Casita Maria


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Jasmine Robinson’s Thoughts on Painting with Pictures

Painting with Pictures, the current art exhibit, at Casita Maria is very creative. As I walk through the show, I become more and more interested. There are many different styles, mediums and cultures. Some of the questions I asked myself while viewing the show were: what did the artist want to say? What does the piece of art mean? Who’s the artist? What is the artist’s purpose? What was the artist’s inspiration? How long did it take? Did the artist ever want to give up? I love that the show leaves me with so many questions about each piece.

Deciding upon my favorite piece is a difficult choice. When I left the show, two pieces lingered in my mind. I think of them as a set.The two paintings are as opposite from each other as black and white. One of the two is beautiful. It isn’t a painting of anything specific. It’s a mural full of different types of bright pinks, with different areas of black, purple, blue, green, orange, yellow, and white. In my opinion the painting is full of life. It’s beautiful. It made me feel warm inside. The second painting is the exact opposite, it’s specific. The color is a wood brown. There’s a young child on the floor, laying lifeless.  There are what looks like spirits of people all around him. The painting is dull and emotionless. It almost makes me sad, but when I see this painting I think of the beautiful pink mural. Just like when I think of black I think of white.

I wish I could have the opportunity to thank each artist in person. I also wish that everyone could experience the kind of sensations the show stirred in me, particularly the rushing sense of curiosity.  I urge everyone to come see the show!

– Jasmine


Filed under: art gallery

A few musings: superhumanness, white walls and a new show!

Today we are finishing installing the show Painting with Pictures. Only last week, we took down the show for the Scholastic Art Awards. During the day, parents, teachers and students came to pick up artwork. One parent saw Lyla Rose painting parts of the wall and said “you sure wear a lot of hats!” I’m even amazed at how many roles and jobs Lyla takes on. One minute, she’s extending her arm out to Lila Downs, the next she’s inspiring young artists to BE BOLD and now she’s installing an entire show for tomorrow night. What does she eat? Super human food? Probably. Or maybe there’s a cape in her desk drawer that she keeps for the moments she needs to fly. Yep. Shrimp and capes.

Our walls never seem to be empty. If they are empty, it’s usually because there’s work resting on the floor, waiting to be hung.  It was strange to scrub the white walls down today. Without artwork, the walls blurred and almost dizzied me. The work that is going up now – curated by David Gibson, Savannah Spirit and Asya Geisberg – is amazing. I’ve never seen a show devoted to collage work before. The work is so alive it bursts. I love the use of color, text, pop culture and cultural history. The work is also very diverse. In our two large rooms, there are a total of 31 artists!

I’m sorry that I will be missing tomorrow night’s opening reception. Will you let me know it goes?

Painting with Pictures

May 21-July 21, 2010

Opening Reception: Friday, May 21, 6-9PM

Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education

Casita Gallery, 6th floor

928 Simpson Street

Bronx, NY 10459

6 train to Hunts Point Av, 2 or 5 to Simpson Street

Filed under: art gallery, opening

Art Show

This Friday, May.21, 2010 from 6-9 pm, Casita Maria will be hosting Painting With Pictures: A Show Curated by David Gibson, Savannah Spirit and Asya Geisberg.  People from all around the world have sent in their artwork to put on display. This week all of the interns and co-workers have been busy with the project. We’ve hung photographs and made sure to be careful with the artwork by keeping everything properly labeled. Hopefully things will be a success this weekend and a lot of people will attend!

Filed under: art gallery, opening

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Exhibition and Ceremony

This past weekend, we celebrated the 2010 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards for Middle School students and High School art students! We are now gearing up for the final ceremony at Casita Maria on Saturday!

Last week’s ceremony for middle school artists and writers was absolutely packed. At Scholastic, Inc young artists stood proudly next to their artwork on display. We expected over four hundred people to attend! There were so many guests that we had to broadcast the ceremony to another space.

As students, families and friends moved through the gallery, I became a little more nervous about speaking in front of everyone. I worked on my speech for weeks and often rehearsed it in front of my computer screen or patient boyfriend, blushing. Speaking to the 2010 Award Recipients was so important to me – I didn’t just want to encourage, I wanted to ignite. While supportive parents, friends and teachers are some of the best resources any young artist can ask for – an artist’s sense of agency is essential to realize early on.

At the ceremony, each recipient walks up to the microphone and says what school and award he or she received. Many students took the brief public speaking lightly – often breaking nervousness with funny remarks. It was wonderful to see everyone gathered as one New York Unit. I think that the recipients left with a real feeling of community.

