Visual Artist/Educator at Union Settlement
237 E. 104th St.
ABOUT: As an educator at the Union Settlement Association, Eliezar Berrios, better known to his students as Mr. B., “offers opportunity to the people in the community.” Berrios, who has lived and worked in East Harlem all his life, ensures that community members of all ages find and use the resources available to them. He guides his students through everything from basic addition and subtraction to the college process and the professional world, all the while with an encouraging smile. When he is not busy at Union Settlement or teaching art classes for seniors at Covello Senior Center, Berrios returns to his family’s home in Puerto Rico, from which he draws inspiration for his paintings and photography. Berrios’ work has been exhibited in several locations around the city, and his students’ works decorate the Union Settlement sites.
COMMUNITY RECOMMENDATIONS: Berrios recognizes that community members in El Barrio are often too financially burdened to support the arts. “People appreciate the work, but there’s not a lot of spending,” he explains. Even so, Berrios points out that there are not many spots in the neighborhood where people could do some art-related spending; “there are no real art stores in this community." In addition, Berrios would like to see more art galleries and a "nice bookstore with books on the arts." He adds that Union Settlement could also use more space for adult education programming.