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.
The model concept for La Casita at Syracuse University can be traced to Spanish Harlem and the South Bronx, where more than 35 years ago, 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.
- Cornell Latina/o Studies Program
- Cornell Lab of Ornithology
- Central NY Library Resources Council
- Habitat for Humanity
- Literacy Coalition of Onondaga County
- Mercy Works
- Partners in Learning
- Punto de Contacto – Point of Contact
- Community Folk Art Center
- Spanish Action League of Upstate NY
- P.E.A.C.E. Inc.
- Near West Side Initiative
- YMCA Downtown Writers Center
- Syracuse City School District (SCSD)
- CNY Latino
- Syracuse Stage
Syracuse University Affiliates
- Syracuse University Libraries
- SOE Cultural Foundations in Education
- SI Newhouse School of Public Communications
- Office of Multicultural Affairs
- Maxwell – Citizenship & Civic Engagement
- University College
- School of Information Studies
- Latino/Latin American Studies
- Women’s & Gender Studies
- African American Studies
- Languages, Literatures & Linguistics
- VPA – Museum Studies
- VPA – Drama
- Falk – Public Health
- Maxwell – Policy Studies
- Office of Community Engagement
- Puerto Rican Student Association (PRSA)
- La LUCHA