Most New Yorkers probably won’t recognize the gorgeous new Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center on the Lower East Side, as it has been covered by scaffolding for a whopping eighteen years! After years of renovation, the cultural center finally reopened on November 8th, bringing new cultural organizations, art studios, programming and public space to the neighborhood, but the restoration is not yet complete. In order to get the historic building into tip-top shape, the center has launched a Kickstarter campaign, and you can help.
Now that the building is structurally sound, the non-profit behind the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center wants to take the next step – creating a state-of-the-art interior. The group plans to create new galleries, theaters, studios and classrooms, which will be accessible to private and public groups alike, inside the historic façade
The building was initially constructed in 1898 as as Public School PS. 160, which was open until the 1970s. After the school shuttered, the building continued to serve the Lower East Side community and became a cultural center, named for Puerto Rican poet Clemente Soto Vélez, to commemorate the rich Latino community of the area. With the ever changing Lower East Side, preserving not only a historic building, but a center for the community is important to keeping the identity of the neighborhood so we hope that the center reaches its goal.