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This tenth anniversary article, written by Nuyorican poet Americo Casiano, recounts the origins of Taller Boricua [Puerto Rican Workshop] as a visual arts organization born from the need to decentralize the dissemination of art from major New York institutions. Located in the heart of the Puerto Rican community of El Barrio in East Harlem (New York City), the history of Taller Boricua is tied to that of other important local activist groups such as The Real Great Society and the Young Lords Party advocating community empowerment. The Taller’s main goals are to work toward the development of a Puerto Rican aesthetic in art, provide working space for Puerto Rican artists living in this city, and promote visual arts in the community by means of workshops, exhibitions, and mentorship programs for young artists.


This article offers a concise history of the first decade of Taller Boricua’s existence. This Puerto Rican artist collective was founded in 1970 by Marcos Dimas, Adrian Garcia, Manuel Otero, and Martin Rubio in East Harlem (New York City); so that the founders of Taller Boricua were active in the Puerto Rican empowerment movement and The Art Workers’ Coalition, a multiethnic artist organization that fought to end racial, ethnic, and gender discrimination in museums and galleries in New York City. The article portrays this organization as a hub for the arts that also attracted poets, filmmakers, and musicians from New York, Puerto Rico, and the international community.

Taína Caragol
Courtesy of poet Américo Casiano Jr., author and former participant at CETA, Art Project of Association of Hispanic Art, New York, NY, 1979.