Fernando Salicrup (1946-2015)

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Fernando Salicrup, Executive Director of Taller Boricua/Puerto Rican Workshop died on Thursday, January 1, 2015

Mr. Salicrup was born on August 6, 1946 in East Harlem, where he lived throughout his life with his loving wife of over 40 years, Zoraida Salicrup and their two sons Fernando and Daniel.

Mr. Salicrup was a proud veteran of the U.S. Marines having served in the Vietnam War. After the military, he returned to study at the Philadelphia Academy of Art. Subsequently, he won a scholarship at the New York School of Visual Arts, where he studied painting under Chuck Closs and printmaking under Robert Blackburn. He was also known for his later work in experimental digital methods.

Mr. Salicrup participated in numerous international exhibitions throughout the United States, Latin America, and Europe, including venues such as El Museo del Barrio, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Bronx Museum of the Arts. He received several awards for his work, including the award for experimentation, given at the XII San Juan Biennial of Latin American and Caribbean Printmaking.

In 1970, Mr. Salicrup and other artists co-founded Taller Boricua/Puerto Rican Workshop. As the Executive Director, he taught workshops in printmaking and digital processes and mentored many artists, writers, and musicians.

Mr. Salicrup was also instrumental in the development of the arts and cultural corridor in El Barrio to honor and preserve the neighborhood’s Puerto Rican arts legacy. A visionary and activists, he developed and managed affordable artist housing and fought for the creation of the Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center, where he helped produce thousands of cultural events and programs. He also served many terms on Manhattan Community Board 11.

Mr. Salicrup is survived by his wife, Zoraida Salicrup, their sons, Fernando Salicrup lll and his wife Jaime Spiliotes and Daniel Salicrup; and his daughter, Cynthia Blake and her husband Terrance Blake; and four grandchildren.

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Fernando Salicrup, co-founder and director of Taller Boricua, dead at 68
New York Daily News, January 2, 2015

The respected artist, teacher and East Harlem neighborhood cultural leader died Jan. 1. He helped establish Puerto Rican Workshop and other institutions including Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center and El Museo del Barrio.

East Harlemites will pay homage to a pivotal neighborhood cultural leader and pioneer who died last week.

Fernando Salicrup, a respected artist, teacher and one of the five founding members and executive director of Taller Boricua (The Puerto Rican Workshop), died at DeWitt Rehabilitation and Nursing Center on Jan. 1. He was 68 and suffered from diabetes.

“He was a multifaceted person,” said Marcos Dimas, co-founder of Taller Boricua. “While working and developing his art, he was interested in politics on a grander scale, developing programs and focusing on the issues of community development. He spearheaded a lot of the programs and initiatives we’ve undertaken.”

In 1992, Salicrup established the Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center, which includes an art gallery and a high school inside a former school building on Lexington Ave. and 105th St.

“The idea here was to build a place for the entire community,” Salicrup told the News in 2010. “This place is and will be for people of all incomes. We need that type of energy here.”

Taller Boricua, a 44-year-old organization, eventually lost control of the underutilized building after a bitter fight with city officials.

Salicrup and others teamed up during darker days in East Harlem’s past, helping to preserve the neighborhood’s cultural institutions and later helping to establish El Museo del Barrio.

Salicrup leaves behind a wife and three children.

Muere Fernando Salicrup, activista cultural nuyorican
El Diario-La Prensa, 2 de jenero de 2015

El cofundador del Taller Boricua murió el jueves a los 68 años en East Harlem

El cofundador del Taller Boricua, Fernando Salicrup, murió el jueves a los 68 años en East Harlem. Amigos cercanos y familiares lamentaron el deceso del artista, uno de los más reconocidos del movimiento Nuyorican.Salicrup, quien padecía diabetes y en los últimos años lidió con una deteriorada salud, nació en la Ciudad de Nueva York en 1946, pero vivió entre Puerto Rico y la Gran Manzana a lo largo de su infancia. Fue pintor y grabador, logrando notoriedad pos su trabajo experimental con el arte digital.

“Es una gran pérdida para la comunidad artística puertorriqueña y latina”, dijo su amigo cercano Félix Campos, miembro de la Alianza de Artistas de Julia de Burgos. “Salicrup luchó por la creación de espacios de exhibición en El Barrio. Junto con otros puertorriqueños, estableció un precedente para las nuevas generaciones de artistas”.

