Signature Programs


Mi Querido Barrio

Mi Querido Barrio (My Beloved Community) is a multi-year project that is made up of four interrelated programmatic components. The project aims to preserve, celebrate and educate about the rich history of the area of East Harlem (known by its residents as El Barrio), its key locations and its residents (both legendary figures and everyday people). In the face of demographic shifts occurring in the area, the intent of the program is to ensure that East Harlem be understood as a historical community with rich cultural legacies important to its residents and the city as a whole. The programmatic components of this multidisciplinary project are:

  • A visual arts exhibition, opening to the public in 2015, which will be a combination of physical and digital works of art that explore the traditions, history and culture of East Harlem, created by local artists. In addition to its installation as the inaugural show in the firehouse’s new gallery space, it will also include the deployment of works of art that will be executed in augmented reality (accessed via smart phone augmented reality application) at important points-of-interest throughout the East Harlem neighborhood.
  • A Story Corps-type interviewing kiosk, which will allow for the video and audio recording and presentation of individual stories from the community. While access to viewing and/or listening to interviews recorded at the kiosk will be available at the very same kiosk, the footage and/or audio will also be incorporated into other aspects of the project, including the exhibition and mobile application.
  • An augmented reality environment mobile app, which will use cutting-edge technology to overlay virtual reality objects atop real-world views as accessed through smartphones and tablets via mobile application. This technology is the ideal way to show something that no longer exists in its proper historical/locational context. For example, imagine that a user of the app is looking at a mural painted by Manny Vega at East 105th Street. The user, by looking through their smartphone at the physical mural, will be able to bring up other related information in various multimedia formats. This could be, for example, historical video or photographs, audio of an interview, or webpages providing additional resources.
  • The Apps Leadership Academy, the youth training component of the project. See more information in the Apps Leadership Academy section below.


Cultural Equity Group

The Cultural Equity Group (CEG) is our advocacy consortium that works towards achieving equitable funding and recognition for organizations of color from city and state legislation. Founded in 2008, CEG will continue increased activity in the dawn of the City’s new administration. Please contact for more information about the CEG.

Apps Leadership Academy

Apps Leadership Academy is a youth entrepreneurial program that will train roughly 20 high school-aged students annually to become collaborators in the development of various multimedia elements of the Center. The Apps Leadership Academy will provide youth participants with training in: web design, hosting and maintenance; apps development and publishing; multi-media and digital production; and social media advertising strategy and implementation. Furthermore, the program will provide participants with mentorship, team building and collaborative exercises, and will offer them experience running their own seed-funded technological start-up venture. The program will ready youth for participation in the existing technological job market, while empowering them to engage and grow with the digital economy of Harlem and Upper Manhattan.  In the inaugural year of this project, launching in 2014, participants will focus on developing the augmented reality component of the Mi Querido Barrio project.

Transforming the Temple

Transforming the Temple: Healing with Culture and Spirit is an annualized program series designed to address the need for increased access to holistic wellness practitioners and product retailers for information and services related to alternative methods of healthcare. Each year the series presents its key event, the Expo, providing community access to vendors, workshops and demos which have been curated to be culturally responsive and to reflect the values of self-determination, self empowerment and a respect for natural resources. Last year, the Expo provided space for 30 local vendors, included 8 workshops and 2 demonstrations on the benefits of raw food diets and acupuncture, attracting 350 attendees. In 2014, in addition to the Expo, CCCADI will offer smaller events, gatherings and panel discussions focused on physical and mental wellness.


Latin Music Collectors’ Festival

After its debut year in 2005, the international Latin Music Collectors’ Festival (LMCF) quickly became one of our key signature programs, filling a void in New York City, the birthplace of salsa and tropical music.  In October of 2004, the CCCADI produced the first Latin Music Collectors’ Festival ever to take place in New York City, drawing more than 2,000 collectors, musicians, community leaders, industry executives, historians and music lovers from around the world. Music Festivals are a centuries-old Latino tradition, still hugely popular in cities throughout the Caribbean and South America. LMCF brings together a diverse audience to celebrate Afro-Caribbean heritage, keeping the legacy of Latin music alive. Both historical and popular cultural phenomena, the festivals features lectures, panels, concerts and exchanges, informing and entertaining audiences while bringing together legendary artists and scholars in public discourse. They spur connections between individuals and groups that, with the increasing popularity of the Internet, are sustained across international and linguistic barriers.

