ABC NO RIO

ABC No Rio is an arts center on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Our gallery and performance space was founded by visual artists committed to an actively engaged culture that promotes critical analysis and an expanded vision of possibility for our lives and the lives of our neighborhoods, cities, and societies. We have retained these values to the present.

ABC No Rio is a place where people share resources and ideas in an atmosphere of camaraderie and mutual support. Since our founding in 1980, we've been a welcoming and supportive venue for thousands of emerging artists, performers, poets and musicians.

Over the years we have presented an incredible range of artistic expression dealing subjects such as war, homelessness, drugs, sex, violence, and the politics of housing and real estate. In the mid to late eighties No Rio helped energize the burgeoning East Village performance scene and was instrumental in the resurgence of spoken word and performance poetry. In 1990 No Rio became active in the hardcore music scene, instituting a policy of not booking racist, sexist or homophobic bands and carving out a welcoming space in that scene for young people of color, young women, and gay and lesbian youth. ABC No Rio is one of the best-loved punk venues in the world.

Program activity at ABC No Rio breaks down into two categories: public events programming, and facilities and resources. Public events programming includes exhibitions of visual art; our weekly hardcore/punk matinee; a concert series of experimental and improvisational music; readings and other literary events; performance; and film & video screenings. We also provide space to other cultural and community organizations for meetings, workshops, benefits and forums.

Facilities & Resources include the ABC No Rio Printshop, a skills-sharing resource and workshop for screenprinting; the ABC No Rio Darkroom, an affordable resource for both beginning photographers and the more experienced to meet, work and share ideas; the ABC No Rio Computer Center, technology resources available to artists, writers, small press publishers, activists and the community at large; and the ABC No Rio Zine Library, one of the largest libraries of its type on the east coast, holding over 12,000 independent and alternative publications.

Through these facilities and resources we have also provided arts education classes in photography, drawing and printmaking to neighborhood youth and others. These classes have traditionally been free, and use of our facilities by the general public are either free, by donation, or for very modest fees.

On June 29, 2006, we purchased our building for one dollar from the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

The existing building is distressed and in disrepair. In consultation with our architect and engineer we determined that existing conditions would make responsible repair and renovation difficult and not significantly less costly than new construction.

Through new construction we will able to build dramatically improved facilities for our cultural, community and educational activities. We will:

  • -- double the size of our gallery and performance space
  • -- provide more efficient insulation and soundproofing
  • -- create spaces specifically designed for our programs and events
  • -- install an elevator and make the building wheelchair accessible
  • -- install new energy- and water-efficient building-wide systems, and increase our capacity for alternative energy use

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For more information about our planned new facility, please visit: http://www.abcnorio.org/newbuilding.php