Affordable space for the arts in New York City is hard to find – affordable cultural space in Manhattan is even rarer. And yet that is one of the core principles and services of the CSV Cultural Center, a place that promotes a creative dialogue between the visual and performing arts. Located in the thriving arts community of the Lower East Side, cheek by jowl with working-class shopping districts on Orchard and Clinton streets, our 81,000 square feet of space houses 53 visual artists and 12 performing arts groups – all of them helping to fulfill New York City’s claim to being the cultural capital of the world.
CSV Cultural Center’s continuing role as the largest incubator of the visual arts and one of the largest in the performing arts has meant that the public impact of the Center has reached a new high. In 2005, CSV’s four theaters and exhibition space helped an additional 49 non-profit arts groups to mount their performances and serve the public. Theater groups as diverse as the Puck Shakespeare Company and Gathering Tribe to the renowned Howl! Festival were all provided with affordable spaces that made their presentations possible. Overall, 26 stage theater productions, 3 dance performances, 4 music performances, 9 film events, 2 fashion shows, 5 educational classes (religion, visual arts, spoken word, photography and music) and monthly visual arts events (13 exhibitions) took place at CSV.
In addition, our flagship resident theater companies like La Tea, L.E.F.T. and SEA (the leading Latino children’s puppet theater in the nation) all mounted their original productions, demonstrating that their use of subsidized space in the Center leads directly to cultural production and public service.
The 53 visual artists with studios in the building are predominantly nonhispanic. They are practicing artists with professional careers as visual artists, creating in their studios, exhibiting in commercial galleries and museums and often teaching in schools and universities in city.
CSV continues to be the home to over a dozen performing arts and educational organizations. These are flourishing companies that are enhancing the artistic and cultural life of New York City through their diverse contributions to the public.