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Tito Puente East Harlem memorial plan moves forward

A proposal for a memorial honoring Latin percussionist

A proposal for a memorial honoring Latin percussionist Tito Puente in East Harlem will be reviewed at a public meeting on April 20, 2016. Pictured: Puente with his son Tito Puente Jr. during the arrivals at the Grammy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles in February 2000. Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Lucy Nicholson

Plans to erect a memorial in East Harlem to honor Latino jazz legend Tito Puente will take a step forward Wednesday.

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Tito Puente's son, the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and community groups are hosting a public meeting at Julia de Burgos Cultural Center to review artists for the memorial, which has been on the back burner for years. Puente, who would have been 93 on Wednesday, was a native of East Harlem and helped to showcase the community during his decades of fame, according to the speaker.

“Tito Puente was a one-of-a kind musician who made an indelible mark in the Latin music industry and the Puerto Rican community,” she said in a statement.

The memorial will be located at Fifth Avenue and 110th Street, adjacent to “Tito Puente Way.”

A panel of three judges — Eva de la O, the executive director of Musica de Camera, Rolinda Ramos, of the art space PS 109, and Rocio Aranda-Alvarado, the curator of El Museo del Barrio — will judge the competition and select four to seven finalists.

Those artists will then show off renderings of their design at a public exhibition on June 8. A final design will be selected a week later.

“We are thrilled and honored to a be a part of this process, working with Speaker Mark-Viverito’s office, Tito Puente’s family, and community members to produce a tribute to this iconic New York City artist,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.


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