ABC No Rio is a collectively run center for art and activism founded in 1980. The center mounts seven to ten exhibitions a year at its Rivington Street gallery. These are usually collaborative efforts or thematic group shows, rarely single-artist shows, often with social and political content. Past exhibitions include: Drawing Resistance, a traveling show of political art whose arrival in New York was scheduled to coincide with protests surrounding the 2002 World Economic Forum; Social Control, which explored physical, ideological and political control through a variety of media; and The Pinhole Show, an exhibition of photographs taken with lensless hand-made cameras.
The Saturday Matinee features independent punk and hardcore music artists. The popular Sunday afternoon open poetry readings are open to all. Known as Our Unorganicized [sic] Reading, the event is known for its absence of formalities—no sign-up, no time limit, no credentials—it is a place where anyone can read his or her work. COMA (Citizens Ontological Music Agenda) is a Sunday evening series of experimental and improvisational music: electric, acoustic, jazz and the uncategorizable. Featured performances are usually followed by an open session of solos, duets and ensembles. The center also hosts film and video screenings, performance events, workshops and forums.
Following the purchase of the building for one dollar from the City of New York in 2006, a renovation campaign is underway.
ABC No Rio provides classes in photography and darkroom technique to New York City high school students.