The works collected by El Museo are at the heart of our mission as a museum and cultural center. Now more than 8,000 objects strong, the collection is rooted in work by the Puerto Rican artists of our founding community, and has grown to include art from diverse Caribbean, Latino, and Latin American cultures.

El Museo del Barrio is the preeminent forum and resource in the U.S. dedicated to Caribbean, Latino, and Latin American art. The museum cares for a diverse, 8,000+-object Permanent Collection of Caribbean, Latino and Latin American art, unique in the United States. The holdings divide into four main areas:

Modern and Contemporary art, particularly strong in Post War (1950 – the present) works, including paintings (over 400), photography (over 700), and other contemporary, mixed-media and three-dimensional and time-based forms, such as video, primarily created by New York-based Latino artists (in total, over 1,500 works).

Graphics, including an excellent representation of Puerto Rican, Nuyorican, Mexican, and Chicano fine prints through the 20th and 21st centuries (over 4,000 works);

Taíno/Pre-Columbian, pan-Caribbean archeological objects, primarily from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, as well as fine photographs, graphics and contemporary works that have been influenced by the Taíno legacy (over 460 works); and

Popular Traditions, including Santos de palo (over 300, primarily from Puerto Rico) and other devotional arts from the Santería, Candomblé and Orisha-worship traditions, masks (over 80, primarily from Mexico and Guatemala) and objects related to the celebration of Día de los Muertos (over 500 objects in total).

Presently, El Museo is seeking to actively build its Permanent Collection in three primary ways:

1)    Develop our holdings of Post-War art, with a sustained focus on artists/groups/schools who emerged in, produced in, or interacted within, New York;

2)    Complement this core with select Modernist (mid-19th century to 1950) and Contemporary works by outstanding artists whose contributions are resonant with the collection;

3)    Continue to foster the strengths of the graphics and Taíno holdings.

El Museo seeks to develop focused holdings in areas that are overlooked or underrepresented in museums of Latin American art, or encyclopedic institutions that have Latin American collections. We strategically plan to develop these holdings through the scholarly research, outreach, and presentation of exhibitions and related publications and programming which bring us into active contact with stakeholder in these areas. Successful examples of this strategy include our focused holdings of contemporary work by Dominican artists, as well as photography, video, and other materials that document actions by artists of the Americas.