Location: 408 W. 58th St., New York
The Franklin H. Williams Caribbean Cultural Center / African Diaspora Institute is a not for profit, multi-disciplinary cultural arts organizations named in honor of the late Franklin H. Williams, ambassador to Ghana and who served as the second president of the Board of the Caribbean Cultural Center.
Founded in 1976 by Marta Moreno Vega, Ph.D. and now president of the Board, Dr. Vega’s aim in creating this institution was to provide accurate historical information on the cultures, art and belief systems of African and their descendants. Our mission is to identify, compile and disseminate information on the creative expressions and rich cultural contributions of people of African descent, internationally. The Center continues to document, promulgate and promote the global impact of African cultures through its programming that includes: concerts, exhibitions, lectures, cultural arts in education school programs, international festivals and conferences.
The Caribbean Cultural Center marked its 25th Silver Anniversary in 2001. In addition to this, the Center will continued its format of presenting innovative artistic and cultural programming that focuses on the experiences of Africans and their descendants.
The Caribbean Cultural Center houses a resource and research center, an art gallery, and an international gift shop that features books, music and video recordings, handcrafted jewelry, instruments and other authentic art from throughout the African Diaspora.
Cultural Arts In Education
The Caribbean Cultural Center has developed its Cultural Arts in Education programs centered in the cultural expressions of global communities. These hands-on programs are designed to recognize and build upon the integral role students, educators and parents play in the learning process. Our Arts in Education programs also are designed to incorporate New York State Arts Learning Standards. The Center has created formalized programs specific to the particular needs of schools and organizations. The Center brings into the classroom professional artists and consultants who are experienced working with youth, parents and educators. These artists create workshops that draw upon not only their expertise and cultural heritages, but also the unique resources that are available at the Caribbean Cultural Center. The cultural and racial diversity of school populations dictate that educators develop culturally relevant and effective ways to complement their core classroom curriculum. Increasingly, educators are finding that arts education is a key for unlocking student enthusiasm and helping them achieve greater academic accomplishments. ARTS EDUCATION IS A VITAL TOOL.
Program options include:
In-Classroom Workshops and Residencies emphasize performance, language and the visual arts skills, with hands-on interaction between students and artist(s) as an essential part of the workshop. Artists’ Residencies incorporate New York State Arts Learning Standards and are designed to develop language, visual and/or performing arts skills. Examples of in-classroom residencies include:
The Oral Traditions Literacy Program which draws upon the rich heritage of African-based oral traditions such as storytelling, proverbs, metaphoric constructions and language improvisations. These traditions are used to make learning reading and writing skills exciting and enjoyable. Students are exposed to Diaspora storytelling and song workshops as well as to community- based writers and poets. Additionally, students are drawn into learning using their own frame of reference ie. Positive word play from Hip-Hop culture (Rap music). The program’s central project is the completion and production of student anthologies.
The In-Class International Museum Project This visual arts “museum” program gives students a hands-on global experience via multiple visual arts projects. Students experience three global communities through workshops such as instrument making, mask making, calligraphy and other folkart crafts. A wonderful collection of cultural artifacts is created for the classroom “ museum.” Language arts are incorporated into the program with students writing experience based “museum” reports on the artifacts they create.
Other residencies and workshops include: Instrument Making, Mural Projects, Dances of the Diaspora, Sacred Traditions of the Yoruba Tradition, Chinese Calligraphy, Mask Making, African Master Drumming and Dance, Storytelling and Music of Africa, Jamaica, Trinidad, Cuba, Pacific Islanders or Native America, among many, many others.