(October 18, 2013) The “Painter of the People,” Rafael Tufiño, has become the first New York City-born visual artist of Puerto Rican decent to have a street named in his honor. The tribute became a reality through the unrelenting efforts of Architect Warren James, El Barrio community and arts activist Deborah Quiñones, and NYC Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito.
Representatives from our artistic community and local political camps gathered with members of the Tufiño family that included some of his grandchildren at the NW corner of 103rd Street & Lexington Avenue. In a ceremony filled with joy, acknowledgements and poetry, a new street sign “Rafael Tufiño Way” was unveiled. ( See proceedings:http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=1429650&GUID=14EDCD90-CF2A-4831-AF9C-31A429A64663&Options=&Search= )
Among them was Tufiño’s daughter Nitza who has continued his artistic legacy in her own right. She expressed her deep gratitude to those present and to the media for the honor bestowed on her father. A vivid portrait of Don Rafael painted by her is currently part of an exhibition titled “Flights of Fancy”at El Taller Boricua. Nitza Tufiño has become a major advocate for the arts in El Barrio (East Harlem, NYC).
After the street naming ceremony, a reception was held @ El Taller Boricua, housed in the Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center, 1680 Lexington Avenue (105th & 106th Street), NYC.