Since its conception, the Gallery has recognized art as its lead partner in its quest to create change, both in its community and in its industry. For this reason, one of our commitments has been to empower our community through ground-breaking programs and by supporting emerging, mid-career and important artists, both locally and internationally.
Clementina Arts Foundation
To fulfill its mission statement, the Alvarez Gallery spun-off its community unit – which includes free studios for emerging artists, a youth-centered art experiences and programs for museums – into its own 501C(3), Clementina Arts Foundation. CAF was inspired by the memory and teachings of Clementina Charry, grandmother of the founder and director of the Alvarez Gallery, Fernando Luis Alvarez.
Sprouting Spaces is born out of the understanding that one of the most critical elements of the success in an artists’ career is the possibility to have a space to create. Sprouting Spaces responds to this specific issue by uniting artists looking for a space with landlords that have commercial vacancies. These spaces also invite the community in to engage in discussion and gather together around the arts.
Kid+Contemporary seeks to introduce children to important private contemporary art collections and educate young students on the importance of contemporary art and collecting. By partnering with respected foundations, museums, private collectors and through the cooperation of local school systems and youth organizations, the program seeks to empower and enlighten our youth through the arts.
The Spoon Movement
For close to two years, the Gallery created, strategized, directed and executed an artist-led group exhibition called “Opioid: Express Yourself”, which featured work by more than eight artists including Antuan Rodriguez, John J. Bedoya, Ben Quesnel, Lee Tahl, Domenic Esposito, Clinton Decker, Jason Werner, Matthew Cleary, and Nathan Lewis. This show was the precedent for “The Spoon Movement”, a guerrilla sculpture installation with the intention of bringing awareness to the opioid crisis in the United States and to hold accountable those responsible for promoting it.
The Spoon Movement features two acts: For Act 1, an 800-pound and 11-foot long heroin spoon was designed as a “gift” for the architects of this crisis: Oxycontin manufacturer Purdue Pharma. On June 22, 2018, the giant spoon was dropped at the doorstep of Purdue Pharma’s headquarters in Stamford, CT, by the Gallery’s exhibition organizers and the artist who created it. It was here that Fernando Luis Alvarez, gallery founder and creator of the “Opioid: Express Yourself!” exhibition and Spoon Movement,
was arrested after taking responsibility for the installation of the giant spoon, as they were being threatened with a felony by the police.
On Act 2, “The Spoon Movement” reached its full potential as a platform for civic engagement. The movement was open-sourced, so that artists and the community could use this platform as an opportunity to bring the architects of the opioid epidemic to justice through public art actions. Artists all over the US and around the globe are invited to contribute their skills towards this purpose and to promote a change by creating their own versions of the spoon. The community is also invited to nominate any subjects, or “architects”, so they can also be held accountable for their part in the opioid crisis.
The Spoon Movement serves as a reminder to the families that have suffered any loss that they are not alone, and that the community they are a part of supports them in their search for the right accountability.
In 2013, Fernando Luis Alvarez was approached by the Yerwood Center, a community resource center providing educational and personal development opportunities for youth and adults, to come on as its Chairman of the Board. In a difficult time for the Center, as it was going through financial trouble, Alvarez quickly sprung to action by making meaningful changes to the operations of the Center and its programs, and stepped in to assume the role of Interim Director to ensure that the Center would not shut down completely.
As Interim Director, Alvarez raised over $350,000, which went towards paying the Center’s teachers and staff several weeks of backpay that were unfulfilled by the previous management. Understanding the importance of the center, he also sought to make it sustainable by partnering with the Boys and Girls Club and structuring a deal for this well-established organization to take it over. Thanks to his efforts, after Alvarez stepped down from his position in 2015, the Center merged with the Boys and Girls Club of Stamford and reopened its programming to the children of the community, restoring it to the strong, safe platform it once was, and helping improve the lives of children and adults in Stamford.