Manny Vega & Friends Install Julia de Burgos Mosaic

Manny Vega & Friends Install Julia de Burgos Mosaic

(New York, NY) -- On Friday, October 27, 2006, Hope Community, Inc. will host a press conference and unveiling of an historic mosaic by Manny Vega honoring the late Puerto Rican poet, Julia de Burgos. The 11:00 AM ceremony will take place in the heart of East Harlem’s “Cultural Corridor” - in front of a Hope building located on the northeast corner of Lexington Avenue and East 106th Street.

Immediately following the unveiling, community leaders will publicly announce the designation of a secondary honorary name to 106th Street in honor of Julia de Burgos, one of the leading Puerto Rican poets of the twentieth century. 106th Street is a key cultural artery of El Barrio and has long been acknowledged by Community Board Eleven as the cultural corridor in East Harlem. The 106th Street renaming marks one of the few instances of a street being named after a Puerto Rican woman of high accomplishments.

Among the guests will be Congressman Charles B. Rangel, State Senator José M. Serrano, NYS Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV, Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer, Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito, representatives from JPMorgan Chase, the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, Mt. Sinai Medical Center, the East Harlem Board of Tourism, and members of Hope Community’s board and senior staff.

“The homage to Julia de Burgos will compliment Councilwomen Mark-Viverito and El Museo de Barrio’s exceptional initiative to rename East 106th Street in honor of the famous poet,” said Bill Jacoby, Hope’s Executive Director. “East Harlem residents and visitors will feel an increased sense of pride as they see the mosaic while strolling down the Julia de Burgos Boulevard.”

“This honor could be bestowed upon no individual more worthy that this outstanding woman,” concurred Congressman Charles B. Rangel. “I can't think of anyone more deserving of such a beautiful display. Julia de Burgos devoted her life to teaching children, inspiring national pride and advocating human rights through her poetry. Her contributions had an impact far beyond the neighborhood. It is a great joy to know than from now on when children look up to see the mural, they will be reminded of her accomplishments and the community's deepest respect and admiration.”

Julia de Burgos (born on February 17, 1914) was one of the most important and beloved Puerto Rican poets working in New York in the first half of the twentieth century. Modern critics believe that de Burgos’s poetry anticipated the work of feminist writers and poets as well as that of other Hispanic authors. “Writing in the 1930s through the 1950s,” declared a reviewer for Publishers Weekly, “de Burgos was ahead of her time in grasping connections between history, the body, politics, love, self-negation and feminism that would later prove to be the foundations for writers like [Adrienne] Rich and [Sylvia] Plath.” De Burgos published several books including; Poemas Exactos de mí Misma, Poemas en Veinte Zurcos and Canción de la Verdad Sencilla. She received several honors and homages before and after her death. De Burgos died in East Harlem, on July 6, 1953 at the early age of 39.

“Hope Community has long supported the arts in East Harlem and we have worked to build a sense of community among local residents by producing annual street fairs and arts programming,” concurred Hope Board Chairman, Roger Caban.
“The ‘Remembering Julia’ mural project corresponds with the East Harlem Board of Tourism’s ‘Destination: El Barrio’ initiative,” added Kathy Benson, Chairperson of the Board for the East Harlem Board of Tourism - which has endorsed the project. “East 106th Street has long been recognized as the neighborhood’s cultural corridor, and the mural project will greatly enhance the tourist experience.”

The mosaic unveiling and press conference will be followed by a 12:00 PM reception hosted by El Taller Boricua in the Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center at 1680 Lexington Avenue. The lunch-time gathering will offer guests appetizers and refreshments.

About the “Remembering Julia” Mosaic Committee

Organized by a committee consisting of Debbie Quinones and Marina Ortiz of East Harlem Preservation, Hope Chairman Roger Caban, and Hope’s Program Services staff, the “Remembering Julia” team raised over $24,000 to underwrite the historic mosaic during a July 31 benefit.

About Manny Vega

Manny Vega has developed many other well-known public art works in El Barrio, including MTA/NYCT mosaics in the 110th Street Subway Station. He is largely recognized for the historical restoration of Hope Community’s “Spirit of East Harlem” by Hank Prussian mural on East 104th Street.

About Hope Community, Inc.

Hope Community is a non-profit community-controlled development corporation dedicated to the revitalization of East Harlem since 1968. The agency has redeveloped 70 buildings and has 1100 apartments under management, and offers an array of community-building programs, social service referrals, and cultural programs. For downloadable art and more information visit Hope Community’s web site:  http://www.hopeci.org.