Our Space

La Casita Cultural Center is located in the historic Lincoln Building in the city’s Near Westside neighborhood.  The Center is equipped with an art gallery, a classroom, bilingual library, performance space, workshop facilities, kitchenette, and meeting space.

History

The model concept for La Casita at Syracuse University can be traced to Spanish Harlem and the South Bronx, José (Chema) Soto set out to build a wooden structure similar to the houses that were once typical of the rural Puerto Rican regions and throughout the Caribbean. With the help of neighbors, La Casita de Chema (today, Centro Cultural Ricón Criollo) was created as a bright, lively, and sustainable space for Puerto Rican and other Latino communities to gather, celebrate their culture and traditions, host events, play music, dance, or simply visit. Following in these footsteps, Syracuse University established La Casita Cultural Center.

Initial funding for the renovation of the 100-year-old, former warehouse into mixed-use commercial and residential space came from Syracuse University. The project also garnered funding from the Round 2 Restore New York Communities grant awarded by the state to the City of Syracuse as part of a statewide initiative to revitalize urban areas.

La Casita’s interior was designed by Syracuse University professor, architect Jon Lott, to honor the Center’s mission in the New York City-based Casitas tradition. Jon Lott drew inspiration from the Rincón Criollo Cultural Center in the Bronx, and developed a model that incorporates the outdoor/indoor aspect of the original Casita. The Center’s different spaces were designed with input from Syracuse University faculty, staff, and students, as well as from local residents of the Near Westside.

Affiliations