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1199SEIU Bread and Roses Cultural Project

Bread and Roses

Belafonte recently assumed leadership of Bread And Roses.

He has performed at 1199 events and worked with the Union throughout his career. “I have come full circle,” he said. “American and the world are at a critical crossroad. We can use the power of art and culture to move our country forward.”

The Bread and Roses Cultural Project was founded in 1978. It was the brainchild of late 1199 Exec.VP Moe Foner, who was inspired by labor leader Philip Murray. In the 1940s, Murray was asked what workers wanted. “Paintings on the wall, carpets on the floor and music in the home,” was his famous reply. Murray’s answer motivated Foner, who saw art and culture as powerful organizing tools, to create Bread and Roses.

Over the course of its thirty-year history, Bread and Roses has offered programs that proved time and time again that working people value the enrichment of their creative spirits as much as they do their pocketbooks.

Bread and Roses is the not-for-profit cultural arm of New York’s Health and Human Service Union, 1199/SEIU. Its 220,000 predominantly Latina and African American women members are employed in all job categories in health care institutions throughout the metropolitan area, New Jersey and Florida. Bread and Roses was founded in 1979 as a cultural resource for union members and students in New York City who would otherwise have little access to the arts. Special emphasis is given to programs that signify and interpret their history while generating new artistic expression. Bread and Roses actively strives to depict artistic, cultural and historical themes and issues affecting people from many backgrounds. The New York Times has recognized us as “the most important cultural project in the labor movement”.

Bread and Roses established the only permanent union exhibition space in the nation, Gallery 1199, at the union’s New York City headquarters. Because of its diverse constituency of working people, many of whom are immigrants, Bread and Roses is the national leader for collaborative work, with a union, to bring the arts to an enormous group of people largely not reached by traditional arts institutions and programs
(‘Bread and Roses Cultural Project’, Companydatabase.org, 2009)

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