Posts tagged with "Bronx"

NYBG KUSAMA PRESENTATION

Tickets Go on Sale to the Public on March 16, 2021 for The New York Botanical Garden’s Exclusive Presentation of KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature Featuring New Work by Celebrated Artist Yayoi Kusama


Exhibition on view April 10—October 31, 2021. Tickets available at nybg.org/kusama  

http://nybg.orgAdvance, timed tickets go on sale to the public on March 16 for The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) 2021 exhibition KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature, featuring work by internationally celebrated Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. NYBG is the exclusive venue for KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature. On view April 10 through October 31, 2021, the exhibition will be installed across the Garden’s 250-acre landscape, in and around the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, and in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library Building. Highlights include new works made especially for NYBG. Spectacular seasonal horticultural displays will complement the artworks and an array of programs and activities will make each visit unique. Pictured above, Hymn of Life-Tulips, 2007, will be displayed in the Conservatory Courtyard Hardy Pool.



Visit nybg.org/kusama for additional ticketing information and nybg.org for more information about NYBG’s offerings.


About The New York Botanical Garden

Founded in 1891, The New York Botanical Garden is the most comprehensive botanical garden in the world and an integral part of the cultural fabric of New York City, anchored in the Bronx. Visitors come to the Garden to connect with nature for joy, beauty, and respite, and for renowned plant-based exhibitions, music and dance, and poetry and lectures. Innovative children’s education programs promote environmental sustainability and nutrition awareness, graduate programs educate the next generation of botanists, while engaging classes inspire adults to remain lifelong learners. The 250-acre verdant landscape—which includes a 50-acre, old-growth forest—and the landmark Enid A. Haupt Conservatory support living collections of more than one million plants. Unparalleled resources are also held in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library, the world’s most important botanical and horticultural library with 11 million archival items spanning ten centuries, and William and Lynda Steere Herbarium, the largest in the Western Hemisphere with 7.8 million plant and fungal specimens. Committed to protecting the planet’s biodiversity and natural resources, Garden scientists work on-site in cutting-edge molecular labs and in areas worldwide where biodiversity is most at risk.

 

###


KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature is presented by:


Major Sponsors: Tom and Janet Montag and MetLife Foundation


Generous support provided by: Citi and Delta Air Lines


Digital experience provided by: Bloomberg Philanthropies


Additional support provided by: Arthur F. and Alice E. Adams Charitable Foundation


This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts; and The New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature


Exhibitions in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory are made possible by the Estate of Enid A. Haupt.

 

LuESTHER T. MERTZ CHARITABLE TRUST: Providing leadership support for year-round

programming at NYBG


The New York Botanical Garden is located at 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, New York 10458. For more information, visit nybg.org


The New York Botanical Garden is located on property owned in full by the City of New York, and its operation is made possible in part by public funds provided through the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. A portion of the Garden’s general operating funds is provided by The New York City Council and The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation. The Bronx Borough President and Bronx elected representatives in the City Council and State Legislature provide leadership funding.

Cardi B Illustration for 360 Mag

21 in 21

21 Afro-Latinxs to celebrate in 2021 and beyond! 

By: Javier Pedroza

It’s Black History Month, which gives the planet time to reflect on how African American achievements have contributed to US history and how African achievements have contributed to the world. Although, don’t forget it is important to highlight and celebrate Black accomplishments year around. Due to the current global climate, it’s important to become more knowledgeable and celebrate the Afro-Latinx population for its contributions to US history and the world.

After 2020, it is an especially important time to embolden the community to take part in the celebration of Black culture. This year, the Black History Month theme is “Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity” which explores the African diaspora and their contributions.

To really understand the African diaspora it is essential to acknowledge that there were more African slaves to Latin America than to the United States. “There were 11.2 million Africans who came to the New World in the slave trade and of that 11.2 million, only 450,000 came to the United States,” Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. said in a discussion about his PBS documentary series Black In Latin America. He added, “The real black experience, in terms of numbers, is all throughout the Caribbean and Latin America.”

Today, Latinx should understand their roots, which have an undoubtedly long history of African heritage. Hispanics & Latinx identities are beautifully complex, multifaceted and multidimensional. A Pew Research Center survey of Latinx, adults shows that one-quarter of all U.S. Latinx self-identify as Afro-Latinx, Afro-Caribbean, or of African descent with roots in Latin America. This is the first time a nationally representative survey in the U.S. has asked the Latinx population directly whether they considered themselves Afro-Latinx.

Many Latinos identify with their ancestral countries of origin – Puerto Rico, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Cuba, Peru, the Dominican Republic, etc. Others may also identify with their Indigenous roots and all of these experiences made contributions to Black History. A goal to have moving forward is to celebrate global Black History and continue to recognize the contributions African-Americans have made to the world, including achievements made by Afro-Latinxs & Afro-Indigenous people. It’s imperative for Latinxs to acknowledge their African & Indigenous heritage given that history and cultures are inextricably linked to slave trade in the Americas, genocide and the African Diaspora. 

Here’s a growing list of amazing Afro-Latino (a,x) heroes and their contributions. 

1. Arturo Alfonso Schomburg

(January 24, 1874 – June 10, 1938)

Place of birth: Santurce, Puerto Rico 

Contributions: Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, born to a Black mother and father of German descent, was a historian. Mr. Schomburg is considered to be one of the Fathers of Black History & a key figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Schomburg’s lifework consisted of research and preservation—work that would lead him to become one of the world’s premier collectors of Black literature, slave narratives, artwork, and diasporic materials. 

2. Dr. Marta Moreno-Vega 

(January 3, 1942)

Place of birth: East Harlem, New York

Contributions: Dr. Marta Moreno-Vega is an Afro-Boricua who established the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI). Dr. Moreno Vega has been an advocate for cultural equity, cultural studies and education. As the second director of El Museo del Barrio, one of the founders of the Association of Hispanic Arts, Network of Centers of Color and the Roundtable of Institutions of Color, Dr. Moreno Vega has contributed to assuring that the contributions of African and African descendants are integral to the lives of civil society in the Americas. 

3. Celia Cruz 

(October 21, 1925 – July 16, 2003)

Place of birth: Havana, Cuba

Contributions: Celia Cruz was a singer & recording artist born and raised in Havana, Cuba. She was one of the most iconic artists of the 20th century. Her many honors included three Grammy Awards and four Latin Grammys for recordings such as Ritmo en el corazón (1988; with Ray Barretto) and Siempre viviré (2000).

4. Dr. José Celso Barbosa 

(July 27, 1857 – September 21, 1921)

Place of birth: Bayamón, Puerto Rico 

Contributions: Dr. José Celso Barbosa was a Physician, Sociologist and Politician.  Known as the father of the Statehood for Puerto Rico movement, Barbosa was the first Puerto Rican, and one of the first persons of African descent to earn a medical degree in the United States.

5. Ruth Fernández (Ruth Noemi Fernández Cortada) 

(May 23, 1919 – January 9, 2012)

Place of birth: Ponce, Puerto Rico

Contributions: Ruth Fernández, “El Alma de Puerto Rico Hecha Canción” (“The Soul of Puerto Rico Turned Song”) was a Puerto Rican contralto, actress, and a member of the Puerto Rican Senate. She was the first and only singer ever elected to the Senate of Puerto Rico. She was considered by many to be the Rosa Parks of Puerto Rico when she refused to enter the Vanderbilt Hotel in San Juan through its back entrance because she was a woman of color. The owners of the hotel stated that blacks had to enter through the rear of the building, but during one evening where she was set to perform at the hotel’s ballroom, she marched into the hotel via its front entrance. After this event, the hotel changed its policy.

