ABOUT: "Having a clear vision [with] a solid structure and a practical mission" is key for any organization, says Junior Manon of Art for Change. In the years that he's been there, Manon has transitioned from being a volunteer to the current president of the board. Art for Change has proved to be a lasting presence in the neighborhood, and its name is visible on the many colorful murals that it has sponsored all throughout El Barrio. However, "our main program has always been our exhibition program out of our gallery space [at 1699 Lexington Ave]," says Manon, noting that keeping the gallery open even one day a week, Saturdays from 1-5, is becoming increasingly challenging. While the group is currently looking for a permanent space and is adjusting to having a working board of directors, Manon is confident that everything Art for Change does moving forward will be "in line" with its mission-- to use art to help the community.
COMMUNITY VISIONS: “I don’t think East Harlem is missing cultural resources,” Manon notes. “I just think its resources need to be activated for a larger audience.” For instance, the community gardens all over El Barrio “are excellent cultural resources, but people don’t know about them.” Manon would like to see better utilization of the artistic assets within the neighborhood. “The arts community is very vibrant and diverse, but it would benefit from stronger marketing and more collaborations,” he says. “It has a lot of potential.”