City seeks nonprofit to run NYC’s first cultural institution dedicated to immigrants

September 6, 2019

Inwood Hill Park, courtesy of Dana on Flickr

The city is seeking proposals from nonprofits interested in running a new immigrant research center and performing arts center in Inwood. The city’s Economic Development Corporation and the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) released a request for expressions of interest on Wednesday for a nonprofit organization to “design, construct, and operate” the Northern Manhattan Immigrant Research and Performing Arts Center (IRPAC). The neighborhood boasts a diverse community, with 49 percent foreign-born as well as the city’s highest concentration of residents of Dominican descent.

The center was promised as part of the Inwood rezoning, a plan approved by the City Council last August. The Inwood NYC neighborhood plan is intended to keep “Manhattan’s last affordable neighborhood,” affordable by creating 1,600 homes through 100 percent affordable projects. Also included in the plan: two new waterfront parks, youth programming, and a 20,000-square-foot public library facility with community space.

The city has committed $15 million to the design and construction of the research and arts center. The facility should allow for a variety of programming, stages, space for local cultural groups, dressing rooms, classrooms, rehearsal space, and offices, according to the RFEI.

The New York Public Library will have space at IRPAC that will allow the public to research the immigrant experience in New York, with access to research collections at the Schomburg Center for Black Culture, the Library for the Performing Arts, and the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.

“The Northern Manhattan Immigrant Research and Performing Arts Center will be the first cultural institution dedicated to the immigrant experience in New York City,” Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez said in a press release.

“This center will be the first of its kind in the nation to research and celebrate the contributions of all immigrants. I am confident that this center will shed light onto the abundance of culture and language that makes New York City one of the greatest cities in the nation.”

The NYCEDC and DCLA plan to select one or more operators to collaborate on a capital design and construction of the facility. Those who wish to respond to the RFEI must submit proposals by 4 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 19. More information on submission requirements can be found here, with questions directed to [email protected].


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