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You’re Invited: Share Bronx Stories at Casita Maria

Artist Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi explaining one of the pieces from We Have Iré: Afro-Cuban in the United States at Casita Maria (Photo Credit: Deanna Garcia)

by Deanna Garcia

March 6, 2019

Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education on Simpson Street is teaming up with the Pregones Theater to present a workshop on Saturday, March 9 that uses interactive arts to tell stories of culture in an attempt to bring a range of Bronx ethnic identities together. It’s a two-part program, a family storytelling workshop about Bronx traditions and a dramatic performance called We Have Iré: Afro-Cuban in the United States.

We Have Iré: Afro-Cuban in the United States at Casita Maria (Photo Credit: Deanna Garcia)

During a preview event earlier this week artists Paul S. Flores and Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi showcased We Have Iré which includes a variety of pictures, objects, interactive videos, and inspiring quotes on the walls about Cuban culture.

Flores told thisistheBronX that in developing the work it’s vital to get the community involved in investigating, interviewing and collaborating all in the name of engagement. He said, “The idea is to create the piece with the community. That way they’re already invested in it.”

Jacobs-Fantauzzi agrees that representation in effectively telling stories is crucial and Casita Maria is just the right venue for it. “To be able to do that in a school and this gallery is a big honor,” he said. “There are kids who walk through this space every day and get to see reflections of themselves on the wall and uplift their stories of who we are as people.”

We Have Iré: Afro-Cuban in the United States at Casita Maria (Photo Credit: Deanna Garcia)

For Josie Gonzalez, manager of the Creative Arts Program, Saturday’s workshop and performance is largely about establishing Bronx identity. She said, “People are coming from outside the Bronx who want to get to know us and want to collaborate with us.”


Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education

Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education is hosting the free event on Saturday, March 9 at 928 Simpson Street, 6 Floor. From 11am-1:30pm, there will be a storytelling workshop with Paul S. Flores, Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi, Ramon, Ramos Alayo And Yosvany Terry where individuals get the opportunity to learn new ways of how to share their Bronx traditions with others. From 2pm-2:45pm, families get to enjoy a performance of spoken word and theater by Paul S. Flores, live jazz music from Yosvany Terry, modern dance from Ramon Ramos Alayo, video production from Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi and hip-hop beats from DJ Leydis. RSVP here

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