The Raíces Cultural Center came about as a result of the under-representation of Caribbean culture and art in Central New Jersey. The Center's genesis began as part of an after school program in one of New Brunswick's public schools. When the program was terminated at the end of June 2008, directors Nicole Wines and Francisco G. Gómez decided to create a place where New Brunswick's inner city kids could continue to learn and cultivate Caribbean music, art, dance and song. Upon incorporation, the focus of the center shifted to a mix of programs and activities, including the Raícitas Youth Program, the Raíces Cultural Exchange, a Cultural Archive and the Raíces Performance Ensemble.
In 2009, the Raíces Cultural Center began a cultural journey around the Caribbean. Through the generous contributions of a grant from the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission, the Center had the wonderful experience of producing a three part series called "Los Vejigantes de Puerto Rico". The Hispanic-afro cultural traditions of Puerto Rico were presented in music, song and dance to the citizens of New Brunswick, N.J. and the surrounding areas through performances, school assemblies, classes and our first cultural exchange fact finding trip to Puerto Rico.
In 2010 Raíces laid down its roots in New Brunswick. The organization received a second grant from the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission for the production "The Spirit of the Drum". Johnson & Johnson provided a second grant to place the production in the Crossroads Theater with a professional technical crew. Dance and music classes, lessons and workshops were offered in New Brunswick and throughout the state. Photography from the Raíces Cultural Archive was featured in the South Brunswick Arts Commission's 2010 exhibition "NJ Has It All" and in the Highland Park Mirror newspaper. Raíces continues to collaborate on projects and events with other local arts and community organizations such as the First Reformed Church of New Brunswick, Lustig Dance Theater, Family Arts Movement, Albus Cavus and the Community Arts Mural Project. The Raíces Ensemble continues to perform in schools, universities, churches, community and cultural events, and festivals.
2011 will see a further expansion of Raíces programming, with new components established in the healing and natural arts and sustainable living, classes and workshops being offered in two locations in Downtown New Brunswick, a Middlesex County Cultural & Heritage Commission Funded Day of the Dead celebration, new partnerships, more music and further explorations of cultural roots through the arts.
|Raíces Cultural Center * Contact Us|