Filed under: art gallery, Scholastic Art & Writing Awards,

What a night!

What a night! Once I had a flower in my hair, I smoothed the tablecloth down, opened crackers and poured drinks for arriving guests.

Last night’s reception was well attended.  Guests from Pen American Center and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers were among the many that were in attendance. Tim Rollins, artist, activist and teacher, could also be seen around the gallery. Dennesa Usher, a talented and dedicated young woman from the Bronx Council on the Arts came as well. She was absolutely instrumental in hanging in the show – even coming to Casita on Saturday to finish hanging the show! Steve Cagan recognized this devotion and sparked a round of applause for her.

One man came up to me and asked if the artist came. I told him that the artist was in fact here. But where? I scanned the room, darting through the circles and rows of swooning guests and found the artist with his camera swung across his chest.  I turned back to the inquiring guest and said “yes, he’s the man with the camera.” Laughing, he replied, “of course.”

Steve Cagan took a few minutes to talk about his work. For many of the photographs, he traveled by canoe for two days. Nancy Barry, a Casita Trustee, asked the artist many questions (which he was more than happy to answer!) Although we said that the reception was from 7-9PM, many came early and stayed late!

The show is up till March 30th. If you’re like my father – who sometimes prefers more intimate gallery visits – come see the show now! We are open Monday-Friday, 9:00am – 6:30pm.

Please contact Lyla Rose, our Visual, Literary and Performing Arts Manager, if you are interested in a private appointment.



P.S: Stay posted for photographs from last night!

Filed under: art gallery

In only a few hours…

Steve Cagan’s photography exhibit is now hanging on the walls of Casita’s gallery. For a month, I’ve watched as the gallery changed color, subjects and themes: from newly painted walls to a new exhibit. Our last exhibit displayed colorful student artwork. Now, the gallery offers Steve Cagan a new home.

This morning, Sarah Calderon (our Executive Director) and Lyla Rose (our Literary, Visual and Performing Arts Manager) brought fresh flowers, fruit, cheese and wine for tonight’s artist reception. I’ve spent the afternoon answering questions about the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and resisting opening the many cheese platters stored in our fridge (would anyone really notice?)

An hour before the reception, the sun will set (at 5:58 tonight!) and we will turn on the gallery lights.

Will you be joining us?

Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education

928 Simpson Street

Bronx, NY 10459

Artist’s Reception: Thursday, March 11th, 7-9 PM

Take the 2 or 5 train to Simpson Street
Walk South on Simpson and cross 163rd St.


Take the 6 train to Hunts Point
Walk Weston 163rd and turn left on Simpson Street.



Filed under: art gallery, opening

Casita Maria Presents: Steve Cagan

El Chocó, Colombia: Struggles For Cultural and Environmental Survival

An Exhibit of Photographs

Steve Cagan is a documentary photographer and activist, living in Cleveland, OH, with over thirty years’ experience photographing and exhibiting there. Steve has exhibited on three continents. He has published reviews and critical writings in a variety of professional journals and books. He has received two Fulbright Fellowships, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and several Ohio Arts Council Fellowships and New Jersey Arts Council Fellowships.

928 Simpson Street, Bronx, NY 10459
March 8th – 30th, 2010. 9-7, Mon-Fri
Artist’s Reception: Thursday, March 11th, 7-9 PM

Filed under: art gallery, opening

Smile! Casita’s Camera Roll

We Are

Jacqueline Weld Drake

Chairman Emeritus
Norrisa O’Keeffe

Vice Chairman
Benigno Rodriguez-Cubeñas

Mario Buccellati, II

John E. Avery

Nancy Barry
John L. Bernbach
Martha Bograd
Elizabeth A. Caldas
Ambassador Paul L. Cejas
Gaetana Enders
Miguel A. Fuentes, Jr.
Alan G. Levin
Alberto Mariaca
Alberto Mejia
Liliana Melo de Sada
Violy McCausland Seve
Joseph Unanué, Sr.
Saundra Whitney
Michael L. Ziegler, Esq.

Chairman’s Council
Daniel Brodsky
Patricia Phelps de Cisneros
Anne Eisenhower Flöttl
Wolfgang K. Flöttl
Sergio Millerman
Frank T. Modica
Lewis S. Ranieri
Pilar Crespi Robert

Executive Director
Sarah Calderon