Support ABC No Rio
At long last, we're embarking on a new phase for ABC No Rio. This summer we wound down programming at our Rivington Street home and have vacated the building in advance of demolition and new construction.
Our events and programs - and the sense of community they bring about - will continue "in exile" at other venues and in collaboration with other organizations. ABC No Rio in Exile will provide a renewed focus towards collaborative work that brings us back to our roots - ABC No Rio was founded as a project of the 1970s artist group Collaborative Projects. Even in "exile" No Rio will enable people to continue sharing resources and ideas in an atmosphere of camaraderie and mutual support.
Now more than ever, these spaces are crucial as we work to strengthen our communities in response to the recent elections. This is something ABC No Rio has done during our 36 years of existence and will continue to do. While we'll miss having one physical space where we can plan actions, express discontent, nourish creativity, and just come together, we'll continue to create those community spaces in other places.
Before we left our building, we celebrated the past 36 years in our old home. In June, we presented the two final exhibitions we'd been planning for years: InFinite Futures and The Past Will Be Present. For Infinite Futures, 18 artists with an historical connection to No Rio created installations imagining the site in five, fifty or five hundred years in the future. The Past Will Be Present included work by four photographers documenting the spaces and textures of No Rio's building and the people working within it.
Our last month of hardcore/punk matinees sold out each week. Old(er) and young punks danced, sang together and, in some cases, cried as they said good-bye to the tenement where many came of age and found their political and creative voices.
The last COMA improv session was an extended evening of short sets both inside and out, involving almost fifty musicians playing solo, in duets and in ensemble.
Moving forward, our programs will be - and are - continuing in exile. For instance, the Saturday hardcore/punk matinees are continuing at DIY venues in other boroughs. The zine library moved around the corner to the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center. Our visual art exhibitions will be hosted in various galleries around the city. We're also taking this opportunity to work closely with other artist groups and collectives; we have an upcoming collaboration with Flux Factory exploring mutual aid and the idea that art should exist to nourish collaboration rather than competition.
At the same time, we're preparing for demolition: we expect our demolition plan to be approved soon. Water, sewer and electric have been cut. We are now abating the limited asbestos that was found on the roof. We plan to take down the building in early 2017.
As you may recall, in 2014 we moved our project over to the City's Economic Development Corporation (EDC). Given some of our project's unique aspects, city officials felt that EDC would be a better fit as they allow for greater flexibility in project management and administration.
We put the project out to bid and, unfortunately, the bids came back a lot higher than our available funding. While we're disappointed, we're not giving up hope and continue to explore our options for raising more money and getting our dream building up and running. Remember, ABC No Rio originated from a creative action by artists who never dreamed that breaking into a building to protest the city's real estate policies would lead to a community arts center where many several thousands of artists, activists and others have been able to connect and learn. We've survived years of eviction attempts and gentrification. When the city first told us that if we raised the money to develop the site, they'd give us our home, many thought that this was an impossible task. But we did it - and in 2006, the City signed over the deed.
So, far from giving up hope, we'll keep exploring what we need to make our new home happen. We are working with EDC staff and the construction management firm they hired to determine how to best move forward with our available funds given the current challenging market and environment for construction costs. We also welcome your thoughts, ideas and, of course, support!
We already got one boost towards making this happen: In 2016 we received an additional $750,000 in City capital funding from the Mayor and the Department of Cultural Affairs.
Your support remains important to us. You've helped us get this far. We hope that you will join us, and that we can count on your contribution to ABC No Rio as the year comes to a close. Every contribution gets us closer to our new building.
Secure on-line contributions by credit card can be made to ABC No Rio's Building Fund through PayPal. Please make a donation today.
And remember - if your employer has a matching gift program, you can double your contribution.
Gifts by check or money order should be made payable to ABC No Rio and sent to our ABC No Rio in Exile address:
ABC No Rio
107 Suffolk Street, #305
New York, NY 10002
ABC No Rio is a 501(c)(3) organization. Contributions to ABC No Rio are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. Consult your tax advisor with any tax-related queries.
Thank you for your support.