About Park Performing Arts Center

Mission Statement
The mission of the Park Performing Arts Center is to provide high quality artistic programming for Hudson County and the surrounding communities. Our aim is to promote an appreciation of and interest in the arts so that new generations of artists can be inspired and that audiences will continue to support contemporary artistic visions.

About Us
The area just across the Hudson River from New York City is the most urbanized region of New Jersey. It has always been home to a wide range of ethnic communities and is still a destination for many new immigrants. The population of Union City, where the Park Theatre is located, is currently more than 75% percent Hispanic -- a trend that began in the late 1960s when large numbers of Cuban émigrés settled here, making Union City the city with the largest Cuban population in the U.S. after Miami. Over the past twenty years people from many countries in the Caribbean, Central and South America have turned Union City into a thriving center of Latino culture. Hudson County also includes many more ethnic groups, among which are Filipino, Guajarati Indian, Italian, Chinese, Irish, Polish, and African-American. Approximately 3.1 million people live in the five surrounding counties of Hudson, Essex, Bergen, Passaic, and Union. 552,000 people live in Hudson County alone.

History
The single most outstanding feature of the Park Performing Arts Center is the 1400-seat Park Theatre. Built in 1931 by the German congregation of a Catholic parish to house their cultural and educational programs, it has a longstanding reputation in the community as a home to area arts performances. Located in the heart of Union City, in northeastern New Jersey, the Park Theatre has served as an important stage for live performances in this area ever since. Many people who grew up in Hudson and Bergen counties remember coming to PPAC as children for their first theatrical experience. The Park Performing Arts Center was incorporated in 1983 as a private, not-for-profit arts center dedicated to presenting and producing programs for the diverse surrounding communities of urban New Jersey. It is identified as "the only institution in the County solely dedicated to the performing arts" by the Hudson County Urban Complex Strategic Revitalization Plan, produced for the County and endorsed by the State Planning Commission in January 1999.

Artists
The Park Performing Arts Center has presented a wide range of live performances including professional drama, musicals, opera, community theatre groups, dance companies, orchestras, jazz musicians, and folk musicians and dancers. Well-known musicians Paquito D¹Rivera, The Clancy Brothers, Johnny Cash and Maynard Ferguson have all played here as have dance groups Nai Ni Chen Dance Company, Gran Folklorico de Mexico, Maria Benitez Spanish Dance Company and Jose Greco & Family. Local folk artists who have roots in Peru, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Brazil, Mexico, Ireland, Italy, Albania and the Philippines have given concerts in recent seasons, and many popular artists from Latin America and Ireland have entertained the local audiences as well.
Above right: Las Estrellas del Caribe perform in the Park in the Parks series.