Dominion of New York

Art & Entertainment

August 14, 2012

Dwyer Center — Another Harlem Institution — In Rough Financial Waters

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Written by: Kelly Virella
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Dwyer Cultural Center


he aftermath of the great recession has pulled yet another Harlem institution into its undertow. The New York Times reports that the Dwyer Cultural Center is also struggling to remain afloat.

The three-year-old center has held all manner of free and low cost art & cultural events including “visual art exhibitions, readings, writers’ workshops, children’s educational programs and music and theater performances,” according to the Times. But it has struggled to implement its business plan throughout that time, leading each year to $200,000-plus deficits.

The center planned to earn revenue by renting space to arts organizations and community groups but has been unable to attract enough tenants. It also failed to form the large influential board that is one of the keys to its success. Things got worse when the IRS revoked its tax-exempt status last year — after it failed to file tax returns for three years — depriving it of the foundation and government funding available to arts organizations.

The center is trying to recuperate and move ahead by expanding its board from 3 to 10 and especially needs people with marketing and finance expertise, a spokesperson for the center told the Times. The center is also trying to renegotiate leases with its current tenants.

If you would like to help, their contact information is here.


About the Author

Kelly Virella
Kelly Virella lives in an East Harlem walk-up with her husband, her bicycle and her books. She's worked as a journalist for 11 years and started this website during the summer of 2011. She fell in love with New York City during her first visit here as a 16-year-old and finally made good on her promise to move here in April 2010.


Official portrait from his tenure as US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.