Salicrup cofundó el Taller Boricua en 1970. También impulsó el desarrollo del Centro Cultural Julia de Burgos, en East Harlem y colaboró en los proyectos de Nuyorican Poets Café, Teatro Rodante Puertorriqueño y Teatro Pregones.

“El sueño de Fernando fue crear un movimiento cultural en East Harlem para preservar el legado artístico puertorriqueño y latino”, destacó Campos. “El Taller Boricua fue parte de ese sueño. Hoy es una plataforma para pintores, artistas, escritores y músicos”.

Salicrup se matriculó en la Academia de Arte de Filadelfia y ganó una beca para laEscuela de Artes Visuales de Nueva York, en donde estudió pintura y grabado. En su carrera artística, destacan numerosas exhibiciones en Estados Unidos, Latinoamérica y Europa. El Museo de El Barrio, el Nuevo Museo de Arte Contemporáneo y el Museo de Arte de El Bronx también sirvieron como escaparate  para su obra.

En los últimos años, Salicrup concientizó acerca de la gentrificación en El Barrio con el lema “East Harlem no se vende”.

Fernando Salicrup Presenté

By Maria Aponte
January 1, 2015

Standing still in the center of storms, during strife and change he created a movement.

In flux with all the political changes in El Barrio he along with others created, found focus, took chances to make space and time for Puerto Rican Art.

Creator of art and culture his determination took mud, rock, and concrete made a home for the transient artists.

Solid, grounded in the fight for the need of claiming our artistic heritage and fighting to create more.

The Spirit of Pride emerged in art.

The Spirit of Self emerged in art.

The Spirit of Open Doors emerged in art.

From El Museo Del Barrio to El Taller Boricua and around the world, the constant teaching to honor, respect, and cultivate our artistic history with the same importance as a Monet, Picasso, or a Van Gough.

He taught us to respect the work have pride in who and what we have to offer as artists, writers, poets, and community service.

Never faltering in his passion, grace, and honor of self and Puerto Rican Pride, Fernando always teaching and reminding us that we are Puerto Rican and we have the right to be the new Monet, Picasso, or Van Gough – for our histories are just as important and permanency gives us the foundation to grow and continue to keep a legacy that has already been born.

TRIBUTE TO FERNANDO SALICRUP
The Art World Has Lost A Great Artist And Sincere Warrior

By Diogenes Ballester

Fernando has been a great friend and a brother since I met him on August 5th, 1981. We have created together and fought battles for the arts, culture, and identity in El Barrio New York, Puerto Rico, Paris, Krakow and other parts of United States.

When I met Fernando he was with his inseparable friend Jorge Soto. For me, both were a symbol of the committed artist who by their very presence projected the warrior spirit of our Boricua ancestors. Since then Fernando, a dreamer and achiever, always looked to expand the presence of Taller Boricua, the arts, and his fellow Puerto Ricans in El Barrio and the City of New York. He worked tirelessly in the Taller and in the halls of power to acquire property securing the permanence of the workshop for posterity, creating venues for exhibitions, and establishing housing for artists. Of note, Taller Boricua is the only Puerto Rican workshop created by artists that remains in existence and deserves ongoing support.

Communication between visual artists and intellectuals from the seventies was a source of enrichment to Fernando’s work from those pen and ink drawings created in the 110th subway station booth, to his iconic paintings like “Despierta Boricua”, “Una Vez Mas Columbus”, and the painting in honor of Martín (Tito) Pérez. When Fernando decided to use new technology to continue his artistic expression, he took his creative expression to new domains documenting life of El Barrio from his unique perspective. His graphic work is extensive and needs to be documented and reassessed for future exhibitions, as do his sketchbooks created during his convalescences in the hospital over the last years.

In our conversations at the corner of 106th and Lexington Avenue, we used to articulate our history and visions of Puerto Rican art with our friend Marcos Dimas, co-founder of El Taller, and many other artists, friends, and community members concerned about our identity. I will miss our conversations and the joint projects we shared.

Fernando was a wonderful husband, father, and guardian of the community. The art world has lost a great artist and sincere warrior. May his spirit rest in peace after his arduous struggles to define himself and the community. I thank him for his artistic manifestations and contributions to Puerto Rican art and our community. Mostly I thank him for being part of my life / our lives and for being our friend.

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