6. Cardi B (Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar)

(October 11, 1992)

Place of birth: Manhattan, New York

Contributions: Afro-Latina Cardi B is a Dominican & Trinidadian rapper, songwriter, and actress raised in the Bronx, New York. Recognized by Forbes as one of the most influential female rappers of all time, Cardi B is known for her aggressive flow and candid lyrics, which have received widespread media coverage. She is the highest certified female rapper of all time on the RIAA’s Top Artists (Digital Singles) ranking, also appearing among the ten highest-certified female artists and having the two top-certified songs by a female rap artist.

She is the only female rapper with multiple billion-streams on Spotify and became the first artist to top the inaugural Billboard Global 200. Her accolades include a Grammy Award, eight Billboard Music Awards, five Guinness World Records, five American Music Awards, eleven BET Hip Hop Awards and two ASCAP Songwriter of the Year awards. In 2018 Time magazine included her on their annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, and in 2020, Billboard honored her as Woman of the Year. 

7. Rosa Alicia Clemente 

(April 18, 1972)

Place of birth: Bronx, New York

Contributions: Afro-Boricua Rosa Alicia Clemente is the 2008 United States Vice-Presidential Candidate, Producer, Journalist, Political Commentator & Scholar-Activist. Rosa is a graduate of the University of Albany and Cornell University. She is currently a doctoral student in the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies of University of Massachusetts Amherst. 

8. Congressman Ritchie John Torres 

(March 12, 1988)

Place of birth: Bronx, New York

Contributions: Ritchie Torres is an Afro-Boricua politician who is a member of the Democratic party. He is the US representative for New York’s 15th congressional district. Torres was the first openly gay candidate to be elected to legislative office in the Bronx, and the youngest member of the city council. Torres won the November 2020 general election and assumed office on January 3, 2021. This makes him one of the first openly gay Black men elected to Congress (along with Mondaire Jones). This also made Torres the first openly gay Afro Latino elected to Congress. As such, he is one of the nine co-chairs of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus in the 117th United States Congress. 

9. Zoe Saldana (Zoë Yadira Saldaña Nazario) *Trending Now

(June 19, 1978)

Place of birth: Passaic, New Jersey

Contributions: Zoe Saldaña is of mixed ethnic heritage, with her mother being of Puerto Rican descent and her father hailing from the Dominican Republic. Zoe is the only performer to get star billing in more than one movie that grossed over $2 billion worldwide with Avatar and Avengers: Infinity War. 

10. Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos 

(September 12, 1891 – April 21, 1965)

Place of birth: Ponce, Puerto Rico 

Contributions: Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos was a Puerto Rican attorney, social activist, nationalist and the son of a mixed-race mother who was the daughter of slaves and a Basque father from a farming and landowning family. The latter not only provided no financial support but also did not legally recognize his son until he was 19, and Albizu Campos grew up in poverty. In 1912 he was awarded a scholarship to study chemistry and engineering at the University of Vermont. He transferred a year later to Harvard University, majoring in chemistry and literature and becoming the first Puerto Rican Harvard graduate. Many people in Puerto Rico consider Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos the father of the Puerto Rican Independence Movement. 

11. Carmelo Kyam Anthony

(May 29, 1984)

Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York

Contributions: Carmelo Anthony is an Afro-Latino professional basketball player. He has been named an NBA All-Star ten times and an All-NBA Team member six-time Anthony also played in the 2016 Olympic Games, his fourth straight stint in the Olympics, which was a record for a US male basketball player, breaking the old record of having played in three Olympiads he shared with James and Robinson. He has celebrated his roots by giving back to Puerto Rico, remodeling basketball courts in a poor neighborhood 3 years in a row now. 

12. La La Anthony (Alani Nicole Vázquez) 

(June 25, 1981)

Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York

Contributions: La La Anthony is an Afro-Puerto Rican actress, host, producer and New York Times best-selling author. La La Anthony has supported charities such as the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Gabrielle’s, Angel Foundation, GLAAD and Voto Latino. 

13. Rosie Perez (Rosa María Perez) 

(September 6, 1964)

Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York

Contributions: Rosie Perez is an Afro-Latina actress, choreographer and community activist. Rosie was appointed to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS by President Barack Obama in 2010. Among many honors, Rosie was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Fearless as well as three Emmy Awards for her work as a choreographer on In Living Color (1990–1994).

Perez has also performed in stage plays on Broadway, such as The Ritz, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, and Fish in the Dark. In addition, she was a co-host on the ABC talk show The View during the series’ 18th season. 

14. MJ Rodriguez (Michaela Antonia Jaé Rodriguez) 

(January 7, 1991)

Place of birth: Newark, New Jersey

Contributions: MJ Rodriguez is an African American and Puerto Rican actress who is among the largest cast of transgender actresses on the show Pose. MJ made history by becoming the first Trans woman to ever sign a beauty deal with Olay Body. MJ was awarded the Hispanic Heritage Special Trailblazer Award at the 31st Hispanic Heritage Awards in Washington D.C. 

15. Ramon E. Contreras 

(22-years-old)

Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York

Contributions: Ramon Contreras is a young political activist, advisor and filmmaker who is changing the nature of civic engagement by championing and encouraging minorities to participate in politics. Ramon is a fierce gun control enthusiast and founded YouthOverGuns, a platform advocating for change in underserved communities of color. He led a protest of thousands across the Brooklyn Bridge and is the National Strategist for the nation-wide organization, March for Our Lives. 

16. Laith Ashley De La Cruz 

(July 6, 1989)

Place of birth: Harlem, New York

Contributions:  Laith Ashley is a model, actor, singer-songwriter and entertainer of Dominican descent. He was the first transgender man to be featured in a Diesel campaign. Laith has been on the cover of countless magazines and has had featured stories published on countless others all around the world; ie, British GQ.

Laith was on the cast of the reality TV series, “Strut,” executive produced by Whoopi Goldberg, and raised the heart rates of viewers in his appearance on hit series, “Pose,” on FX. Ashley is also an activist, particularly in transgender issues. He worked with FLUX, a division of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which is dedicated to raising awareness and providing support to trans and gender-nonconforming people. 

17. Dianne Morales 

(June 21, 1967)

Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York 

Contributions: Double Ivy League graduate Dianne Morales is an Afro-Boricua with degrees from Harvard University and Columbia University. Dianne is the former CEO of several multi-million dollar social service nonprofits and is also the first Latina / Afro-Latina candidate for New York City Mayor. 

18. Johnny Pacheco 

(March 25, 1935 – February 15, 2021)

Place of birth: Santiago De Los Caballeros, Dominican Republic

Contributions: Johnny Pacheco was one of the most influential artists of Latin music. He was one of the creators of The Fania All-Stars and Fania Record (#latinmotown), the most successful record label in the history of Latin music. 

