Ellen Stewart, Founder and Director of La MaMa, from the original press release from the City of New York, dated Jan 11, 2006: “We are delighted to be able to stand with our colleagues as owners in this wonderful community we have called home for so many years. Owning our space will allow us to continue doing what we have been for over 40 years: developing, nurturing, supporting, producing and presenting new and original performance work by artists of all nations and cultures. The performing arts in this city are as vibrant as ever, and we are proud to be recognized as essential to this thriving community.”
How did it feel when the city agreed and the purchases went through? “Like crossing the finish line of a marathon – exciting and exhausting.” – Steve Herrick, Cooper Square Committee
“Oh my goodness. What a party. We were at La MaMa and there were all the politicians there, but still it was fun. They were all artists, after all you know.” – Christian Valerio, Cooper Square Committee
“Mr. Rod didn’t get to see us actually own the buildings as he passed in 2002. But he passed knowing that process had already started.” – Rachel Lubell, Rod Rodgers Dance Company
“Our HPD officer at the time, Luis Aragon, had previously told me that we were being too ambitious and said we had to figure out how to rent… at the end of it all, he came up to me and said, ‘You proved me wrong.'” – Jen Abrams, early WOW member
“It was frightening times that we banded together and we got more and better out of it. It was a reminder that uniting together and standing up has power and weight” – Bev Petty, La MaMa E.T..C.
“I was both extremely happy for the opportunity to finally have a home for Teatro Círculo but at the same time I felt completely overwhelmed by the task of raising the money for the renovation of the building. Fortunately, we found the right elected officials who made our cause their cause and helped to secure the necessary funds to renovate these buildings. – José Cheo Oliveras, Teatro Círculo
This mini-series is part of FABNYC’s 15th year anniversary celebrations! Though the benefit is over, we are still committed to being FAB all year round. Stay tuned for the final few posts in this series.