Anyone who has been to the Magic Johnson Theater has seen the permanent photographic exhibition, adorning the interior space on the upper level, as one makes their way to multiple screening rooms to see a film. Images of African American celebrities from the world of media, the arts,, athletics, etc., throughout the century, stare back at you from one side of the room. While on the other side, along the windows overlooking Frederick Douglass Blvd., are images of literary giants as Langston Hughes, and the bibliophile Arturo A. Schomburg, whom the Center for Black Research & Culture in Harlem is named after, and which institution provided this imagery from their archives. As a proud Puerto Rican I've often wondered why there isn't a space with a permanent exhibition revolving around the historic Spanish-speaking community of Harlem? Inside of the library & archive of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies they feature an ever evolving permanent exhibition touching on a variety of topics related to the Puerto Rican diaspora. The Caribbean Cultural Center also has continuous art and or photographic exhibitions revolved around the African diaspora. El Museo del Barrio, who began as a dedicated preserver of the community history, now operates like any Museum with a state charter. Most often showcasing art work from South America, Europe, etc. But none feature a grandiose permanent fixture akin to what one sees entering the upper level of the Magic Johnson Theater. A space within La Marqueta on Park Avenue would have been an ideal spot to house a permanent gallery exhibition, complete with gift shop and perhaps other amenities (cafe, library, Wi-Fi, etc.). But oh well.
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