19. Aida Rodriguez (Aida Margarita Parada Rodriguez) 

(August 29, 1977)

Place of birth: Boston, Massachusetts

Contributions: Aida Rodriguez is a comedian, host, producer, actress and the first Latina / Afro-Latina (Puerto Rican & Dominican) to appear in two comedy specials airing in one month on both HBO and Showtime. Aida’s latest comedy special premiered on Netflix as part of the “They Ready” series hosted by Tiffany Haddish. Rodriguez has also appeared on Comedy Central’s This Week at the Comedy Cellar, The Nightly Show, five-time host of the PBS Imagen Awards, NBC Last Comic Standing’s finals, TRUtv’s Laff Tracks and is also a regular contributor for The Young Turks. 

20. Indya Moore 

(January 17, 1995)

Place of birth: Bronx, New York

Contributions: Indya Moore is of Haitian, Puerto Rican, and Dominican ancestry. They are an actor among the largest cast of transgender on the show Pose. Moore does not identify as a Latinx, and instead identifies as Afro-Taíno. In June 2020, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the first LGBTQ Pride parade, Queerty named them among the fifty heroes “leading the nation toward equality, acceptance, and dignity for all people.” 

21. Gina Torres 

(April 25th, 1969)

Place of birth: Manhattan, New York 

Contributions: Gina Torres is an actress and the first Afro-Latina to create, produce and star in her own show, ‘Pearson’. Torres won the ALMA Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Syndicated Drama Series for her role in Cleopatra 2525. Gina also received the Best Supporting Actress award by The Imagen Foundation (Spanish for “image”) Awards, the only premier Latino entertainment awards program dedicated to honoring the positive portrayal and creative excellence of Latinos and Latino cultures on screen. 

Fact Check: We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn’t look right, contact us!

Bronx Point Renderings by John DeSio (Risa Heller Comms) for use by 360 Magazine

TIME 2 BUILD CAMPAIGN

Campaign To Build the Universal Hip Hop Museum Begins

February 24, 2021 marks the official virtual announcement of the $100 Million global capital campaign, “Time 2 Build” for the permanent home of the Universal Hip Hop Museum in the South Bronx, the cradle of Hip Hop culture. As we enter Phase 2, after raising $23M during Phase 1 for initial construction, The UHHM is launching its capital campaign to support the museum’s “Fit Out” of its interiors. The future home of the Universal Hip Hop Museum is poised to become the premier cultural institution founded to preserve, protect, and present the historic cultural influence of Hip Hop worldwide. This soft launch is designed to engage, excite, and drive donations from Hip Hop lovers locally and globally. With a targeted opening date of 2023 that coincides with the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop, the UHHM will rise with the support and generosity of generations of “Hip Hop Heads” and their passion for the culture.

At 2:00 pm EST veteran radio host on the SoundChat Radio network, Barbara “Roxie” Delaleu, will be joined by Rocky Bucano, Founder and Executive Director of the Universal Hip Hop Museum, with remarks offered by Civil Rights icon, Dr. Benjamin Chavis of Black Press USA. Joining them will be DJ Spark of iHeart Radio, and MC Lyte’s Hip Hop Sister’s Network, and Monalisa, host of Dublab’s Paths of Rhythm. Former New York State Assembly Member and Chair of the Capital Campaign and UHHM Chief Strategist, Michael Blake, and more will join this event to share why donating to build the Universal Hip Hop Museum in the birthplace of Hip Hop, as the “Official Record of Hip Hop,” is so vital culturally. Register in advance for the Universal Hip Hop Museum’s Time 2 Build Capital Campaign fund by visiting this website.

Viewers will be led on a dynamic 3D virtual tour of the Universal Hip Hop Museum, by the UHHM’s Director of Design, architect Michael Ford, founder of the Hip Hop Architecture Camp. He’ll preview the museum’s design within Bronx Point–the award-winning mixed-use, waterfront. 1 million square foot, affordable housing development project in partnership with the New York Economic Development Corp. (EDC), Empire State Development (ESD), and L & M Development Partners. The Universal Hip Hop Museum is the New York City Council’s designated cultural anchor at Bronx Point. And the “Award for Excellence in Design,” has been awarded by the New York City Design Commission to L&M Development Partners for Bronx Point, the future home of Hip Hop culture.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz said “Bronx Point is a tremendous step forward for our borough. Inclusion of the Universal Hip Hop Museum as part of this project will help showcase our role in the creation of that worldwide cultural movement for generations to come.”

Rocky Bucano, Executive Director states, “It is a pivotal time now more than ever that we bring this museum to life. It is a cultural timestamp that will bridge the Hip Hop and Bronx community with a permanent place to call home, but we can not do it without your support. This capital campaign is a call to action to ensure we preserve the culture.”

Michael Blake said as the Chair of the UHHM Capital Campaign, Chief Strategist and former Assembly Member (79th District, The Bronx), “The time for Hip Hop to have its home has come. Now, it’s Time 2 Build. Our $100 Capital Campaign, which is in five phases to signify the five elements of Hip Hop, will ensure that the Official Record of Hip Hop is cemented where it should be, in the South Bronx, the South-South Bronx!”

About The Universal Hip Hop Museum
Anchored in the birthplace of Hip Hop culture, the Universal Hip Hop Museum will break ground in the Bronx in 2020. Built as a space for audiences, artists, and technology to converge and create unparalleled educational and entertainment experiences, the museum is slated to open in Bronx Point in 2023.  The UHHM will celebrate and preserve the history of local and global Hip Hop music and culture past, present, and future.

Bronx Point Renderings by John DeSio (Risa Heller Comms) for use by 360 Magazine

Bronx Point Renderings by John DeSio (Risa Heller Comms) for use by 360 Magazine

Kusama with Pumpkin, 2010 for 360 Magazine, Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, David Zwirner, Victoria Miro

NYBG Newest Installation

The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) has announced the dates for its expansive 2021 exhibition, KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature, featuring work by internationally celebrated Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. Postponed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the exhibition will include four experiences that will debut at the Botanical Garden. NYBG is the exclusive venue for KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature. On view April 10 through October 31, 2021, the exhibition will be installed across the Garden’s landscape, in and around the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, and in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library Building. Advance, timed, limited-capacity tickets for the landmark presentation go on sale to the public March 16, 2021.

The exhibition, related programs, and accompanying publication will reveal Kusama’s lifelong fascination with the natural world and its countless manifestations, beginning in her childhood spent in the greenhouses and fields of her family’s seed nursery in Matsumoto, Japan. The exhibition will include works from throughout Kusama’s prolific career and multifaceted practice. By integrating seasonal horticultural displays, KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature will further illuminate the power of nature that pervades the artist’s practice and dynamic body of work.

Multiple outdoor installations will be on view, including monumental sculptures of flora that will transform the Garden’s 250-acre landscape and visitor experience. Her signature polka-dotted organic forms and mesmerizing paintings of plants and flowers will also be presented. These vivid observations of biodiversity will be shown along with archival material that has never been publicly exhibited, and more that will be on view for the first time in the United States.

Among the works created for and debuting in the exhibition are:

  • Flower Obsession(2017/2021), Kusama’s first-ever obliteration greenhouse;
  • Dancing Pumpkin(2020), a monumental sculpture presented on the Haupt Conservatory Lawn;
  • I Want to Fly to the Universe(2020), a 13-foot-high biomorphic form presented in the Visitor Center; and
  • Infinity Mirrored Room–Illusion Inside the Heart(2020), an outdoor installation reflecting its environs.

