¡Cultura Con Azúcar! Mural by Los Muralistas de El Puente, 2014
El Puente’s Center for Arts and Culture is Brooklyn’s most comprehensive Latino pre-professional/professional arts center and home to three Tony award-winning alumni. The Center provides pre-professional arts training in El Puente’s Youth Leadership Centers in an array of arts disciplines, including: dance, drama, voice, filmmaking, studio/public art, photography & Hip-Hop. El Puente integrates an “arts for social change model” in which the arts are the primary vehicle for personal and social transformation. Youth members are provided the opportunity to be trained and mentored by highly qualified artists who are committed to using their skills and talents to further the cause of social justice. Through collaborative Integrated Arts Projects (IAP) with several local schools, our teaching artists partner with teachers and students to create theme/curricula-based arts projects that produce high quality original artwork that promote human rights and social action.
El Puente Williamsburg Leadership Center's Summer Urban Arts Intensive presents "Little Shop of Horrors," 2014
The Center also produces a robust presenting season that engages approximately 4,000 people annually. El Puente Arts presents works by local and international artists, El Puente Youth Ensembles as well as cultural events for the community, most notably El Puente's Three Kings Annual Celebration attended by 2,000 people each January. In the fall, El Puente's Green Light District (GLD) initiative presents the annual ¡WEPA! Festival for Southside Performing Arts - a showcase of the vibrant cultural expression of Los Sures through performance in music, dance, theatre and spoken word.
El Puente presente with Madre Tierra Puppet and Papel Machete at the People's Climate March, 2014
El Puente GLD also coordinates El Puente CADRE – Community Artists’ Development and Resource Exchange, a diverse artists' coalition founded in 2008 that has become a platform for primarily local Latino and other artists of color to network and collaborate as well as create and facilitate strategies that will grow and sustain their capacity to lead and contribute to North Brooklyn's unique cultural community. CADRE is presently a driving force in the Green Light District initiative.
Recently, El Puente awarded three of its youth artists the Van Lier Fellowship (funded by The New York Community Trust), providing them with two-year scholarships to support extensive and intensive professional training, coaching and mentoring in the arts.