New cultural center opens in West Village –

The Center for Art, Research and Alliances (CARA) opened last weekend with a song from South African artist and composer Neo Muyanga, who has given multiple performances for his new piece. block of cyborgs. A collaboration between Muyanga and Unsung, a group of black singers, an innovative choral work that combines Muyaunga’s interest in the African diaspora, the slave trade, cyborgs, and song Amazing blessing In an amazing and constantly evolving musical performance.

block of cyborgs It embodies the kind of work that CARA hopes to feature in the future: collaborative, frontier-pushing, and political. Manuela Moscoso, executive director and principal curator of CARA and former curator at the Tamayo Museum in Mexico City, described the nonprofit’s mission as one of “rebuild.”

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View of the museum exhibit.

“We want to reforest what was displaced,” Moscoso said. ARTnews In CARA’s new home in the West Village alongside Jane Hait, founder of CARA. The neighborhood is rich in the radical history that Moscoso and Hait hope to revive. Across the street is the LGBTQ Community Center with Keith Haring’s painted bathroom on the second floor. Nearby are the Integrated Yoga Institute and Ashram Foundation, which once housed Swami Satchidananda, the teacher who led Woodstock in a prayer of love and peace.

“It is a very beautiful history to be a part of and to contribute to. Cultural institutes are often called upon to modernize. [their neighborhoods] “While we hope to do the opposite,” Moscoso said.

Re-listen to New Muyanga with Anonymous.

CARA debuted five years ago. Hay had closed her gallery Wallspace in 2015 and had begun to think about what it might mean to create a different kind of cultural institution. Not a gallery or a museum, but a comprehensive and efficient thing that can at the same time support cutting-edge exhibitions and act as a publishing house as well.

“I felt there was a need for a space focused on voices, not to extract something from them, but as a way to expand cultural history through scholarship and exhibitions,” Hitt said. ARTnews. Hay was envisioning a place that would not be subject to the usual demands of the market or the wider public.

“We’re not a museum, we don’t need to cover everything,” Hay said. “We can really say, ‘Hey, is this work going to broaden the conversation, is it going to increase representation? “We want to tell stories about art that really need to be told, but have not been resourced in the past.”

One such story is the story of Marilyn Nance. Nance was a black photographer whose vast archive of African diaspora photographs and documentation was circulated for the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture in Lagos in 1977, but mostly without credit or compensation. To take a first step in correcting this erasure, CARA brought together Last day in Lagosa book of her pictures and critical articles on Nance’s work.

She’s a very old practitioner and this is her first publication,” Hitt said as she grabbed a copy of the book. “Its hard to underestimate the importance of her influence. This is a restoration of her legacy.”

Hitt and Moscoso’s vision for CARA extends beyond programming.

Michael Fahrenwald

“We’ve been very busy in the past years thinking about how to have an organization that doesn’t reproduce or reenact what we all complain and hate,” Moscoso said. That means providing their employees with 12 weeks of parental leave, the best healthcare “we know,” budgets for professional development and, of course, competitive salaries, according to Moscoso. These benefits are not cheap.

“I really struggled with myself about how close I was to resources and how I could use them to benefit others not myself,” said Hyet, who is the stepdaughter of billionaire investor Howard Marks. Height decided to invest whatever she could to realize CARA, which included buying the building that CARA now resides in and renting it out to the foundation for free. Heat notes that they have been fortunate in motivating philanthropists and other institutions to support CARA.

“This is an act of regime change and I invite everyone to be a part of it,” Hitt said.

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