The Museum of the National Center of Afro American Artists (NCAAA) is dedicated to the celebration, exhibition, collection and criticism of black visual arts heritage worldwide.
The Museum presents a wide range of historical and contemporary exhibitions in many media, including painting, sculpture, graphics, photography and decorative arts.
Among the resources offered at the Museum are its African, Afro-Latin, Afro-Caribbean and African American collections; an extensive slide archive, and a rich variety of education programs for young people and adults.
On the grounds of the museum’s historic location sits the Eternal Presence. This piece was commissioned by the National Center of Afro-American Artists to celebrate human creativity and spirituality from the beginning of the human family to now.
John Wilson created the sculpture drawing upon various traditions including the Olmec heads of ancient Mexico and images of contemplating Buddhas. Eternal Presence was installed in 1987, and represents the commitment of the NCAAA to excellence in contemporary artistic expression for the black world
Since 1969, the National Center of Afro-American Artists and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, have enjoyed a unique collaboration that has been mutually beneficial, and has greatly assisted in the development of the NCAAA’s museum.
The mission of El Museo del Barrio is to present and preserve the art and culture of Puerto Ricans and all Latin Americans in the United States. Through its extensive collections, varied exhibitions and publications, bilingual public programs, educational activities, festivals and special events, El Museo educates its diverse public in the richness of Caribbean and Latin American arts and cultural history. By introducing young people to this cultural heritage, El Museo is creating the next generation of museum-goers, while satisfying the growing interest in Caribbean and Latin American art of a broad national and international audience.
El Museo was founded 45 years ago by artist and educator Raphael Montañez Ortiz and a coalition of parents, educators, artists, and activists who noted that mainstream museums largely ignored Latino artists. Since its inception, El Museo has been committed to celebrating and promoting Latino culture, thus becoming a cornerstone of El Barrio, and a valuable resource for New York City. El Museo’s varied permanent collection of over 6,500 objects, spans more than 800 years of Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino art, includes pre-Columbian Taíno artifacts, traditional arts, twentieth-century drawings, paintings, sculptures and installations, as well as prints, photography, documentary films, and video. For a brief overview of our history and to explore the institutional chronology and exhibition history year by year, click here.
El Museo del Barrio’s purpose is to collect, preserve, exhibit and interpret the art and artifacts of Caribbean and Latin American cultures for posterity.
To enhance the sense of identity, self-esteem and self-knowledge of the Caribbean and Latin American peoples by educating them in their artistic heritage and bringing art and artists into their communities.
To provide an educational forum that promotes an appreciation and understanding of Caribbean and Latin American art and culture and its rich contribution to North America.
To offer Caribbean and Latin American artists greater access to institutional support in the national and international art world.
To convert young people of Caribbean and Latin American descent into the next generation of museum-goers, stakeholders in the institution created for them.
To fulfill our special responsibility as a center of learning and training ground for the growing numbers of artists, educators, art historians, and museum professionals interested in Caribbean and Latin American art.
This mission reaffirms the vision of Raphael Montañez Ortiz, who founded El Museo del Barrio in 1969, and of the Puerto Rican educators, artists, and community activists who worked in support of this goal.