“The place where all things Italian come to life” is an apt description of the Westchester Italian Cultural Center. The center, located in Tuckahoe, officially opened this past September and serves to promote Italian contemporary and historic culture through exhibits, classes, events and programs.
The idea for the center goes back over 60 years to Generoso Pope, whose family foundation is the center’s current cornerstone. Pope, a well-known businessman and philanthropist who emigrated to America from Italy in 1906, wanted to find a way to promote the vast range of Italian culture. “One of our main goals is to teach young kids the importance of their heritage,” says David Pope, his great-grandson and president/CEO of the Generoso Pope Foundation. “We believe that if you teach children at a young age the facets of the culture — language, cooking, the arts — they will have a greater appreciation for their culture later on.”
The center’s programs cater to all ages and backgrounds. “We really have some great programs, especially for kids, and in January we’ll offer continuing language classes and mommy and me classes that include cooking and language courses, just to name a few,” says Evelyn Rossetti, Ed.D., executive director. “We also will be launching a cultural appreciation program soon, as well as continuing with our on-site school programs.”
The center boasts an array of amenities designed to augment its programs. These include a state-of-the-art kitchen in which students enjoy Italian cooking classes, the Catherine Pope Memorial Library (where members can research their genealogy), exhibit halls and a lecture hall.
Some of the center’s programs for January include: Beginning Italian for Children, Course I (ages 5-7), Course II (ages 8-10), Primi Passi in Italiano, Mommy and Me Italian Language Course I and II (ages 2 ½ to 4). There will also be a culinary event at the center on Sunday, February 10 for ages 8-12; this event, “La Torta del Cuore” (Sweet Heart Cake) will teach kids the art of cake making to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
Individual member and family memberships are also available.
Where: The Westchester Italian Cultural Center, One Generoso Pope Place, Tuckahoe
When: Beginning Italian for Children, Course I, Saturdays, 10-11:30am, starts January 19 (10 sessions). Course II, same starting date, 12-1:30pm. Primi Passi in Italiano, Mommy and Me Italian Language Course I, Wednesdays, 9:30-10:30am, starts January 16; Course II, same starting date, 11 am-noon.
How much: Contact the Center for course prices.
For more info: 914-771-8700; www.wiccny.org