Archive for April, 2010


interview: Dan Freeman

Dan Freeman’s The Underground Railroad is currently on display at La Pregunta. The following is an excerpt from an interview we conducted with the artist:

LA: Why did you want to leave the mistakes in your art uncorrected?

DF: The art pieces started off as pieces of paper that would go up on a wall in an auditorium. It wasn’t anything special. I used pastels because it gives the work a crayon-y feel. Markers can be too sharp sometimes, a little to clean, and that in turn leads to intimidation. I didn’t want to intimidate students. A lot of artists strive to create something complex or perfect and it evokes a response in the viewer that’s like “Wow, that’s hot. I’d never be able to do that.” I wanted to create something that seemed attainable to my students. In its quality, you can look at the work and see I put time in to it, but in the same sense a kid could look at it and say, “I can do that Mr. D. I can do that better than you”. If you look real close you might see pencil lines, little smudges that should have been erased or other little imperfections that most artists would not allow to remain there. I wanted my students to be able to say “I can do that”. That was the main thing I was trying to transmit through this art: You can do this. If you feel like you can do it, try, it doesn’t matter. It’s OK to fuck up. It’s OK to get some bumps and bruises. Nowadays, perfection is pushed on students so much they are afraid to mess up or make mistakes. The best way to learn is to earn a few scars. That’s one thing I try to do with my art. To say: Don’t worry about being perfect. If the love is there, if the passion is there, it will definitely show and resonate.


After-Work Salsa

Every Wednesday evening at 7:3o, La Pregunta hosts free Salsa lessons with J. R. The first hour  is spent going over basic instructions on Salsa dancing, while the remainder of the night is used to heat things up. Every other Wednesday, Sara joins us at 9:30 to provide live Salsa music with her band.

La Pregunta interview’s J.R. about After-work Salsa:

LA: How long have you been dancing Salsa?

JR: A little bit over ten years.

LA: Where did you first learn to dance Salsa?

JR: I learned at Booker T. Washington, a middle school on 108th street.

LA: What inspired you to teach Salsa?

JR: My dad. He was always on top of me. I had the rythym. He was doing the Salsa thing and one day I tried it. It was something I had inside of me that I didn’t know. When it happened, I liked it. I started teaching people because I felt good about it. It’s a good thing.

LA:How many students do you usually teach?

JR: I teach at 125th street every Thursday and Friday. I average about 50 people a night. Here at La Pregunta it varies: one week it might be five, one week it might be twenty, one week it might be three. It depends.

LA: Do you ever collaborate with other programs as a Salsa instructor?

JR: Yes, I do a lot of dancing for different companies. Sometimes we do events for hospitals, it has varried a lot over the past ten years.

LA: Do you ever run in to your students?

JR: Oh yes, all the time. They are everywhere I go.

LA: What would you like to see After-Work Salsa to develop in to?

JR: My goal is to teach. I want to make sure that everyone that comes to the class learns the right way, so that whenever they go out people will say “Where did you learn how to dance?”. I want everyone to be really good at what they do.

Stop by on Wednesdays at 7:30 to get your Salsa on.


NEXT Monday: NYChoro + Guitar Coyote & The Roadhouse Ramblers

NYChoro @ La Pregunta

NYChoro composed of David Cordeiro (guitar/vocal), Livio Almeida (saxophone), Scott Colberg (bass), and Luiz Ebert (percussion) will be playing the classics arrangements of choro mixed with jazz.
Followed by Guitar Coyote & the Roadhouse Ramblers, traveling through the

world of blues. And a blues jam session after to invite everybody to be part of this gathering.

Don’t miss this event!


Currently on Display: The Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad

Dan Freeman
Bronx, NY

Dan Freeman is a paraprofessional who is passionate about working with children. He finds learning from his students just as –if not more, enriching than teaching. His goal in creating The Underground Railroad was to bring forth a historical consciousness of black freedom fighters that are not normally spoken about in the canon of American education systems. The use of subway cars are a reference 1980’s graffiti tags that are in danger of becoming completely removed from urban New York culture.
The Underground Railroad has been displayed multiple times in different school settings. Dan wishes to inspire his students to create art and take actions based on their everyday experiences. His use of subway cars, pastels, pens, markers, and the visibility of errors are purposefully a part of the display because “it is OK to make mistakes”, it encourages his students to do better.

Stay tuned for La Pregunta’s interview with Dan Freeman.


Call for submissions: 2010 Uptown Arts Stroll Poster Contest

Calling all Heights Artists!! A chance to get your work featured around the hood and win a $500 honorarium!

nomaa logoNorthern Manhattan Arts Alliance announces Call for submissions: 2010 Uptown Arts Stroll Poster Contest

Deadline: Friday, April 16, 2010 – 5pm

Northern Manhattan’s annual arts festival returns this June!  The Uptown Arts Stroll invites neighborhood residents and visitors from the rest of the city to a month of art exhibitions and performances north of West 155th Street. The winning artist will receive a $500 honorarium.

Visit for more information on how to submit your work.



celebrating howard zinn

On Friday, April 9th the Uptown Branch of the International Socialist Organization held a screening of The People Speak. The documentary is currently “on tour” in honor of the late scholar/activist/producer Howard Zinn. Zinn’s  most acclaimed life work A People’s History of The United States radicalized historiography by challenging readers to understand history from the ‘ground-up’. The spirit of Howard Zinn’s  grass-roots politics deeply resonated in the audience at La Pregunta and the readings that followed the film.


Fundacion La Pregunta Launches Mami&Me Community Nutrition and Exercise Program

"Mami's" Margie and Ana and Nutritionist Stacey

Last Saturday, April 10, La Pregunta’s sister non-profit Fundacion La Pregunta launched its pilot Community Nutrition and Exercise Program, Mami&Me. As the name suggests, the program is dedicated to girls (age eight to 12) and their mothers and other female guardians in uptown Manhattan. These are neighborhoods with high levels of childhood obesity, malnutrition and diabetes, and often limited options for healthy eating. We also know that women are the primary decision-makers in most households in these neighborhoods, therefore Mami&Me aims to engage current and future generations of household leaders in the discussion and practice of healthy living.

For the first half of each session, the girls will learn a fun, new and culturally relevant form of exercise, while mothers and guardians will join Mami&Me staff – Nutritionist Stacey Guillen, La Pregunta Founder Yscaira Jimenez, and Fundacion Director Jessica Vosburgh – to discuss a particular health-related topic. In the second half of the session, all participants will share a healthy and delicious meal prepared with locally available ingredients.

The group will meet every Saturday morning this spring, engaging in creative exercise forms such as capoeira (the Brazilian martial art), yoga, and physical theater, and discussing topics such as cholestorol, diabetes, body image and eating disorders, cancer and diet, and shopping for healthy options at local supermarkets and bodegas. You can email to learn more.

La Pregunta's Flickr Photostream

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 4 other followers