Mayor Michael Bloomberg is about to sign a decree that will name a street in honor of beloved Puerto Rican artist Rafael Tufiño (New York, 1922-San Juan, 2008). Often called “Pintor del pueblo” [Painter of the People], the artist will have a street named after him in the city where he was born, New York. The stretch along 103rd Street, between Third and Park Avenues, will be known as Rafael Tufiño Way. The law authorizing the name change of about fifty streets in New York City also includes Puerto Rican cuatro player Yomo Toro and the 65th Infantry Regiment [also known as “The Borinqueneers”].
Located in Puerto Rico’s El Barrio, East Harlem—and where the 6 train has a station with a mosaic mural by Nitza Tufiño (his eldest daughter)—the street leads to the Museo del Barrio on Museum Mile and serves as a gateway to the entire neighborhood. It is also three blocks from Taller Boricua, an art workshop that Tufiño founded in the 1970s with his friend and colleague Carlos Osorio. The “Painter of the People” is considered one of the great masters of the 50s Generation in Puerto Rican visual arts.
Pablo Tufiño, youngest son of the artist and manager of Sucesión Rafael Tufiño (which oversees the painter’s legacy) says, “We are delighted and proud to know that our father is being honored this way. Tufiño is the first visual artist from Latin America and the Caribbean and to be honored with a street name in New York City. We hope that, as ‘Tefo’ did in his lifetime, his name on 103rd Street may serve as a bridge to maintain ties between Puerto Ricans on the island and in New York.”
The idea for creating Rafael Tufiño Way was conceived and promoted by architect Warren A. James and community leader Deborah Quinones, both Puerto Rican, and supported by Melissa Mark-Viverito, a member of the NY Municipal Council and residents of the community, including the Museo del Barrio, Taller Boricua, Hope Community, Harlem RBI, and Community Board 11.
Tufiño also be honored this year by The Campechada, a cultural activity to be held from on November 15-17, 2013, in Old San Juan.
For more information, you may contact Pablo Tufiño by phone at (787) 725-6655 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
[The post above was based on a Spanish-language press release by Sucesión Rafael Tufiño. Many thanks to Taí Fernández for bringing this item to our attention.]