Las Carpetas: Curatorial Perspectives on Art and Social Justice

Presented as part of La Residencia

Join us for a virtual tour of Christopher Gregory-Rivera’s Las Carpetas. The tour will be followed by a conversation among  Gregory-Rivera, Libertad O. Guerra, Executive Director at The Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural Center, Natalia Viera Salgado, curator of Las Carpetas and co-founder of Pública Espacio Cultural, and Ali Rosa-Salas, Director of Programming at Abrons Arts Center. Together, they will reflect on the role of curatorial practice in social justice work.  

ASL Interpretation will be provided for this event.


Libertad O. Guerra is an urban anthropologist, curator, and cultural organizer / producer with 15 years of experience in arts management. Her academic research / symposia has focused on Puerto Rican, Latinx, and NYC’s social-artistic movements and cultural and environmental justice activism in im/migrant urban settings. Several of her exhibitions have been featured in Art Net best exhibitions of the year, and listed by the New York Times list of 10 Galleries to Visit Now on the Lower East Side. In 2020 she became the Executive Director of The Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center in downtown Manhattan and was recently awarded the Mellon’s Foundation grant for New Director’s Vision.

Christopher Gregory-Rivera is a Puerto Rican artist based in New York City. His work is particularly interested in rescuing historical narratives around power and colonialism. He has lectured at the International Center of Photography in New York and his work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago. He has been shown in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Netherlands.

Natalia Viera Salgado is a Puerto Rican curator based in New York City and Puerto Rico. Her art historical research focuses on contemporary art in relation to decolonial practices, architecture, social and environmental justice, and new media with a keen interest in hybrid and interdisciplinary projects. Viera is also the co-founder of :Pública Espacio Cultural, an independent art space in Puerto Rico. She is currently the Assistant Curator at Americas Society, New York. 

Ali Rosa-Salas is a curator of live performance, music, and visual art. Her approach is rooted in the belief that curatorial practice must serve the public good. She finds inspiration from cultural ecosystems of New York City, where she was born and raised. Ali is currently the Director of Programming at Abrons Arts Center/Henry Street Settlement, where she curates the Center’s performance and exhibition programming, as well as supports the Center’s residency programs. In addition to her role at Abrons, Ali is the Associate Curator of the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. She is also the co-curator of Nuyorican Mag, a digital archive that celebrates the cultural, social, and political innovations of Puerto Ricans from New York City.

Publica Espacio Cultural is a cultural space founded in November 2018 by cultural producer Naíma Rodrígez and independent curator Natalia Viera Salgado. The space is located in the community of Alto del Cabro, one of the most important historic neighborhoods of Santurce, Puerto Rico. One of the major problems on the island currently is the lack of funding and spaces dedicated to serve the community in the cultural and arts sector. In November 2018, Pública: opened up its doors to become a platform for local artists and international artists as a way to strengthen the relationship between Puerto Rico and an international audience.

The Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center Inc. is a Puerto Rican/Latinx multi-arts cultural institution that has demonstrated a broad-minded cultural vision and inclusive philosophy rooted in NYC’s Lower East Side/Loisaida. While focused on the cultivation, presentation, and preservation of Puerto Rican and Latinx culture, we are equally committed to a multi-ethnic / international latitude, determined to operate in a polyphonic manner that provides affordable working space and venues to artists, small arts organizations, emergent and independent community producers that reflect the cultural diversity of the LES and our City. 

As a downtown Latinx cultural staple for close to three decades, The Clemente is the pulpit where countless New York based Latinx, BIPOC, local LES, and international partners create multi-disciplinary contemporary work and co-productions in a collaborative environment. We are guided by our namesake’s legacy of building culturally grounded multigenerational leadership, local power, and mutuality in times of crisis.


Las Carpetas is presented by the Abrons Arts Center as part of  La Residencia which is a collaborative residency partnership between Abrons Arts Center (New York, NY) and Pública​ (San Juan, PR) and made possible with funds provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This exhibition was also made possible with support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

The 2020-2021 Season at Abrons Arts Center is supported, in part, by generous grants from the Howard Gilman Foundation, the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, the Harkness Foundation for Dance, the Jerome Foundation, the Scherman Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, the Jerome Robbins Foundation, the Trust for Mutual Understanding, and other generous Henry Street Settlement funders. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and support from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Image credit: Christopher Gregory-Rivera, Las Carpetas series. 2014-2017. Courtesy of the artist.