The Community Anchors Initiative works to sustain religious institutions, social clubs, and small businesses serving as cultural centers for communities.
At a time of boom-and-bust development, artisanal pop-ups, and top-down gentrification, it is easy to forget the vital role played by long-standing community anchors like social clubs, religious institutions, and small businesses. For too long, philanthropy for arts and culture has paid scant attention to many of these grassroots sites, which serve as incubators for vibrant cultural activity in local communities. Fortunately, many visionary leaders are revitalizing immigrant and historic communities across the five boroughs of New York City. In 2015, with support from the Ford Foundation, City Lore’s Place Matters program undertook an initiative called Community Anchors. Through this unique program, we were able to document and honor as well as financially support ten sites throughout the city in their creative placemaking efforts, and to explore the broader issues faced by similar organizations that galvanize community activity through the arts.
Issue 1: The Struggle for Affordable Public Cultural Space
Issue 2: The Struggle for Affordable Private Cultural Space
- El Maestro Boxing and Educational Center, Morrisania, the Bronx
- Terraza 7, Elmhurst/Jackson Heights, Queens
Issue 3: Too Many Hats, Too Little Visibility
- Marjorie Eliot’s Jazz Parlor, Harlem, Manhattan
- Sesame Flyers International, East Flatbush, Brooklyn
- Radio Soleil, Flatbush, Brooklyn
Issue 4: Sacred Space, Secular Arts
- African Immigrant Ministry, Stapleton, Staten Island
- American Sri Lanka Buddhist Association, Port Richmond, Staten Island
- Hindu Temple Society of North America, Flushing, Queens