Spectacular seasonal displays will complement the artworks on view, making each visit unique as new plantings, textures, and palettes are introduced. Glorious outdoor displays of tulips and irises in spring give way to dahlias and sweet peas in summer, and masses of pumpkins and autumnal flowers in fall. In and around the Conservatory, Kusama’s plant-inspired polka-dotted sculptures will be nestled among meadow grasses, bellflowers, water lilies, and other plantings. Stunning floral presentations will bring to life one of Kusama’s paintings on view in the Library Building through a seasonal progression of violas, salvias, zinnias, and other colorful annuals. In fall, displays of meticulously trained kiku (Japanese for chrysanthemum, one of that country’s most heralded fall-flowering plants) will create a dramatic finale for the Conservatory displays.

KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature guest curator Mika Yoshitake, Ph.D., said, “For Kusama, cosmic nature is a life force that integrates the terrestrial and celestial orders of the universe from both the micro- and macrocosmic perspectives she investigates in her practice. Her explorations evoke meanings that are both personal and universal. Nature is not only a central source of inspiration, but also integral to the visceral effects of Kusama’s artistic language in which organic growth and the proliferation of life are made ever-present.”

In the Garden

On the Conservatory Lawn, visitors will encounter the monumental Dancing Pumpkin, a 16-foot-high bronze sculpture in black and yellow. Both playful and powerful, it will be sited in an immersive landscape of river birches, flowering plants, grasses, and ferns. The setting is inspired by the sculpture itself and the plants native to Kusama’s childhood home.

Visitors can marvel at the bright, purple-tentacled floral form with a vivid yellow primordial face of I Want to Fly to the Universe in the Visitor Center Reflecting Pool, and then behold Ascension of Polka Dots on the Trees (2002/2021), where soaring trees adorned in vibrant red with white polka dots will pop in the landscape along Garden Way.

Narcissus Garden (1966/2021), 1,400 stainless steel spheres each nearly 12 inches in diameter, will be installed in the 230-foot-long water feature of the Native Plant Garden. The reflective spheres will float on the water’s surface, moved by wind and currents, each mirroring the environment around them to captivating effect.

The exterior of Infinity Mirrored Room–Illusion Inside the Heart, a cube-shaped structure with a reflective surface, will be on view, revealing and repeating the changing landscape throughout the seasons. Interior access to the installation, which responds to natural light through colored glass throughout the day, is planned to begin in summer, per New York State and New York City guidelines for COVID-19. A timed-entry ticket will be required for limited-capacity access.

In the Galleries

In Flower Obsession, visitors may opt to apply coral-colored floral stickers to the glass-paned walls and interior objects. Over the course of the exhibition, the stickers will transform the greenhouse. Through works like this, Kusama employs the repeating patterns and forms of flowers to represent the concepts of obliteration, infinity, and eternity.

Three galleries in the Conservatory will be transformed into a horticultural celebration of Kusama’s self-proclaimed biophilia. My Soul Blooms Forever(2019), colossal polka-dotted flowers made of stainless steel and painted in dramatic colors, will greet visitors under the newly restored dome of the Palms of the World Gallery.

In the Seasonal Exhibition Galleries, Starry Pumpkin (2015), adorned with pink and gold mosaic, will be featured in a woodland garden of foliage and flowers chosen to harmonize with the sculpture’s pink polka dots. Using Kusama’s vibrant painting Alone, Buried in a Flower Garden (2014) as inspiration, NYBG horticulturists have designed a living work of art to mimic the painting’s bold shapes and colors, with plantings that will change seasonally. The patchwork of shapes in the painting reads as garden beds seen from above.

In the Conservatory Courtyard Hardy Pool, the exuberantly colored and patterned sculpture Hymn of Life:Tulips (2007) featuring outsized, fiberglass flowers will be bordered by water lilies and other seasonal plantings. The buoyant flowers echo the stunning horticultural displays in the Conservatory.

Pumpkins Screaming About Love Beyond Infinity (2017) comprises a glass cube with two-way mirrors reflecting an infinity of glowing polka-dotted pumpkins within it. The work, one of Kusama’s signature mirrored environments, will be installed in the Visitor Center Gallery. Viewed from the outside, the installation is accompanied by a statement by the artist that reads, in part, “My pumpkins, beloved of all the plants in the world. When I see pumpkins, I cannot efface the joy of them being my everything, nor the awe I hold them in.”

On display in the Mertz Library Building, Kusama’s 1945 sketchbook reveals the 16-year-old artist’s keen eye for detail in some 50 drawings capturing the bloom cycle of tree peonies. This early work is the product of a lifelong connection with the natural world that has inspired her practice across mediums, and also portends the avant-garde ideas she developed while living in New York City between 1958 and 1973 as a contemporary of Joseph Cornell, Eva Hesse, Donald Judd, and Claes Oldenburg, and continues to explore rigorously today.

The Library Building presentation will feature examples of her botanical sketches, works on paper, biomorphic collages, assemblage boxes, and recent soft sculpture and paintings on canvas depicting flora and its limitless variety of patterns.

Kusama’s considerable body of performance works is represented in the exhibition by projected photographs of Walking Piece (ca. 1966), a performance in which Kusama walked the streets of New York wearing a bright-pink floral kimono and carrying an umbrella decorated with artificial flowers. Art historians have analyzed Walking Piece as a carefully calculated representation of the artist’s ethnicity and gender, one that was intended to demand attention. Interpretation will provide further context for the artist’s performance works.

From monumental polka-dotted pumpkin sculptures to abstract paintings that suggest cells magnified thousands of times, Kusama’s works suggest the patterns that can be observed all around us. In Patterns in Nature: Science Walk, a self-guided walking tour bringing together living plants and images of magnified laboratory specimens, visitors will explore the visible and microscopic patterns that can be found in nature, and how they reveal what makes species unique, as well as how all living things are connected at the genomic level.

Lauren Turchio, NYBG Vice President for Garden Experience, said, “When the exhibition had to be postponed last spring, Yayoi Kusama shared a moving message that read, in part: ‘The passion that I and those at The New York Botanical Garden have poured into this exhibition is still burning. Everyone, I hope you will wait.’ We are so grateful to our visitors for waiting for this once-in-a-lifetime presentation.”

Programs and Publication

KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature will be accompanied by a roster of public programs for all ages, including pop-up performances by musicians, jugglers, and puppeteers; self-guided “Kids Get Cosmic” activities in the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden; and more. Signature exhibition merchandise will be available for purchase at NYBG Shop.

Coming in summer 2021, a fully illustrated exhibition catalogue, co-published with Rizzoli Electa, will include essays by KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature guest curator Mika Yoshitake, art historian Jenni Sorkin, curator Alexandra Munroe, and NYBG curators and scientists that focus on Kusama’s lifelong engagement with nature and the ways in which her interest in nature and plants has formed her career-long investigation of themes of the cosmos and the interconnectedness of all living things. Images of works displayed at The New York Botanical Garden will be featured.

Ticketing

Since reopening July 28, 2020, the Garden has incorporated safety measures based on best practices and guidelines from health authorities and government agencies. Admission to the Garden is currently available through the advance purchase of timed tickets.

KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature tickets go on sale for NYBG Patrons beginning on March 9, 2021, Members on March 11, 2021, and the general public on March 16, 2021. The new, limited, timed-entry ticketing system staggers visitors’ arrivals and promotes social distancing. Advance purchase of timed tickets is required and will be confirmed by e-mail with the option to print or download a mobile ticket.

The following options will be available:

  • KUSAMA Garden & Gallery Passincludes access to all KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature outdoor installations across the grounds and access to the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, installations in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library Building and Ross Gallery, as well as interior access to Flower Obsession and Pumpkins Screaming About Love Beyond Infinity in the Visitor Center Gallery, plus the Tram Tour and Garden features including the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden and outdoor collections.
  • KUSAMA Garden Pass (Non-NYC Residents)includes access to all KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature outdoor installations across the grounds, plus Garden features including the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden and outdoor collections.
  • KUSAMA Garden Pass (NYC Residents) includes access to all KUSAMA: Cosmic Natureoutdoor installations across the grounds, plus Garden features including the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden and outdoor collections.
  • A timed-entry ticket will be required to access the interior of Infinity Mirrored Room–Illusion Inside the Heart. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

NYBG will welcome Bronx Health Care Heroes and Bronx Neighbors to KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature with complimentary tickets. Communities in the Bronx are among the most severely impacted by COVID-19 in New York City. Through these community access initiatives, the Garden seeks to acknowledge, with gratitude, the dedication, strength, and resilience of Bronx frontline health care workers and residents. Additional information about these initiatives will be available in the coming weeks.

About The New York Botanical Garden

Founded in 1891, The New York Botanical Garden is the most comprehensive botanical garden in the world and an integral part of the cultural fabric of New York City, anchored in the Bronx. Visitors come to the Garden to connect with nature for joy, beauty, and respite, and for renowned plant-based exhibitions, music and dance, and poetry and lectures. Innovative children’s education programs promote environmental sustainability and nutrition awareness, graduate programs educate the next generation of botanists, while engaging classes inspire adults to remain lifelong learners. The 250-acre verdant landscape, which includes a 50-acre, old-growth forest and the landmark Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, support living collections of more than one million plants. Unparalleled resources are also held in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library, the world’s most important botanical and horticultural library with 11 million archival items spanning ten centuries, and William and Lynda Steere Herbarium, the largest in the Western Hemisphere with 7.8 million plant and fungal specimens. Committed to protecting the planet’s biodiversity and natural resources, Garden scientists work on-site in cutting-edge molecular labs and in areas worldwide where biodiversity is most at risk.

###

KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature is presented by:

Major Sponsors: Tom and Janet Montag and MetLife Foundation

Generous support provided by: Citi and Delta Air Lines

Digital experience provided by: Bloomberg Philanthropies

Additional support provided by: Arthur F. and Alice E. Adams Charitable Foundation

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts; and The New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Exhibitions in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory are made possible by the Estate of Enid A. Haupt.

LUESTHER T. MERTZ CHARITABLE TRUST: Providing leadership support for year-round programming at NYBG

The New York Botanical Garden is located at 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, New York 10458. For more information, visit their website.

Kaelen Felix illustrates Ritchie Torres for 360 Magazine

TRAILBLAZER: CONGRESSMAN RITCHIE TORRES

By Elle Grant

January 3rd marked the commencement of the 117th Congress and the swearing of its newest members. For many, it marked the beginning of a new dawn. One that will be followed by the inauguration of TIME’s People of the Year, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. They will replace President Trump on Inauguration Day on January 20th. Yet several other remarkable individuals were elected this year and sworn in a bit earlier, solidifying the 117th Congress as the most diverse in American history. One of these representatives is a freshly elected Ritchie Torres, a 32-year-old politician serving the 15th congressional district in the Bronx, New York. Torres is the first openly gay Afro-Latino man elected to Congress, and one of two gay Black men that will serve in the 117th Congress, a distinction he shares with fellow New Yorker Mondaire Jones. 360 Magazine had the opportunity to sit down with Torres to discuss the story of his life, the issues he considers vital, as well as pick his brain for his thoughts on current events.

“I am a product of the Bronx,” Torres says of his childhood, “I spent most of my life in poverty.” Ritchie Torres was raised by a single mother, one of three children, in the Throggs Neck neighborhood of the East Bronx. He recalls the difficulty his mother had raising a family on minimum wage in the 1990s, as well as the awful conditions of the public housing he grew up in. Torres recollects these experiences with the soft yet fluid countenance that marked his speech throughout 360’s conversation with him. He floats between topics and memories with ease.

He recalls, with a rich sense of irony, the construction of Trump Golf Links as a child. “My life is something of a metaphor. I grew up right across the street of what became Trump golf course and actually something funny, is when the golf course was undergoing construction, it unleashed a skunk infestation. So, I often tell people I’ve been smelling the stench of Donald Trump long before he became President.” His own situation, compared with the government subsidized construction of the Trump Golf Links, deeply unsettled Torres’ image of society. He says collectively of his youth, “Those experiences shape not only who I am as a person, but as a public official.”

Such injustices prompted Torres to seek to become “The change that you wish the see in the world,” he says, quoting Mahatma Gandhi. He named public figures such as Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, Ted Kennedy as role models. He got his start as a housing organizer and eventually took the leap of faith to run for public office, becoming New York’s youngest elected city official at age 25. He had “No ties to the machine. No ties to the dynasties of Bronx politics, but I was young and energetic. I knocked on thousands of doors,” he claims that kind of face-to-face contact won him that election. Torres then became the first LGBTQ+ official elected from the Bronx.

“I think it has several implications,” he says when asked what this early accomplishment meant to him. “I mean, first, we are all products of our identities and our lived experiences. Right? Who we are as people shapes what we do as policy makers. It is important to have LGBTQ policy makers in the room where decisions are being made. A wise person once said, ‘If you don’t have a seat at the table, then you are probably on the menu.’” Referring to his 2020 election win, he says “My election means that LGBTQ people of color, in particular, will have a seat at one of the most powerful tables, the United States Congress.” He calls the reality of his election both empowering and normalizing. “I am a symbol of possibility.”

“I met Mondaire for the first time four years ago,” Torres says of Mondaire Jones, U.S. representative of New York’s 17th congressional district. “I remember when I met him for the first time, we had a conversation about the lack of LGBTQ representation of color in New York state politics. And I never imagined that four years later, he and I would become the first openly LGBTQ Black members of United States Congress.”

Congressmen Torres recognizes that his path, though marked with accomplishments, has not been one of only highs. Torres stands apart as a public official on the national stage who is open about the lows of his life and his struggles with mental health. When asked why he chooses to be so transparent, he says “I felt a deep sense of obligation to speak openly about my own struggles with depression in order to break the silence and shame and stigma that surrounds mental health.” He seeks to evolve, not perpetuate, the current ideas surrounding mental health. He hopes to show that “there is a way forward” out of difficult moments, which for him were struggles with substance abuse, the loss of a friend, and moments when he considered taking his own life. But seven years later, Torres was elected to city council. “I would not be alive today, much less a member of the United States Congress, were it not for mental health care which saved my life.” He aspires to send a message that “Recovery is possible. You can take an antidepressant, as I do every day, and find normalcy and stability” and achieve feats like being elected to Congress.

