- Address : 211 South 4th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211
El Puente is a community-driven holistic youth/community development institution that nurtures leaders for peace and justice in the North Brooklyn communities of Williamsburg and Bushwick. We are committed to developing and engaging indigenous leadership in building sustainable communities through arts and culture, community health and wellness, affordable living, educational reform from cradle-to-career, and environmental justice organizing.
El Puente’s Arts and Cultural Center provides pre-professional arts training in dance, drama, voice, studio/public art, photography, spoken word, voice, and Hip-Hop. Using an "arts for social change model," El Puente provides youth (ages 6-21) the opportunity to be trained and mentored by highly qualified artists who use their art to further their commitment to social justice. El Puente’s presenting season showcases work by performing/visual arts students and youth ensembles, local and international artists, and members from El Puente’s adult artist network CADRE (Community Artists’ Development & Resource Exchange). In 2011, El Puente launched the Green Light District (GLD) - a ten-year initiative to grow, green, and celebrate the Southside (Los Sures) Williamsburg.
Bushwick Leadership Center
El Puente Bushwick Leadership Center is a vibrant, safe and nurturing community for young people (ages 13-21) and their families. Participation in the arts is an essential part of the Center as a powerful tool to educate and organize the community. “Time Flies: A History of Bushwick” and “A Community Rises: Creating a World without Domestic Violence”, two powerful community murals painted by public art collective, Los Muralistas de El Puente, and Bushwick members are part of Bushwick’s walking tours and are an inspiration to community residents. The Bushwick Center is also home to an award-winning competitive dance team, Dreams in Motion.
Youth leaders at the Bushwick Center are focused on raising the consciousness of the community and advocating around issues of equity and social justice. The Center’s most recent youth-led campaign, “To Hope, With Love” has reinvigorated Hope Ballpark as a safe space for the Bushwick community.
Williamsburg Leadership Center
The Williamsburg Leadership Center (WLC) is El Puente’s flagship holistic youth and community development program that began in 1982 and still operates out of its original headquarters in the Southside of Williamsburg (Los Sures). In addition, it remains the premier Arts and Cultural Center for the organization with a professional dance studio, art room, and presenting stage, fully equipped with a sound system and stage lighting. The headquarters also houses El Puente’s Executive staff and the Green Light District initiative.
The WLC offers a free comprehensive after-school program for teens ages 13-19. The Center’s pre-professional arts classes include: dance (modern, contemporary and jazz), bboy/bgirl, drama, voice, studio/public art and spoken word.
Beacon Leadership Center
El Puente Beacon Leadership Center at Middle School 50 is a multifaceted comprehensive program that runs year round and serves approximately 1,300 children, teens and adults. The Center offers a comprehensive bilingual after-school program for primarily middle schools students, with a particular focus on high school transition for youth and their parents. A special feature of the Beacon program is its pre-professional Saturday Arts Academy for youth 6-13. Classes include ballet, street jazz, acting, breaking and visual arts. The Beacon also runs a comprehensive skills based pre-professional summer arts day camp for youth ages 6-13.
El Puente Leadership Center at Taylor-Wythe Houses
El Puente’s Leadership Center at Taylor-Wythe has emerged as a powerful “bridge” builder among the diverse Latino, African American and Hasidic residents of those NYCHA houses. Creatively utilizing the full potential of the Center’s facility, the leadership staff has created a vibrant youth/community leadership development program that includes a comprehensive bilingual after-school program for elementary and middle school children and an evening teen program focused on education enrichment, arts (theatre and visual arts) and sports.
El Puente Green Light District (GLD)
El Puente GLD is a strategic ten-year initiative to grow, green, and celebrate Williamsburg’s Southside community. At a time when communities across New York City are facing rapid changes that threaten to destabilize our neighborhoods, the Green Light District seeks to flip the disempowerment of gentrification and put the power of transformation in the hands of its residents and stakeholders. The GLD team works in five focus areas: Affordable Living, Arts & Culture, Education, Greening Spaces & Environmental Justice, and Health & Wellness. El Puente CADRE serves as the driving force for the GLD and assists with its community, cultural events. Each year, the GLD partners with the Southside Merchants and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce to present Southside Connex - a two-day community street festival filled with health and wellness workshops, environmental justice resources and information, and cultural activities and presentations including El Puente’s annual ¡WEPA! Festival for Southside Performing Arts.