Fifteen minutes from midtown Manhattan by subway, the Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture, an arm of Hostos Community College (CUNY), is one of the city’s premier venues for Latino arts and culture. With the opening in 1994 of the Hostos Center, which includes a 907-seat concert hall, a 367-seat theater and a 2,000-square-foot art gallery a home was given to visual and performing artists of the area. A typical season includes 20 to 25 performances in the concert hall, three or four exhibitions in the center’s Longwood Art Gallery and two theatrical events or film screenings in the theater.
Significant past performances include El Carnaval Dominicano, a music and dance revue celebrating four centuries of arts and culture on the island Columbus named Hispaniola; a retrospective of the career of Larry Harlow, virtuoso Latin jazz pianist; and a concert by the Bronx Symphony Orchestra. Charangueando was a performance marking the 40th anniversary of Orquesta Broadway, which pioneered the charanga tradition.
The repertory theater has offered a reading of playwright Isaac Goldemberg’s Yiddish-language drama Hotel Amerikka (the only notable exception to what is generally a full bill of Latin-oriented programming) and a screening of La Violencia del Poder, by documentary filmmaker René Fortunato. There are also about 16 children’s performances a year.
The center is also site of Longwood Art Gallery @ Hostos, the exhibition arm of the Bronx Council for the Arts. The gallery mounts about five individual or group shows per year and offers museum talks, formal lectures by distinguished artists and hands-on art workshops for kids.
Puppets, merengue, poetry readings and a rhythm and blues Christmas concert suggest the breadth of special events held from October through June at the center. Performances reflect the concerns and cultural traditions of this diverse borough, with its large Latino and African-American populations, among others. There are also inexpensive concerts presented specifically for families on weekend afternoons.
Hostos copresents Community Works annual performance series, The Hostos Connection, and an assortment of multicultural theater, dance and music.