Contact Information

Dominican Studies Institute Library, City College, CUNY
Convent Avenue & 138 Street, NAC 4/107
New York, NY 10031-9198
Tel.: (212) 650-7496
Fax:(212) 650-7489

Sarah Aponte, MLS, MSEd. CUNY-DSI Librarian

Hours open to the public
Monday–Friday, 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

Note: Closed on Fridays during the month of July and the first half of August.

History of the Institution

The CUNY Dominican Studies Institute at the City College of New York (CUNY-DSI) came into being through the agency of the Council of Dominican Educators, community activists, and other academics from CUNY. Founded to address the lack of reliable information on Dominicans for academic researchers and others, it is the first and only university-based research institution in the United States focusing on the study of Dominican life in the diaspora. The CUNY-DSI began as a pilot project in August of 1992, with a development grant made available by CUNY's Chancellor. Upon official approval by the Board of Trustees in 1994, the CUNY-DSI became an integral component of the City University of New York.

The CUNY-DSI Library is a unique collection whose mission is to identify, collect, organize, preserve and make available bibliographical sources documenting the Dominican experience in the United States. As an organized research unit of the university, the institute sponsors research projects covering areas that include, but are not limited to, education, migration, language, literature, history, economics, women's issues, politics, youth, cultural identity, sports, performing arts, and visual arts.

Regular donations combined with a budget allocation from the CUNY-DSI's annual operating budget have enabled the library to grow systematically, becoming the largest specialized collection on U.S. Dominicans in the country.

Scope and Content

The archival holdings of CUNY-DSI Library pertain to Dominicans in the United States, the Dominican Republic, and elsewhere. Holdings include articles, newspaper clippings, master and doctoral dissertations, documentaries, audio-cassettes, conference papers and others. They cover a variety of fields including culture, history, literature, politics, and sociology. The holdings documenting the visual arts, while limited, include rare and out-of-print books, exhibition catalogues, and clippings on Dominican art production in the U.S.

Overall holdings of archives and research material: Eighty-six linear feet

Overall holdings of archives and research material related to Latino art: Fourteen linear feet

Inclusive dates of files: 1930–present
Bulk dates: 1960s–present

Languages in which records are written:
English (50%) and Spanish (50%)

Holdings: Primary Sources

Archives of institution's history and operation related to Latino art:
Three linear feet
These records pertain to various exhibitions and public programs organized by the Dominican Studies Institute, including Caña Brava: The Bateys of the Dominican Republic (2003), an exhibition of Jon Anderson's black and white photos of life in the Dominican sugar cane plantation villages; Dominican Youth Across Borders: A Photo Exhibit (2004), an exhibition of Ruben Ramírez's photographic work on the U.S. Dominican youth and their counterparts in the Dominican Republic; Dominican Rock: An Audiovisual Experience  (2004), a photo/video exhibit produced by Harold Martínez to provide a general view of the current rock scene in the Dominican Republic as a growing alternative movement; Memories of Underdevelopment: A Portrait of the Dominican Republic (2004), a slideshow and discussion on the issues facing a developing nation and its historical and cultural legacy; Encrucijadas/Crossroads:  An Exhibition of Contemporary Dominican-American Art (2004), a one-day fine arts' exhibit that showcased the work and talent of New Dominican American Artists; and Eduardo León Jimenes Art Contest: A New York Exhibition of Selected Award-Winning Works (2006), an exhibit organized by The Eduardo León Jimenes Cultural Center (Centro León) on the occasion of the XXI Eduardo León Jimenes Art Contest, the oldest privately sponsored art competition in Latin America, containing fourteen award-winning works from previous years of the Contests and all of the participants from 2004.

Personal papers of artists, critics, or art historians associated with Latino art
0.5 linear feet
The CUNY-DSI Library holds the personal papers of performer, writer, and educator Josefina Báez. Báez is the founder and director (since 1986) of Latinarte/Ay Ombe Theatre troupe collective. Her work explores the experience of the Dominican diaspora.

Archives of manuscripts of other institutions related to Latino Art:
2.5 linear feet
The CUNY-DSI Library holds the papers related to the annual cultural festival "Quisqueya en el Hudson: Festival of Dominican Arts, Music and Dance" sponsored by the Ethnic Folk Arts Center and NewQuisqueyanos. This festival began in 1996 as a two-year program of research, community collaboration and presentation of Dominican traditional performance arts. Since that time, it has developed into an established Washington Heights celebration. Some of the visual artists who have been involved in the project include Reynaldo García Pantaleón, Alex Guerrero, Juan Valoy, and Rafo Castillo.