The 117th Congress is slated to be the most diverse in history. Torres says of this reality, “I think American is increasingly becoming a multi-racial, multi-ethnic inclusive democracy. We are witnessing the collapse of politics as an old voice network. I am part of a new generation of young leaders every bit as diverse as America itself. Congress is becoming what it always should have been, a miniaturization of America itself.”

Torres acknowledges the year 2020, monumental in many ways, as harrowing for his Bronx community. “COVID-19 has been a catastrophe for the city and the country, and the South Bronx has been the epicenter of COVID-19. The South Bronx had the highest rate of COVID-19 morbidity and mortality during the peak of the pandemic. And just as destructive as COVID-19 itself were the deeper inequalities that were brought to light.” He argued that the coronavirus exposed the deeper health inequalities, racial inequalities, and class inequalities laid bare by the pandemic.

These issues are at the forefront of Torres’ mind in thinking of his work as a legislator. When asked what he saw as the first step to rectifying the rampant racial injustice in the United States, he answered “the first thing is to bring greater accountability to policing in America,” an argument familiar to many Americans following the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd and their ensuing protests. As the Black Lives Matter movement swept the nation with greater momentum than ever before, cries for justice and defunding the police became common across the country’s cities. “Where there is no accountability, there will never be an end to police brutality” Torres says, being especially critical of qualified immunity in the United States.

Torres heads to Congress as a man with a mission regarding many issues. He himself declares “My great passion is affordable housing,” reflecting a long journey working continually in the housing sphere. He seeks to secure far greater funding for public housing in New York City and to expand the Section 8 program. The Section 8 program, also known as the Housing Choice Voucher program, created by an act in 1978, provides assistance to eligible low- and moderate-income families to rent housing in the private market. Torres says, “For me the surest way to stimulate the economy is to put money in the pockets of struggling families.” In order to do that, he believes the solution is an expanded child tax credit, which he describes as the single largest tax expenditure in America, yet he finds fault with a system that is “so regressive that it excludes a third of American families. Particularly the poorest families in America.” Torres’ passion shines through when he discusses the subject, detailing how this solution could slash childhood poverty by 40% in the span of the year. He calls its potential an absolute “game changer.”

Without question, affordable housing and tax reform are the first issues Torres hopes to address after being sworn in to the 117th Congress on January 3rd, 2020. “For me, the central mission of my life is to fight poverty in America. Racially constructed poverty in America. The South Bronx is said to be the poorest district in America and if we can make progressive policies work in the South Bronx, we can make them work anywhere.”

360 Magazine also had the opportunity to discuss a variety of current issues with Congressman Torres, one of which being the then impending Senate run-offs in Georgia. Following races too close to call in November 2020, Republican incumbent David Perdue is facing a challenge from Democrat Jon Ossoff. Additionally, GOP appointee Kelly Loeffler is defending her seat against Democrat Reverend Raphael Warnock. The election is vital because it will determine which party will control the Senate. “The stakes are supremely important,” Torres says of Georgia. “As long as Mitch McConnell refuses to bring critical bills to the floor for a vote, there is a limit to what we can accomplish. For me, Mitch McConnell is the single greatest obstruction on the path to progress. Winning those two seats in Georgia are essential.”

Regarding the impending mayoral race in his home of New York City, as well as early polls that display former Presidential candidate Andrew Yang as the frontrunner, Torres is coy. “The mayor’s race is wide open. Anyone who claims to have it figured out is lying.” He goes on to affirm “It is full of more than one credible candidate.”

“To be clear, I never announced that I wasn’t going to be in the squad.” Torres says, referring to ‘The Squad’ of United States Congress, composed of Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a fellow New Yorker, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib. With new young progressive politicians like Torres joining the fray, claims of expanding membership are common. Torres, along with the aforementioned Mondaire Jones, as well as Congresswoman Cori Bush, Congresswoman Marie Newman, and Congressman Jamaal Brown are commonly referred to as impending members.

Instead, Torres clarifies, “I would never issue an announcement that I would not be a part of something. That would be an odd thing to do. Whenever I’m asked about the squad, I simply state that I’m my own person and I prefer to be judged on the basis of my own story and my own record, on my own terms.” He goes on to assert he is willing to work with “anyone and everyone in the service of delivering to the people of the South Bronx. That is my highest priority.” Torres is clear in this declaration that he is willing to work with more conservative members of his own party or the Republican party in hopes of progress.

On a future in politics, Torres affirmed his intent to serve the people in the moment and to “let the dice fall where they may” regarding the future. When asked what wisdom he would impart to a younger generation, Congressman Torres says “We are all only as strong as the support we have in our lives and be grateful for the supporters you have. The friends and family. I would not be here today if not for the friendship of people who believed in me more than I believed in myself. Know who those people are and value them and be grateful for them.”

Update as of 1/14/21, Congressman Ritchie Torres has formally endorsed former presidential candidate Andrew Yang for mayor of New York City. This comes just a day after Andrew Yang announced his campaign in a video titled ‘Why I’m Running,’ which features Torres in it.

Frank Pena for 360 Magazine

Jonte’ Moaning × Brian Thomas

360 Magazine had the opportunity to collaborate with Jonte’ Moaning and Brian Thomas for an editorial fashion shoot that encompasses the new age of fashion. The incredibly talented duo worked together to produce a photoshoot that displays high fashion and uniqueness. The creative director of the shoot was Franklin Peña and the production was done by Brian Rubiano

This shoot features two exquisite looks which Moaning carries off flawlessly. The chained shirt, paired with leather shorts and unique, gladiator boots creates a modern-day, stylish armor. The second look features a silver overcoat with red and black dripping detail falling from the jacket’s shoulders. When paired with this statement red and grey hat, the look comes together effortlessly. 

Jonte’ Moaning has been a pioneer for the entertainment industry worldwide. He has influenced major pop artists with his unique discography. His work can recently be seen in the Black is King film which was directed, written and executively produced by Beyoncé. Jonte’ has been of major importance for the LGTBQ+ community and has broken down barriers for men to explore their gender expression. 

Jonte’ is best known for taking part in curating the iconic “Sasha Fierce” persona of BeyoncéAlthough, he has also worked closely with a number of other notable artists such as Janet Jackson, Cassie, Tamar Braxton, Blackpink and many more.

Jonte’ released his first solo single, “Bitch You Betta” in 2008 and has continued to release music from there. The artist has stated that he was inspired to work on his solo career while he was working alongside performing artists and felt that he “could do it better.”

As a performer, Jonte’ is known for his androgynous look and trademark high heels which challenge classic gender norms. He has worked into the elite status and continues to produce music that embodies all he represents. His music, along with his style makes waves within the entertainment industry and this editorial shoot is no different. 

You can read more about Jonte’s successful career on his website, HelloJonte.com.

The photographer for the shoot, Brian Thomas, is an astound choreographer and photographer who is best known for working with legend Michael Jackson. Throughout his career, he has gained a great deal of experience and works closely with a variety of performing artists. Thomas also owns Spinkick Pictures in New York City, which produces extraordinary films. 

Thomas has had major success in the directing industry and some of his credits include “Amy’s Victory Dance,” an award-winning documentary as well as, “Follow, Lead, Love” and “P.S. Love Robby,” two documentaries currently in production. He also directed the short film, “Dark Matter” which features dancer Desmond Richardson

Thomas has also won the GLAM award for various music videos including “Higher Love,” which stares Carishma. He has also worked as the Associate Director for the Cirque du Soleil  Flash mob Time Square performance. 

