Thanks to Peter “Souleo” Wright, and the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling for the write-up and this wonderful opportunity to share our book and our mission.
“Veronica Santiago Liu recalls being an arts organizer since age five or six. But it would be as an adult that she would take on, perhaps, her biggest project to date. On June 17, 2011 she opened Word Up Community Bookshop in an empty storefront in New York’s Washington Heights. Originally envisioned as a transitory site housing a literary fair, Word Up, with support from the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance (NoMAA), soon extended its one-month lease to August 31, 2012. Following the termination of that lease, Liu and team raised over $60,000 via Indiegogo; they moved into a permanent location on July 26, 2013.
As Word Up prepares to celebrate its five-year anniversary, Liu reflects on the shop’s role in the underserved community of Washington Heights. During its run, the volunteer-run space has hosted readings, concerts, art exhibitions and classes. And they’ve helped to redefine the role and purpose of a contemporary bookstore.
On May 14, the Word Up Collective brought their tale to the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling for a dramatic reading of their bilingual children’s bookHome at Word Up: A Story of a Bookshop in Washington Heights. Check out our conversation with Liu about her inspiration for Word Up, learning lessons, their relationship with the Museum and what the future holds.”