BRONX ACADEMY OF ARTS AND DANCE
2474 Westchester Avenue, The Bronx
1867-68, Leopold Eidlitz
The Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD!) was founded in 1998 “[for] women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community to have a physical space in The Bronx to experience and/or create dance, theater, visual art, written work, and performance that is empowering to them free from the prejudices of society,” as described in BAAD’s vision statement. Its founders are Arthur Aviles, a renowned dancer and choreographer, and Charles Rice-Gonzalez, a writer and activist. At the time of BAAD!’s founding, its mission to provide a safe and welcoming environment for LGBTQ artists and artists of color was an extraordinary social advancement since the foundations of gay rights were still fragile in the late 1990’s. The academy continues to be a progressive force for good in The Bronx and beyond. Originally located in a south Bronx community center, BAAD! rented space in the American Bank Note Company Printing Plant in Hunts Point before moving in 2013 to its present location in the chapel of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Westchester Square. This part of The Bronx was once the town of Westchester, the county seat of Westchester County, which was formed in 1683. The Victorian Gothic-style chapel, designed by a former apprentice to Richard Upjohn (architect of Trinity Church in Manhattan), stands on the site of the town’s old courthouse. More information about St. Peter’s Episcopal Church is available in our 2018 Westchester Square Guidebook. BAAD! is a NYC Individual Landmark and listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places.