendants are integral to the lives of civil society in the Americas.
Dr. Moreno Vega has conducted research in Yoruba belief systems in the African Diaspora and has organized international conferences uniting scholars and leading traditional experts focused on expanding the knowledge and importance of sacred African Diaspora traditions. Moreno Vega is co-founder of the Global Afro Latino and Caribbean Initiative (GALCI), a former program of Hunter College/Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program. She is chief editor ofWomen Warriors of the Afro-Latina Diaspora (Arte Publico Press) and author of The Altar of My Soul (One World/Ballantine, 2001). She is director and co-producer of the documentary When the Spirits Dance Mambo: Growing Up Nuyorican in El Barrio and has written a personal memoir by the same name (Three Rivers Press, 2003). Dr. Moreno Vega also co-edited Actualidad de las Tradiciones Espirituales y Culturales Africanas en el Caribe y Latinoamerica with Maria Elba Torres Munoz and A SNAP SHOT: Landmarking Community Cultural Arts Organizations Nationally with Dr. Sonia Bassheva Manjon.
Dr. Moreno Vega was a professor at El Centro de Estudios Avanzados Puertorriquenos de Puerto Rico y El Caribe in San Juan, Puerto Rico, is an adjunct professor at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico and an adjunct professor at New York University’s Department of Arts and Public Policy. Previously, she was an adjunct professor of Afro-Caribbean Religions and Afro Latinos in New York City at Hunter College, City University of New York where she was acting director of the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program.