Press Release: Percent for Green

Alicia Grullón’s Percent for Green at Longwood Art Gallery, The Bronx. From June 4 through August 6

Longwood Art Project, the visual arts program of the Bronx Council on the Arts (BCA) invites you to the launch of Percent for Green, a project by artist Alicia Grullón, a long-time Bronx resident. She will engage with visitors to Percent for Green with roundtables and other events three days a week from June 4th through August 6th 2014, in the Project Room of Longwood Art Gallery at Hostos Community College. Hers is one of seven projects in inClimate: Climate Change, Solutions and Action.  Percent for Art, a law in New York City since 1982, sparked an idea for Grullón. When city financing is involved in an eligible building’s construction, one percent of that budget must be used to create public art. Grullón reasoned, “why not a green law for the Bronx modeled on Percent for Art?” Such a bill would require that buildings constructed in the Bronx, with financial support from the city, set aside a percentage of their budgets for a fund specifically targeted to serve and protect the environmental needs and rights of the borough’s low-income and underserved residents. For example, this fund could be used to repair or replace decaying infrastructure, provide for energy-efficient windows in apartments and homes, attack high levels of air pollution causing asthma, and teach residents how to prepare in the event of climate change extreme events. Grullón calls her project Percent for Green, not to be confused with the name the legislation might receive, if enacted. The artist’s work is to advocate for and see her proposal become law in New York City. Of course, any such effort requires legal counsel. After a long search,Grullón found the attorney for her needs. Joel Kupferman is Executive Director of the Environmental Law and Justice Project in New York City. and co-chair of the Environmental Justice Committee of the National Lawyers Guild. Grullón has added a key process to her work. As she envisions it, if enacted, the green law must state that the people of the Bronx will decide how best these environmental funds will be used, what democratic body will make specific decisions and how they will be selected. This will eliminate top-down decision-making for deploying the money. Her roundtables and other events beginning at Longwood Gallery will serve such democratic ends.

Percent for Green is one of seven works in inClimate: Climate Change Solutions, Awareness and Action, a project that opens in June 2014 and continues through May 2015. inClimate is based on the conviction that art and culture can reach communities that are underserved by governments, particularly when it comes to information about global warming and protection against its growing dangers. Each artist or group is working with a climate change specialist. The project is taking place in partnership with community organizations or public schools in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens, under the auspices of Franklin Furnace and its founding director Martha Wilson. Curator Regina Cornwell conceived inClimate. Franklin Furnace gratefully acknowledges support for inClimate from The Compton Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

About the Artist: Alicia Grullón is a Bronx-based artist creating socially engaged projects and performance art pieces. She focuses on topics dealing with activism, urbanism, the environment, memory, identity and language manifested in a variety of forms. Citizen action movements have had a strong influence on her. Grullón’s work has been exhibited at El Museo del Barrio, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Socrates Sculpture Park, Marccone and BRIC Galleries, among others. A recipient of a Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art award, she has completed artists’ residencies for the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Korea Arts Council and in Kassel Germany. Grullón holds a BFA from New York University and an MFA from the State University of New York at New Paltz. www.aliciagrullon.com

About the Curator: Regina Cornwell is the Curator and Organizer of inClimate: Climate Change Solutions, Awareness and Action. She also conceived the project. She brings to it her knowledge of art and media through years of writing and publishing in art magazines and elsewhere, teaching on the college and university levels, lecturing in museums, and organizing exhibitions. Cornwell combines this expertise with a decade immersed in climate change and writing about those who have experienced it first hand, particularly women. She has received three writing awards. Cornwell received climate change training in 2013, with the Climate Reality Project, initiated by Al Gore, who also teaches part of the program. With this training, she is making climate change presentations to people of all ages in and around NYC.

Schedule for Percent for Green Events 

Longwood Art Gallery, Hostos Community College 

149th St and Grand Concourse, Bronx, New York

June 4 through August 6, 2014

Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:00 to 5:00 pm

Talk Tuesdays: 6:00 to 8:00 pm, on specific dates for the following presentations, discussions and video screenings:

June 10 | Summit Night! Join community and neighborhood associations as they discuss their environmental needs and brainstorm ideas for legislation.

June 17 | Regina Cornwell, inClimate Curator, will present : “Global Warming: Why Are the Pipers Piping While the City Burns ?” followed by a lively interchange with the audience. At the Al Gore initiated Climate Reality Project she participated in training to give talks, write and create events to help build an aware citizenry willing to take significant actions to reduce carbon emissions and create other major changes while there is still time.

June 24 | Video screening, with two half-hour interviews. One features Chilean Economist Manfred Max-Neef on Barefoot Economics, Poverty and Why The U.S. is Becoming an “Underdeveloping Nation.” The second is one of the final interviews which Hermann Scheer gave before his death (1944-2010). The German lawmaker was a leading advocate for solar energy and “‘Hero for the Green Century’” Discussion will follow.

July 8 | Mychal Johnson of South Bronx Unite. He is one of the organizers of South Bronx Unite http://www.southbronxunite.com

Visit bronxarts.org and http://percentforgreen.tumblr.com/ for more info and updates. Schedule is subject to change; check with website or tumblr.

Note, for Thursday afternoons, Bronx residents can submit ideas for programming to the artist by email at percentforgreen@gmail.com


Directions: By train: 2,4 or 5 to 149th & Grand Concourse. By Bus: BX 1, 2 or 19 to 149th & Grand Concourse. Funding for this project has been made possible through a grant from the Bronx Council on the Arts through the Department of Cultural Affairs greater New York Arts Development Fund Program, as well as with funds from the Bronx Council on the Arts through the New York State Council on the Arts Decentralization Program.