Trolley Night Returns

By Kinvelyn Guaba

Bronx Journal Staff Writer

“First Wednesday of the month in the Bronx means Trolley Night.”

After a short respite, the Bronx Culture Trolley is back to provide people with free rides to art galleries and concerts on the first Wednesday of every month.

The trolley meets in front of Hostos Community College on 149th at 5:30 p.m. and makes several stops at art galleries such as the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Pregones Theater, Gordon Parks Gallery, BronxArtSpace and Lincoln Hospital Exhibition Space.

The Bronx Trolley is funded by an organization called Bronx Council on the Arts. There are over 25 participating venues.

“We want to introduce people to the area,” said Phil Cardone, the trolley conductor. “A lot of people thought the Bronx had a bad reputation.”

“The South Bronx has become an artists’ area, said Sharon Hightower,” a 69-year-old Bronx resident who was on the tour.  “There are a lot of landmarks here in the Bronx, but people don’t really see what is going on.”

Along the tour, art galleries are only 10 to 15 minutes apart. The various exhibits consist of ceramics, photography, paintings and sometimes concerts and small shows.

Some participants in the trolley decided to stay at the Pregones Theater for a photo exhibition and a free concert by Line C3.

BronxArtSpace, located at 305 E 140th, is a small studio that represents art works and themes from various under-represented artists. One exhibit featured two small televisions wrapped around with a large cloth, hanging from the ceiling.

“The art in here has always been weird,” said Hightower. “This place use to be a factory in the ’60s. I also remember that it was turned into a night club, and now is an art gallery.”

Another stop was Gordon Parks Gallery, located inside the College of New Rochelle. There were two rooms with photographs by various artists, revealing the hardships of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

According to Bronx Council on the Arts, the Bronx Trolley has been “increasing the profile of arts in the Bronx.”

Katrina Rhein, director of the Gordon Parks Gallery, says she has seen the positive impact of the trolley. “We have a standard audience, but the growth in the gallery is when the trolley is actually happening.”

It has also increased the attendance in other venues, such as BronxArtSpace.

“The trolley has brought a lot of exposure and we do introduce them to new art every month,” said Lauren Click, executive coordinator at BronxArtSpace.

The Bronx Culture Trolley runs year round, except for January and September.

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