As well as being an accredited director, Thomas has choreographed for many notable stars. He has worked with stars such as Michael Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Pink, Whitney Houston, Usher, Jason Durelo and Alicia Keys, all giant names within the music industry. He has also worked closely with stars like Destiny’s Child, Jamie Foxx, Mya, Brian McKnight, Deborah Cox, India Arie, Liza Minnelli, Gloria Gaynor and Marc Anthony to produce stellar choreography. 

Thomas has also choreographed for companies such as Sesame Street, The Electric Company, New York City Knicks Dancers, Brooklynettes, Optimum triple play, Are We There Yet, and numerous other TV and live stage events.

Thomas explained that his mission is to promote empathy through his work with Visual Art. He wants to further conversations about Equality, Representation, and Diversity which he certainly does with his films.   

Read more about Brian Thomas and his success on his website, http://brianthomasfilms.com/

The creative direction of the shoot was executed by Franklin Peña, a professional dancer and fashion model from New York City. He has always been heavily involved in the entertainment industry and in 2016 decided to make the move from the Bronx to Los Angeles. There, he appeared on E Network’s reality show, What Happens at The Abbey. This series takes a glance inside of The Abbey in West Hollywood, which is known as the “Best Gay Bar in the World.” The show follows the workers of the bar as they interact with celebrities and navigate love and drama. 

Pena was also tapped by 360 Magazine as a red carpet correspondent in 2017. He continues to grow his success working with a variety of other creatives in the industry. 

This shoot was produced by Brian Rubiano. As a first-generation immigrant from the Philippines, Brian Rubiano has gained success as an actor and producer. He also started “Humanize It,” his own Film Production and Brand Strategy consultation company. 

Rubiano has worked closely with Brian Thomas on many similar films for Spinkick Pictures. Rubiano worked as the Post-Production Producer for both the Award-Winning feature documentary “Amy’s Victory Dance” and the short film “Dark Matter,” both of which Thomas also worked on. 

Rubiano has a goal to use his platform, skills & knowledge in order to help artists and the creative community to expand their brand’s purpose. He aspires to be a vessel to the voiceless, marginalized & underrepresented by using film production as his medium.

You can keep up with Moaning, Thomas, Peña and Rubiano on their Instagrams. 

Model: Jonte’ Moaning 

Photographer: Brian Thomas 

Creative Direction: Franklin Peña

Producer: Brian Rubiano

Frank Pena for 360 Magazine

Frank Pena for 360 Magazine

Jamaine Ortiz Illustration for 360 Magazine by Kaelen Felix

Q×A with Jamaine Ortiz

Jamaine “The Technician” Ortiz, an up and coming, 23-year-old boxer, is making his name in the world of boxing. After growing up in Worcester, Massachusetts, the young boxer turned pro in 2016. His amateur record is 100-14 and he has already won many awards for his skill.

During the recent Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr. fight that was shown on pay-per-view, Ortiz was victorious over Sulaiman Segawa of Silver Spring, Maryland. After scoring a technical knockout in the last 10 seconds of the seventh round, Ortiz gained the WBC USNBC Silver lightweight title. This was his first fight outside of New England and he certainly made himself known in the fighting community. After winning this fight, Ortiz jumped from 76th to 44th in the world for the lightweight division. If he keeps winning, Ortiz is predicted to fight for a major world title by late 2021.

360 Magazine sat down with Ortiz to ask him questions about his professional career, personal life and future.

What was your upbringing like? Was there always a focus on athletics?

I started boxing at seven years old, and I was always an athletic kid, playing sports and outside.

Where did you learn to box?

I learned how to box at the Boys & Girls Club of Ionic Ave.

Why boxing?

I use to get into fights as a kid, I like that its a one on one sport I don’t have to rely on anyone. Over time, I noticed I was winning a lot and kept it going.

Who are your role models, boxing or otherwise?

My role model was my coach Carlos Garcia.

You’re currently the Undefeated World Boxing Youth World lightweight champion. What does this accomplishment mean to you?

I’m actually the former Youth World lightweight champion due to my age since I turned 24 last April, currently, I hold the WBC USNBC Silver lightweight title. The accomplishment is just a stepping stone, I have far more to go and I understand its a process and this is part of the process.

Your nickname is ‘The Technician’ where does this come from?

A technician is a person skilled in an art or craft by dictionary standards and when it comes to boxing, and me being a carpenter, I’m now an active trader. It was a perfect fit since everything I do, including things in my personal life, I’m technical about it. So it’s a name that reflects more than just boxing.

You’ve been boxing competitively for more than a decade. How have you evolved during that time, technique-wise and also personally?

Time is the mother of greatness, practicing repeatedly overtime is only natural; I’m going to get better.

How has your career been impacted by COVID-19 and 2020?

Luckily I was able to get a fight right before the impact of covid came I didn’t get to fight as much as I normally would. I probably would have had about 4 fights in a year but I had two with the last one being a great exposure bout.

Tell us about your interests outside of boxing.

I enjoy nature and I spend most of my time with family. Always working on self-development, a lot of stocks, and trying to find real estate deals.

Do you still have Olympic aspirations? What are your future boxing goals?

Olympics of boxing is an amateur sport but recently I think in 2016, they allowed pros to compete but it is heavily dominated by amateurs. In the next year, I see myself becoming World Champion at the lightweight Division and reaching for that pound for pound list.

What is your go-to move in a fight?

Not sure, probably switching from orthodox to southpaw.

What makes you unique as a boxer?

My ability to switch stances easily and my technique.

BoxRec

Tapology

RingTV

Behind The Ropes

Graffiti and art article illustrated by Gabrielle Archuleta for 360 magazine

Graffiti Art: Hobby, Art, or Political Statement

It is perhaps deliberately that this has been framed as a loaded question, is graffiti art considered to be art? But this takes us directly to the heart of the matter, what constitutes something being art is very truly on the eye of the beholder. But some serious debates are surrounding this topic.

Terminology

The term graffiti itself is problematic. Consider this article about prominent Chicago artist Dont Fret, he is referred to as a street artist. This distinction offers a more constructive spin on the entire artform, as street art is a more creative and acceptable term. You can see how celebrated the artist is from the article as he is lauded by a city official.

Criminality

Should we be considering graffiti, or street art, a crime? Well, technically it is, but only in some circumstances. The crux of the matter comes down to permission. If you paint, draw, or write anything on a surface without permission of the property owner, then by the letter of the law, it would be considered illegal vandalism. Would this result in prosecution in reality? This mainly depends on the owners’ attitude since much of the art is done either with permission or in abandoned spaces, the level of prosecution these days seems to be low in most areas. What of art on publicly owned buildings? This is a subject of hot debate as it brings politics into it (more on that later).

Should we Encourage it?

Is it an art form that should be encouraged? You could encourage young people to use it to express themselves. Take an art class, equip them with some Dang Paint and find an area to let them give it a go. Many art schools and colleges have whole courses on graffiti art as a legitimate medium. Reputation still holds it back for some more conservative folks, but it is steadily gaining momentum as a serious and respected medium.

