History

Artists Alliance Inc is a 501c(3) not for profit organization located on the Lower East Side of New York City. Founded in 1999 by a group of local artists as a membership organization, we believe the arts and individual artists are an essential element of the culture, history and future of the Lower East Side. From the first days working in their studios located in the former PS 160 school building on Suffolk Street between Rivington and Delancey, the member artists worked to improve the building for everyone working there. As the organization matured, this philosophy was advanced by nurturing, supporting, and exhibiting the work of underrepresented and emerging artists and curators and by welcoming the public to directly engage with contemporary visual arts in the Lower East Side.

exterior of 107 Suffolk St

Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space was established in 2001 to foster a deeper connection between professional artists and the general public, inspired by its unique gallery location within the historically significant Essex Street Market. The mission of Cuchifritos is to act as a forum for exploring fundamental ideas, issues and concerns in contemporary art, to highlight the work of underrepresented artists, and to make a connection with the local community of the Lower East Side through the medium of contemporary art. The gallery’s location is designed to underscore the community value of the Essex Street Market by provoking interaction and debate between the culturally diverse residents and the artwork presented. One indication of the success of this notion is the loyalty Cuchifritos generates from its local volunteers, drawn from all backgrounds and a wide variety of careers, who generously donate their time as gallery assistants, often for as long as two or three year periods.

As a local arts organization, we have always responded to changing needs on the Lower East Side and have strived to present new opportunities, develop new resources as they are needed for local artists, and engage with the community. The LES Studio Program allows emerging and underrepresented artists to have free studio space and access to art professionals, the annual Open Studios held in conjunction with the Clemente Soto Velez Educational and Cultural Center provides the public with an opportunity to see artists’ work, and the Art (Inter)Actions initiative directly collaborates with the local community through educational and outreach projects.