Founder of Project X
Swarthmore College '15
Who is Noel?
Noel Quiñones is a 24-year-old performer, educator, and organizer. He is also the founder of Project X a fully Latinx Slam Poetry team focusing on sharing their lived experiences.
I was born and raised in the North Bronx and currently work as the Associate Director of Service Learning & Civic Engagement at the Brooklyn Friends School. My biggest struggle right now is maintaining a healthy balance in my life between my three passions. I am blessed to be on an upward trajectory in my writing and performance career but I at times have to reel in my art to make room for my work an educator and as a community arts organizer. I believe very strongly in working with young people at the same time that I believe very strongly in creating artistic spaces for Latinx and Bronx people. Yet this comes at a cost to my mental and physical health. I struggle with sleeping regularly and saying no when I know I can offer so much and that my communities need as much as we can give. I eat fast food and run from work to shows to organizing events because I believe I should destroy myself to rebuild that which has been destroyed around me.
My friends have been a huge support in helping me understand that in order for positive production, the machine of our bodies must also be maintained. Since I will have this upcoming summer off for the first time in my professional career I plan to chart out the coming year to avoid my past struggles. This is all in an effort to eventually become a full time creative, going on tour with my poetry, engaging in an acting career, and teaching poetry at the collegiate level. While I love working with students in an educational setting I know deep down that I love the arts more. Poetry has become everything to me, in essence, the way in which I view the word. I cannot hear, see, or smell something without considering how to relay that through the written and spoken word. It has allowed me to give elegance to even the worst of environments and in that way, I believe I have become a more positive and optimistic person.
Growing up in the Bronx I was made to believe that my borough was a horrible environment and that I should do everything I can to escape it yet the arts and my various communities have helped me to see the beauty there. The many faces of the Bronx should not be overshadowed by the one face the media continues to portray. I am the result of this environment because I continue my parents and grandparents legacy of making something from nothing. My family was dealt with hardship and we fought through, now I am returning to nurture that with my people. As the founder of Project X, I believe in showcasing the Bronx for everything it is and preserving the unending fountain of creative innovation my people have never stopped engaging in. We created global phenomena from Hip-Hop and Salsa and my borough hasn't stopped there.