September 14, 2022
On September 11, 2022, the renowned Spanish artist Cristóbal Gabarrón joined Borough of Manhattan Community College/BMCC/CUNY faculty musicians and student choir members in an improvised art making experience, AMBIT. The performance was part of an overall event, Healing and Building through Education that also featured BMCC faculty-led spoken word and performance tributes to the memory of September 11, 2001.
CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, BMCC President Anthony E. Munroe, New York State Higher Education Services Corporation President Guillermo Linares, New York State Senator Brian Kavanagh and writer and Professor Teonilda Madera all shared remarks during the opening and closing of the event.
Karen Wilson-Sevenson, Interim Vice President, Office for Institutional Advancement at BMCC, who coordinated the event, introduced each of the program’s segments. Among those in attendance were various CUNY college presidents as well as a representative from the Consulate General’s office of Jamaica.
Healing and Building through Education was curated by BMCC Music and Art Professor Maureen Keenan and English Professor Andrew Levy.
“Although the loss suffered by our BMCC family and the families of our colleagues is still and will always be deeply felt, we are inspired every day to bring the best of them with us in everything we do,” said President Munroe during his opening remarks. “Our destroyed campus building was razed and a spectacular new Fiterman Hall rose in its footprint. BMCC is a conduit for hope, ambition and world-class scholarship, now more than ever.”
As light rain fell from a gray sky, the audience of more than 100 people from around the world, seated in a sheltered section of the third-floor outdoor plaza, heard music from the BMCC student choir led by Eugenia Oi Yan Yau.
As the music continued, Professors Domenick Acocella, Margaret Barrow, Justin Cabrillos, Cheryl Fish, Andrew Levy, Syreeta McFadden and Elizabeth Weaver read from their selected works. All the while this was happening, Gabarrón was creating his piece on a 9 by 29 feet canvas.
Gabarrón didn’t complete work on the canvas until after the official program was over, however, he encouraged the audience to stay, which many did, until he completed the project well past sunset at around 9 p.m. By the next morning, the sky was clear and the completed artwork was on display for photographers to capture.
The BMCC 9/11 event also marked the 30th anniversary of the Gabarrón Foundation, which states in its mission statement that “the power of art as a social tool to improve and transform people and its societies.”
Artist Cristobal Gabarrón is himself an internationally-recognized artist known for his production of public art, as much in paint as in sculpture or monumental montage. His installations in parks, streets, and squares have contributed to redefining the essence of cities and communities all over the world.
The BMCC event was the fourth edition of AMBIT, which began its journey in Spain and continued to present live art performances in India and Germany. Upcoming Ambit events will be staged in Malta, Egypt, Nepal and Australia, among other sites. Gabarrón’s goal for the project is that Ambit will reach geographical points of special interest to him on five continents, interacting with other artists and audiences that share a unique connection to the location.
Eventually, the artwork Gabarrón created at BMCC on September 11, 2022, will be placed in a museum.
- Artist created work while BMCC faculty and student musicians performed
- Faculty writers shared spoken word and selected readings reflecting on 9/11/2001
- Art making experience reflects on 9/11/2001