Part of the City

In many places, grafitti art has become a defining feature of the city and its culture. High-quality street art can be stunningly beautiful and show much of the culture and history of a place when done well. Take the series of stunning murals in Glasgow, Scotland that is now a famous feature that residents and visitors to the city rightly marvel at. 

Politics

Politics often, but not always, plays a big part in street art or graffiti art. Take the world-famous Banksy, no-one even knows who he or she is, but many of the pieces are political, showing a real flavor of social commentary. These pieces have sparked more social debate in the last couple of decades than any traditional artform as they reach ordinary people who would never have considered visiting an art gallery. Other more overtly political examples can be seen in communities with a much more overt political struggle, the murals on display in Northern Irish communities, on both sides, are excellent examples.

New York Botanical Garden Reopening

The Botanical Garden began phase 1 of its reopening plan, welcoming the general public to the grounds of its 250-acre site, on July 28.

NYBG is among the most comprehensive botanical gardens in the world, an urban oasis and integral part of the cultural fabric of New York City, anchored in the Bronx. In this next phase of NYBG’s reopening, visitors will once again be able to explore the Haupt Conservatory’s interconnected galleries, each featuring a different botanical habitat and specimens from around the globe. Outdoors, the verdant landscape is currently showcasing seasonal standouts such as striking cardinal flowers, mauve asters, and sweeping grasses among its one million plants.

Scenic paths and trails crisscross the Garden providing opportunities for discovery through encounters with nature. The gardens, outdoor collections, and natural features include the Native Plant Garden, with its meadow, woodland, promenade, and centerpiece water feature; Bronx River, with its waterfall, which runs through the 50-acre Thain Family Forest; layered and colorful patterns and plant groupings of the Perennial and Herb Gardens; lushly textured Chilton Azalea Garden; award-winning Rockefeller Rose Garden; inviting paths through the Ross Conifer Arboretum; Benenson Ornamental Conifers; and more.

Tram Tours, public programs, and group tours remain suspended temporarily as a safety precaution. The LuEsther T. Mertz Library, Edible Academy, Everett Children’s Adventure Garden, and Hudson Garden Grill remain closed.

The first phase of NYBG’s public reopening was prefaced by Appreciation Week, when Garden Members, Bronx Health Care Heroes from the eight public and private hospitals in the borough, and Bronx Neighbors were welcomed with first access and complimentary tickets. Communities in the Bronx are among the most severely impacted by COVID-19 in New York City. Through this initiative, the Garden acknowledges, with gratitude, the dedication, strength, and resilience of Bronx frontline health care workers and residents. Free grounds admission for those groups, originally slated to conclude September 13, has been extended through February 28, 2021.

The Garden’s gradual reopening process incorporates enhanced safety measures based on best practices and guidance from health authorities and government agencies. New measures include requiring staff and visitors over the age of two to wear face coverings; increasing sanitization of public and staff areas; daily health screenings for on-site staff; supporting hygiene and social distancing practices; requiring timed-entry tickets purchased in advance; operating at a reduced capacity; and more.

The new, limited timed-entry ticketing system staggers visitorsߣ arrivals, promotes social distancing, and mitigates the risk of crowding in high-traffic areas. Advance purchase of timed tickets is required and will be confirmed by e-mail with the option to print or download a mobile ticket. Ticket options include the Garden Pass + Conservatory for access to the outdoor gardens and collections, the newly reopened Conservatory galleries, and the Courtyards; the Garden Pass for access to outdoor gardens and collections; and the Grounds-Only Pass, available to New York City residents only with valid proof of identification. Visitors who do not purchase advance tickets will not be guaranteed admission at this time. Garden Patrons and Members must also reserve timed tickets in advance. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the website at nybg.org.

Gabrielle Marchan illustrates Marsha's House in the Bronx for 360 MAGAZINE.

Marsha’s House: Shelter for LGBTQ+

In Greenwich Village near where Stonewall Inn resides, a monument will be built to honor the legacy of Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, trailblazers and history-makers for the LGBTQ+ community. Marsha P. Johnson was a black transgender woman and drag queen, whose outspoken activism and radical vision during the Gay Liberation Movement continues to inspire people today.

A monument isn’t the only place bearing her memory. Marsha’s House- operated by the nonprofit Project Renewal- opened on February 15, 2017 to continue to serve the community as Marsha did, by taking in homeless LGBTQ+ young adults. With the added risks and discrimination that they face, Marsha’s House seeks to provide valuable resources and shelter to these LGBTQ+ youth.

According to a report done by the National Institutes of Health, around 62% of homeless LGBTQ+ youth have faced discrimination from their families. Jazmine Pérez, Program Director of Marsha’s House, stressed the importance of having a “safe space dedicated to [LGBTQ+ homeless youth]” as “New York City had never had housing tailored to their needs.”

These youth face particular adversities that are further complicated when alternative housing options do not have the facilities to aid them, or are outright discriminatory towards them. A study done by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln shows that 41% of homeless and runaway LGBTQ+ adolescents they interviewed have major depression, in comparison to 28% of homeless heterosexual adolescents interviewed.

 Marsha’s House boasts a variety of programs catered towards some of the issues that LGBTQ+ individuals face. Pérez outlines services which include “referrals to legal supportive services, education, healthcare, and employment programs.”

Additionally, clients that come to Marsha’s House are assured personalized living arrangements that assist each individual in finding employment and housing. “Our Case Managers and Peer Counselors meet with clients to ensure compliance with their individual living plan. They work closely with our Job Developer, Vocational Counselor, and Housing Coordinator to secure employment and housing.”

Concerns over Covid-19 pandemic are ever prevalent in the context of shared living facilities, like homeless shelters. However, Marsha’s House eases some of this concern by screening potential clients for the virus, enforcing social distancing, and cutting down accommodation from 81 beds to 60 in its 5-floor-walk-up facility. The facility maintains 20 rooms of various sizes, from single rooms to larger rooms that accommodate up to 6 people.

But Covid-19 hasn’t been the only adversity Marsha’s House has faced in recent years. The Trump administration has continued to be a source of disparaging policies and remarks against the LGBTQ+ community. On July 23, 2020, the Department of Housing and Urban Development formally announced a proposal that would reverse the 2012 Equal Access Rule, which warrants protection for homeless transgender people against discrimination by homeless shelters and other federally funded alternative housing. 

This comes as a setback and large blow to the transgender community. A 2015 survey done by The National Center for Transgender Equality shows that “70% of respondents who stayed in a shelter in the past year reported some form of mistreatment, including being harassed, sexually or physically assaulted, or kicked out because of being transgender.” The HUD’s rollback on the Equal Access Rule would only serve to undo the progress that has been made to make homeless shelters more safe to the marginalized people that need them.

    “The rhetoric and policies of the Trump administration have disregarded the very identities of our clients and staff, especially when it comes to the intersectionality of our existence,” said Pérez. “Speaking personally, as a woman of color with trans experience, I feel like I have three strikes against me in the eyes of this administration.”

Despite these incredible challenges they face, Marsha’s House continues to receive equally incredible help- from the support coming from their progressive state of New York, to the generous donors that help fund Project Renewal, to the operations staff that help run things every single day. “Our Marsha’s House Heroes are our operations staff. As essential workers, they have not skipped a beat with reporting to work and providing the support our clients needed. Being that we are a shelter, we operate 24/7/365, and our operations staff members are always here for their full 8-hour shifts.”