Restoring pride of place through music!
Although the Bronx was once a hub for music creation and performance, the disinvestment in the 1970s and 1980s destroyed many performance venues, devastating the music scene. As a result, access to arts and cultural programming has become scarce in the Bronx.
Fifty years ago, cutting-edge music proliferated in the South Bronx: Donald Byrd, Herbie Hancock, the Chantals, Dion & the Belmonts, Willie Colón, Valerie Capers, and others launched their careers in the Bronx. In the 1970s, a new generation of locals, including Grandmaster Flash, Cold Crush Brothers, DJ Kool Herc, and KRS-ONE, sparked the hip-hop movement here. While the music thrived, the venues didn’t: More than 10,000 live music seats in dozens of clubs and theaters were lost in the Bronx during periods of severe disinvestment, arson, and abandonment.
Yet to this day, artists from a wide array of cultural backgrounds make the Bronx their home, creating new work, collaborating across genres and generations, and innovating new forms in the most diverse county in the nation. The Bronx is now home to music genres from all over the world, including Dominican bachata, Ghanaian hiplife and Garifuna punta, as well as the traditional music of The Gambia, Ecuador and Bangladesh.
WHEDco works to provide free access to arts programming and restore pride of place by channeling the dynamic music history of the borough.
- Bronx Music Heritage Center (BMHC): The BMHC is committed to preserving and promoting Bronx music, cultivating Bronx artists, spurring neighborhood revival, and providing free cultural programs for the community. The BMHC will be permanently located in Bronx Commons, WHEDco’s third and largest mixed-use development. It is currently located in our second housing development, Intervale Green, at 1303 Louis Niñé Boulvard, Bronx, NY 10459. The BMHC hosts music performances, art exhibits, artists-in-residence, workshops and a variety of other free events.
- BMHC Programming: The BMHC hosts music and arts events at the BMHC Lab, and throughout the Bronx.
- Music Advisory Board: The BMHC Music Advisory Board formed in 2010 and is made up of Bronx musicians, educators and activists. The Music Advisory Board offers critical insights into the planning process of BMHC programming and the future physical space in Bronx Commons.
- Boogie Down Booth: The Boogie Down Booth is a temporary music installation featuring contemporary Bronx musicians, currently located at O’Neill Triangle (in front of Boricua College) in Melrose. Our first two Boogie Down Booths were located at Southern Boulevard near 174th Street (June 2015-June 2016) and at the corner of Freeman Street and Southern Boulevard (July-November 2014).