A vacant storefront in The Bronx that has become a showcase for young artists and musicians is serving as a preview for a major cultural center being planned in the borough. NY1's Tara Lynn Wagner filed the following report.
Pop into the Circa 95 Pop Up Shop on Louis Nine Boulevard in Crotona Park East and you'll find a hotbed of creativity. Patty Dukes is half of the hip-hop duo Circa 95 that designed the store and hand selected the artists whose work covers just about every surface. The hope is to introduce people to emerging home grown artists and maybe grow a few more.
"If we can inspire young people to be artists or for them to draw, you never know who the future Picassos are here in the Bronx" Dukes said.
Surrealist clock designer Crosby, whose work is among the items that can be purchased there, agrees.
"Art is still a very interesting and intricate part of the culture and if we can make some more of our generation art lovers, that would be amazing," Crosby said.
Besides retail items, live talent will also be on display. A full calendar of events includes a wellness series, live music and open mic nights.
"We're going to be having the open art series where artists are going to come speak about their work. We're gonna have musicians come by and perform," said Curator and Hip-Hop Performer Reph Star.
The Circa '95 Pop-Up Shop opens Friday and will remain open every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday through July. It's part of the Bronx Music Heritage Center Lab. The Women's Housing and Economic Development Corporation owns the space. Its president says they were looking for a way to fill the vacant storefront when the idea of an art-filled pop-up store occurred.
"This was a perfect space to really showcase the creative spirit of Bronx artists," said WHEDco Founder and President Nancy Biberman.
The space will also give folks a preview of the future Bronx Music Heritage Center, set to break ground next year. Biberman says it will be the first public space in the borough devoted entirely to music.
"The great fusion of music and culture that happened over many decades here and frankly it's still happening," noted Biberman.
Circa '95 is just the first in what organizers say will be a rotating roster of artists to take up residency at the BMHC Lab.
If you are interested in curating the space, or to find out more about the Bronx Music Heritage Center, visit WHEDCo.org.