On the future of El Museo del Barrio and who it belongs to. A working document.
The recent events unfolding at El Museo del Barrio has stirred up furious debates about the direction the museum has taken. A direction that attempts to morph the museum, founded by Puerto Rican teachers, artists, parents and community organizers, from a museum reflective of the community who founded it, to an elitist institution for Latin American art. A market driven endeavor. While a cursory glance at this maneuver might not find cause for alarm, and might even be seen as an impetus to celebrate “latinidad,” unpacking the intersections of this dilemma is necessary.
It requires us to first contend with “El Barrio’s” identity. While Puerto Ricans were instrumental in the foundation of the museum, it is not a strictly a Puerto Rican museum. It is a museo “del Barrio.” Further, demographic changes in East…
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