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DANCE NEWS: Ali Rosa-Salas to Lead Abrons Arts Center, Named Vice President of Visual and Performing Arts

DANCE NEWS: Ali Rosa-Salas to Lead Abrons Arts Center, Named Vice President of Visual and Performing Arts

Published on December 15, 2022
Ali Rosa-Salas at Abrons Arts Center. Image by Nuvany David

Abrons Arts Center is thrilled to announce that Ali Rosa-Salas has been named Vice President of Visual and Performing Arts for Henry Street Settlement.

Rosa-Salas joined the arts center in 2017 and since 2021 has been serving as artistic director and chief curator of the center’s performance and exhibition programming, and manager of its artist residency programs. She succeeds Craig Peterson, who in September became president of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. 

“I could not be happier that, after a broad search, we were able to identify the talent and heart needed for this important job right here at home,” said David Garza, president and CEO of Henry Street Settlement. “Ali, with the Abrons team, has been responsible for helping to create the tremendous momentum that our Abrons Arts Center is experiencing, especially in opening our doors even wider to low-income community members who would not otherwise have access to the types of enriching programming available at Abrons. We’re thrilled that she will carry on the cutting-edge, award-winning programming for which Abrons is nationally known while deepening its warm embrace of local community artistic traditions. She believes that artistic practice must serve the public good.”

Heera by Mariana Valencia, 2022. Image by Maria Baranova

Since joining Abrons, Rosa-Salas has redesigned its institutional curatorial strategy to be more accessible to the local community and integrative of Henry Street Settlement programs, constituencies, and Lower East Side businesses. As an interdisciplinary curator, she has curated, commissioned, and led the center’s dance, music, discursive, and visual arts programming. Her vision is reflected in the many successful initiatives that have brought both diverse representation and critical acclaim to the center such as the Rainbow Shoe Repair and Matriarchs of NYCHA photo exhibitions in collaboration with Photoville; La Residencia, an artist residency program with Pública Espacio in San Juan, Puerto Rico; residencies by local artists, including parents; the Creatives Rebuild New York artists’ guaranteed income program; and the panto musical, Dick Rivington and the Cat!

Las Carpetas by Christopher Gregory Rivera, 2021, Presented by the Abrons Arts Center as part of La Residencia. Curated by Natalia Viera Salgado. Image by Daniel Terna

Rosa-Salas finds inspiration from the cultural ecosystems of Lenapehoking (the original Lenape name for what is now called New York City), where she was born and raised. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Barnard College/Columbia University and a master of arts degree from Wesleyan University. She is an associate curator for Jacob’s Pillow, the dance organization in Becket, Massachusetts, and has curated programs for AFROPUNK, Danspace Project, Discwoman, Knockdown Center, MoCADA, and Weeksville Heritage Center, among others. Rosa-Salas is an advisor for the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project as well as the recipient of numerous grants, including Wesleyan University’s Curatorial Leadership Fellowship.

“I look forward to building on the foundation that Craig Peterson established, which is rooted in our belief that Abrons Arts Center’s relationship to Henry Street Settlement is our greatest asset,” Rosa-Salas says. “The arts can and should be of service to all New Yorkers. The Settlement’s mission of providing pathways for opportunity will continue to shape Abrons’s curatorial and programmatic vision, and we will continue to strategize on how to engage the diverse communities we serve with creativity, care, and integrity.”  

Rainbow Shoe Repair: An Unexpected Theater of Flyness, 2020. Image by Daniel Terna

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