Dance of the White Dress

Dance of the White Dress is an annual event held each spring, celebrating the new harvest of the season; a common tradition throughout the Caribbean, and most recognized in Cuba. For the past eleven years CCCADI has presented this festive event as a Sunday afternoon danzant, attracting an audience of nearly 600 participants, all encouraged to dress in white to celebrate the coming of spring. Commenced by a presentation of traditional music and dance that varies from Cuban rumba and son to an Orisha/Yoruba dance presentation, attendees join in a communal celebration of music, dance and food.  The live bands presented usually represent Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Colombia, and feature our “house” DJ recognized for his “old school” musical selections. Although the Dance attracts families and audiences of all ages, it has become a key event for the mature dancers who once danced at the legendary Palladium of the 1950s and 60s, and more recently at venues such as the Corso, Casa Blanca, the Epoca and Club Ochentas. These attendees are dedicated “salseros” who have kept Latin music and dance scenes alive with their passion and committed following.

Lincoln Center Out of Doors

For almost 30 years, CCCADI has collaborated with Lincoln Center to present Lincoln Center Out of Doors, an annual concert in celebration of African-based music traditions. Increasing awareness of great talents and this globally pervasive presence, Lincoln Center Out of Doors has presented many transcendent talents. One of our most memorable and celebrated moments was in 1989 when CCCADI placed rap music on the stage at Lincoln Center for the first time, featuring Queen Latifah, The Roots, A Tribe Called Quest and MC Lyte.  This year, CCCADI will pay tribute to legendary salsa and jazz musician Pete “El Conde” Rodriguez. Born in Puerto Rico, Rodriguez moved to the Bronx in the 1950s, changing the scene in New York with his extraordinary talent.

Redefining African American

Redefining African American: What’s at Stake?

Through formal presentations, audiovisual demonstrations, and group conversations, participants engage in dialogues that promote increased understanding of the ties that link people of African descent residing in the Americas. This symposium raises consciousness about the underlying reality of our African ancestry and bridges gaps of understanding in issues of cultural identity. It fosters new dialogue and ideas that promote African reclamation and cooperative work in the community at-large.

Women of Power

CCCADI’s Women of Power conference invites notable women of African descent from the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa and the United States to exchange information that defines their own particular experiences in their countries and communities. Creating a sense of shared experience, these events promote cross-cultural conversation among participants as well as interactive dialogue with audiences that include students, professionals and community members.  The voices of women of African descent have too often been marginalized in the global discourse. Through roundtable discussions, panel/conference formations and presentations, Women of Power establishes a networking experience that is educational and transformative.

Roots and Stars:Illuminating Black Spiritual Genius and Exploring the Soul of the Black World

Roots and Stars is a salon series that examines ancient African traditions, New World religious customs, and contemporary spiritual practices in order to understand the foundation and evolution of spiritual teachings throughout the black world. Peering through the lenses of ethos, aesthetics, and practice, Roots and Stars uncovers voices of vibrant visionaries and tradition-keepers who attest to the breadth of our contribution to the global soulscape.

Community Arts University Without Walls

CAUWW is a joint program launched with Inter-American University in San Juan, PR, that provides students interested in working within the community arts field with courses taught by renowned experts in the arts, public policy, and best practices, who have made significant contributions to diverse marginalized communities.  The month-long summer intensive course focuses on the legacy of the civil rights, cultural equity, social and economic justice movements and their continuing impact.

The courses include a historical analysis of the challenges that motivated the emergence of the field of community arts, and the role of founding artists and cultural workers in establishing community-based programs and organizations. Students will meet and work with policymakers, scholars, community arts advocates, artists and cultural workers to collectively develop strategies for contributing to their communities and for assuring equity at all levels of society.

CAUWW is committed to honoring the cultural histories, traditions, and transformations that inform the aesthetic expressions of diverse of communities of color.  Its fundamental theoretical approach and praxis value the global spectrum of cultural experiences and aim to promote cultural equity.



Emerge forges community partnerships with school-based artist residencies to support emerging artists and new audiences, and to create greater community access to the arts, redefining cultural space and cultural production.  In upcoming editions, this program will also provide teaching artists with workspace at the location of the residency where they can produce and exhibit site-specific works. By using non-traditional sites for the creation and installation of fine arts, this program aims to redefine spaces of cultural production and democratize access to both the artistic process and its final products.

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Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute
1825 Park Av. Suite 602 New York, NY 10035
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