Recorded interviews and performances:
The CUNY-DSI Library holds recorded performances of theater performer and educator Josefina Báez as part of the two-part conference organized by the CUNY-Dominican Studies Institute in 2001. Panel II: Palabras, Ritmos y Diferencias was part of the conference "Up from the Margins: Diversity as Challenge to the Democratic Nation/Desde la Orilla: la Diversidad Como Reto de la Nación Democrática" (June 29, 2001).

Exhibition catalogues published in-house that include work by Latino artists:
One item
The CUNY-DSI Library published the catalogue Crossroads: An Exhibition of Contemporary Dominican Art (2004), on the occasion of their first exhibition of Dominican visual arts.

Secondary Sources

Exhibition catalogues, books, and periodicals related to Latino art:
Six linear feet
The CUNY-DSI Library holds several hard-to-find books and catalogues on Dominican art history and criticism, including Pedro Mir's Fundamentos de Teoría y Crítica de Arte (1979); Obra crítica en el periódico El Caribe, vols. I and II, and Artes plásticas by Manuel Valldeperes (1989). Some other titles on art from the Dominican Republic include Domingo Batista Pasión por la Luz, 2003; Art in Transit: A Dominican Experience (INTAR, 1996); and Modern and Contemporary Art of the Dominican Republic by the Americas Society (1996). The DSI also has catalogues of individual exhibitions by Cándido Bidó, Tito Cánepa, Freddy Rodríguez, Darío Suro, Iván Tovar, and Julio Valdés.

Films by or about Latinos:
Approximately sixty items
The audiovisual collection of the Dominican Studies Institute Library comprises approximately sixty films directed or produced by Latinos (mostly Dominicans). Many of them are documentaries on Dominican culture and history and on the diaspora. The documentary Aguas Limitadas/Limited Water, directed by Armando Guareño (1999) deals with Dominican contemporary art. The DSI also owns several feature films, including In the Time of the Butterflies, directed by Mariano Barroso, (2001); Nueba Yol ¡Por fin llegó Balbuena! directed by Angel Muñiz (1995); and Raising Victor Vargas, directed by Peter Sollet (2003).

Vertical file materials related to Latino art: artist files, brochures, pamphlets, clippings:
Two linear feet
The library has vertical files on Dominican artists working between the United States and the Dominican Republic. These include files on Tito Cánepa, Scherezade García, Charo Oquet, and Freddy Rodríguez.

Recorded lectures and symposia:
The Library holds a recording of the two-day symposium titled Dominican Culture at the End of the Century: Issues for a Future Research Agenda, organized by the DSI in 1998. This two-day symposium focused on the visual arts, spiritual traditions, popular/folk music, and history of the Dominican people in the homeland and the U.S. At the symposium, Leonora Vega, from Leonora Vega Gallery, moderated the panel "Dominican Visual Artists: Between Here and There." Panelists included artists Scherezade García, David Medina, and Charo Oquet, and art critic Sara Hermann. The event was in English and Spanish. This item is on VHS format.

Finding Aids

The CUNY-DSI Library has an online catalog of its holdings that is accessible at:

In addition, the library's website has a list of their audiovisual collection, which is accessible at:


The CUNY-DSI Library is open to the general public and no appointment is necessary.


The CUNY-DSI Library is a non-circulating library.

General Assessment

The CUNY-DSI Library is the largest repository of bibliographic and research materials devoted to the study of the Dominican experience in the United States. Holdings documenting the visual arts include exhibition catalogues, rare texts on Dominican art history and criticism, clippings, and audiovisual materials. Although limited in number, this collection constitutes an outstanding resource for the study of the under-documented Dominican artistic community in New York and beyond.

Relations to other Latino and Latin American organizations:

The CUNY-DSI works in collaboration with the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College (CUNY), as well as the Inter-University Program for Latino Research (IUPLR) with headquarters at the University of Notre Dame.

Additional notes or comments:
The Library of the Dominican Studies Institute welcomes donations of catalogues, clippings, and other research materials on Dominican visual artists. For information on where to send these please contact the library staff.