Invisible Loisaida – Ideas City


Part of the Street Program 12:00 -6:00pm

Loisaida Inc: Invisible Loisaida

The booth by Loisaida, Inc. will play with the visible and invisible tensions of rescued social spaces, their cultural output, and their lack of inclusion in the mainstream story line of the Lower East Side. Through a collaborative installation by resident artists Edgardo Tomás Larregui and Alejandro Epifanio, the booth will recreate the vernacular architecture of “seclusion” and social gathering elements of the traditional casita or urban community garden. Our casita also involves a strategy to render visible the reality of Loisaida, Inc., a social-cultural-artistic community (Latino/Puerto Rican Lower East Side), whose contributions to New York City and the downtown scene have usually remained unacknowledged, absent, and invisible to the hegemonic artistic and cultural narratives of New York City’s creative myth. The presentation will feature a listening station of oral histories by Laura Zelasnic, performances by ongoing Loisaida Center collaborators and projects: the Salvage Project; Flux Theater Ensemble; the Plenatorium, which nurtures and documents the “plena universe”; and Edwin Torres, a Nuyorican poet, performer, and downtown icon, who will explore the nonappearance of “No-isaida.”

A ONGOING programming throughout the day:

1. Display and live screen-printing of the templates and prints developed and produced through our workshop: Building Community Through the Arts, a partnership with Hester Street Collaborative.

2. Listening Station featuring oral histories focused on local Latino cultural and community organizations such as CHARAS and Loisaida, Inc., by Laura Zelasnic.

3. Visual Collaborative Installation(s) between artist collaborators of the Loisaida Center. The entire booth will act as an installation and visual collaboration between visual artist’s Alejandro Epifanio and Edgardo Larregui with the support of Urban Garden Center NYC.

B SCHEDULED programming by time-slots:

3:00 pm – The Salvage Project

Story circles facilitated by the Loisaida Center’s artistic residents Flux Theater Ensemble where community members will share the stories of a precious object and have their stories transformed by professional playwrights into short monologues.

4:00 pm – Edwin Torres:

“Nuyorican” (New York-Puerto Rican) poet-performer-sound artist and downtown icon will present work based on the Invisible Loisaida theme. Torres’s work bridges numerous downtown and Loisaida traditions and scenes, from the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church to the Nuyorican Poets Cafe and beyond.


A project initiative of the Loisaida Center focused on the nurturing and documentation of the practice of Puerto Rican plena, a genre of popular traditional music, song and dance native to the island of Puerto Rico, but related to similar Afro-diasporic expressions throughout the Caribbean and commonly present within the casita/community garden culture.

Planetarium means a space for the plena-universe of activities such as forums, workshops, performances, and other forms of plena-focused sociocultural participation.

Invisible Loisaida was made possible by: 9C Community Garden – Northeast Avenue C & 9 Street


The 28th Annual Loisaida Festival

A Festival For All

Latinos (re)Planted their Flag in the Lower East Side with the 28th Loisaida Festival 


NEW YORK, NY – On May 24st, 2015 the 28th Loisaida Festival uncovered the Latino spirit still very much alive in the Lower East Side. This year’s Festival created an over-the-top Latin performance art, music, and culinary experience that celebrated Puerto Rican and Latino culture and history, as well as its present and future in downtown Manhattan. Avenue C from 6th to 12th street reclaimed its role as a hub of Latino creativity and culture in the city and the nation, as this year’s festival featured offerings and acts from the neighborhood and from all over the United States, from East L.A. to Puerto Rico.

Kicking off the Festival was a Carnival Procession, a rarity in the downtown area nowadays. The Felix Millan Little League, established in 1977 and named after the famous Puerto Rican baseball player, and the New York Stars and Marching band from Washington Heights led the parade, which culminated in the mainstage, where a host of music genres came together through acts by DMob, Capa Prieto, Calma CarmonaChicano Batman, E.A. Flow, Papote Jimenez and his Orchestra, and Johnny Olivio Herencia de Plena. The different genres captured the diverse makeup the Latino community in NYC. The energy of the day was such that Chicano Batman and Calma Carmona delighted the audience with an impromptu jamming session—live. Luis Guzman, a product of Loisaida, captivated the audience with his energy.

Beyond, the Theater Lab, the street performers, the Latino fare and domino tournaments, were also the Viva Loisaida Awards. Announced earlier in the week at a special Opening Reception, the awards themselves were given to four pillars of the community: Nydia Velazquez for her bold leadership, and long-standing support to the Latino community causes. Marlis Momber whose legendary photographic and documentary work has illustrated the struggle and character of the mostly Latinos people living in the Lower East Side since the 70s; Dr. Joseph Kramer, known as “El Doctor del Pueblo,” who served as a doctor to thousands over the years from his storefront on Ave D, regardless of their ability to pay; Lizabeth Bruno whose admirable passion for environmental and social justice issues led her to establish the LES Girls Club CSA; Sammy Tanco, an unquestionable pillar of NY’s Puerto Rican community, respected master of plena music who helped co-organize the first Loisaida Festival along Tato Laviera and has been a figure of social and cultural re-affirmation of Loisaida for over 40 years.

A particularly unique aspect of the Festival, beyond the diversity of offerings, was the wide range of audience members. People of all generations, groups, and countries came together in a single spot. A celebration of all the rich layers, diversity, and textures that made the Lower East Side of Manhattan an iconic neighborhood, the 28th Loisaida Festival provided a delicious shot of Latino culture that left us wanting for more.

ABOUT LOISAIDA INC: Loisaida, Inc. is a Latino-based non-profit community development organization affiliated to Acacia Network. Located in the Lower East Side, it boasts over 30 years of award-winning innovative programs in education, arts, culture and community development focused on highlighting the contributions of Latinos to the vibrant cultural fabric of downtown Manhattan. One of the events Loisaida, Inc. is best known for is theLoisaida Festival, a Festival that has long celebrated Latino culture in the Lower East Side while also highlighting the community’s rich diversity. This year’s event is presented by Popular Community Bank and Acacia Network. Additional major sponsors are the Hispanic Federation, Phipps Houses, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, ConEdison, Well Care, El Diario la Prensa, Webster Hall, Two Boots, Gale A. Brewer, Gouverneur Health, Rojo Chiringa, among others.

Photo Credits: Javier Romero 

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