About Me
The Short Story

I’m an author, thought leader, and cultural consultant with over thirty years’ experience in the creative sector. I’ve seen the arts and culture world from various perspectives and points of view: as donor, author, musician, photographer, fundraiser, book editor, program manager, festival planner, technology strategist, public relations liaison, social media influencer, and exhibit and literary program developer. I’ve been interviewed on television and print news outlets based on this and was awarded for my contributions to Latino literary heritage by New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer in 2014. I live and work in the Bronx, where I was born and fell in love with the arts as a boy.
 
My professional life began while working in galleries, attending university, and playing in bands in the 1990s. Art and culture have always been central to my life, from my first visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the third grade, to watching breakdance and graffiti culture explode around me in the 1970s and 1980s. Organizations and entities that have funded my programs and sought my insight include the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the New York Public Library, Humanities New York, and the National Endowment for the Arts, which awarded $70,000 to two cycles of the Bronx Memoir Project workshop and anthology program I administered while at Bronx Council on the Arts. 
 
Other organizations include:
 
The Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance
The Wildlife Conservation Society
The Bronx Museum of the Arts
Festival de la Palabra
New York University
Yancey Consulting
PEN America


“Charlie Vazquez graciously volunteered his time and talent as a writer with an original story for our benefit anthology Ricanstruction: Reminiscing and Rebuilding Puerto Rico. With his help we’ve raised over $150,000 in disaster relief funds for our grants program, which will distribute awards to nine grassroots organizations in Puerto Rico in 2018.”

Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez – creator of La Borinqueña and Ricanstruction: Reminiscing and Rebuilding Puerto Rico.


Timeline

Musician and recording artist; Portland, OR (1988 – 1998)
35mm photographer; Portland, OR (1995 – 2004)
Author and editor; Portland, OR/New York, NY (1996 - present)
Festival de la Palabra; San Juan, PR/New York, NY (2011 - 2015)
Bronx Council on the Arts; Bronx, NY (2013 - 2018) 


Languages

English, Spanish, French.​

The Novella

My career began as an electronic musician and 35mm photographer in the 1990s, while working at Twist, a contemporary craft/gallery store in Portland, Oregon. This segued into arts administration in 2007, when I launched an underground reading series that featured artists such as Penny Arcade and Sam J. Miller. Puerto Rico’s Festival de la Palabra hired me in 2011 to coordinate readings and classroom visits with award-winning authors from around the world, deepening my international programming experience. Bronx Council on the Arts (BCA) brought me on to direct its creative writing program in 2014, which evolved into a 5-year career that grew into fundraising, exhibit development, technology strategy, and festival curation when we were invited to participate in the prestigious PEN World Voices festival in 2015. 
 
I witnessed the birth and explosion of graffiti and hip-hop culture as a boy in the Bronx. As a teenager, I discovered punk and electronic music in the East Village of the 1980s. These formative years spurred an obsession with experimental and cutting-edge fashion and literature as well. This lured me to Portland, Oregon in 1988, to find my voice in a fertile and thriving music and art underground that would influence the grunge explosion soon after. I witnessed the rise and fall of several subcultural movements in those years (Goth/industrial, techno/trance, grunge), while traveling to Vancouver, BC, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Tijuana, MX, where I finished my first novel in 2004.
 
My East Coast edge and West Coast Zen have equipped me with the gift of navigating diverse, and often divergent, cultural territories. New York taught me about Latino and African-American culture during my youth, as well as classical music, jazz and the fine arts during lifelong visits to the city’s finest museums, galleries and music halls. The West taught me about Eastern spirituality and the splendor of nature, the limitlessness of visual art and experimentation. I was fortunate to have great mentors: Don Michael Cervenak, retired art history and English professor in Baja Mexico (see the book The Art of Rock), and the world-renowned musician Diamanda Galás in New York, for whom I worked as an assistant.
 
Festival de la Palabra and the Bronx Writers Center connected me to creative souls from around the world, countless opportunities to teach as well as to learn from them. The National Endowment for the Arts supported two volumes of the Bronx Memoir Project, which I organized and edited into two paperback volumes in 2014 and 2018, the first anthology of its kind. The privilege of working with the nation’s most underserved writers was recognized by PEN America, who invited us to join the PEN World Voices festival in 2015. This is in addition to hundreds of other cultural events I’ve organized and developed as a cultural producer over the years: readings, lectures, exhibits and performances. I'm also a founding member of the Latino Rebels blogger's collective.
 
As Deputy Director at BCA, I oversaw the tech outfitting for a state-of-the-art headquarters renovation slated to open in 2018. The researching of devices and audiovisual elements for cultural programming (such as an iMac incubator lab) proved to be the perfect culmination of all my prior experience, a window into the creative future of the borough. This ability to understand the arts and culture sector from multiple perspectives, to anticipate the needs of stakeholders and communities, resides at the core of my work as an arts innovation consultant. The future of the arts will hinge on balanced and sustained ecosystems where creative capital and engagement are bolstered by communications, technology and finance.

Art as business as art.