NYU Latinx Project to create research center with $1.3 million donation

The university’s Latinx Project will use a recent $1.3 million grant to establish a new research center for Latinx studies with support from the Office of the Provost.


(Courtesy of Tere Garcia)

Yezen Saadah, News Editor

A recent $1.3 million donation will establish an official research institute for Latinx studies at NYU called the Latinx Project: Interdisciplinary Center for Arts and Culture. The donation was made by the Mellon Foundation to the university’s Latinx Project, which sponsors artistic and cultural programs at NYU. The funding will also be used to support the project’s art exhibitions, research fellowships and its online publication, Intervenxions.

“This is the first universitywide space dedicated to Latinx studies at NYU,” said Arlene Dávila, the founding director of the Latinx Project and a professor of anthropology at NYU. “Latino studies is not in a field that has been recognized in many universities and we could strive to be an example for why projects like this should exist in all universities.”

Dávila said the project has been calling on the university to support an academic space dedicated to Latinx studies for years. She also said that, though the center will not constitute an official department at NYU, the donation will also be put toward promoting the Latinx Project’s existing programming. Dávila noted that despite the new Latinx provostial center — a research institute supported by the university’s Office of the Provost — as well as existing centers dedicated to African American and Asian American studies, NYU has yet to establish a provostial center for Native American studies. 

She also said that one of the goals of the center is to encourage other departments at NYU to hire more Latine faculty and promote diversity throughout the university.

“The idea is that, hopefully, other departments will hire more Latino faculty in their own spaces,” Dávila said. “It would be great if it promoted and inspired other departments to diversify. There’s room within the space for other venues in addition to our culture.”

The $1.3 million grant will also be used to support the Latinx Project’s continued work including its Artist in Residence program, the Miriam Jiménez Román Afro Latinx Fellowship, its Public Humanities Fellowship and its online publication. Dávila noted that these projects have been supported by grants since the Latinx Project was established in 2018.

Interim Provost Georgina Dopico said the donation from the Mellon Foundation, which aims to promote equity, humanities and the arts in communities through grants, will assist the Latinx Project in its cultural and academic efforts.

“In the five years since the establishment of the Latinx Project, they have done extraordinary work in bringing greater visibility to Latinx creativity, history and the complex multitude of Latinx identities,” Dopico said. “With this support from the Mellon Foundation the Latinx Project will continue to thrive as a hub of intellectual and artistic inquiry and exchange, creating even more opportunities for NYU faculty and students — and the broader community — to engage with Latinx culture.”

Contact Yezen Saadah at [email protected].