Visual Artist; Founder, El Taller Boricua
ABOUT: “I try to recreate contemporary art using the aboriginal aesthetic... my work is about keeping that aesthetic alive,” says Marcos Dimas. Dimas finds inspiration in the roots of his Latino heritage, but also in the contemporary styles of Rauschenberg, Pollock, and the Mexican muralists. His brightly-colored, abstract works embody the bold multi-cultural, multi-generational character of El Barrio. Still, Dimas is valued in the neighborhood for even more than his individual works; he is also responsible for the cultural education of the community. For forty-two years, Dimas has served El Barrio as co-founder of El Taller Boricua, a nonprofit artists’ workshop located in the Julia de Burgos Cultural Center that offers arts instruction, events, and exhibition space to the community. The Center, whose mission was to “educate different communities” about arts and culture on a “grassroots level,” offers unique workshops such as printmaking, graphic arts, mural painting, and silk screening, all of which are open to the public. It is also the centerpiece of the “cultural corridor” of El Barrio, located on 106th St. and Lexington Avenue.
COMMUNITY VISIONS: Dimas is disappointed in the way in which the city has limited Taller Boricua and the Julia de Burgos Cultural Center from reaching their full potential as community resources. “This was supposed to be like a beehive-- organizations feeding off each other,” he says. Now, it is “not really a cultural center-- just a rental space.” He also comments that the community members in El Barrio often have difficulty financially supporting the arts, but that they “take advantage of the resources [the Center provides].” “We try to provide education for the young people so that the next generation can enjoy [art],” he explains.