Elena Martínez is the Co-Artistic Director of the Bronx Music Heritage Center and a Folklorist at City Lore. Her work at City Lore has included getting Casa Amadeo (the longest continually-run Latin music store in NYC) nominated to the National Register of Historic Places (the first nomination relating to the Puerto Rican experience on the mainland); and nominated master Puerto Rican lacemaker (the art of mundillo) Rosa Elena Egipciaco for a NEA National Heritage Award.
She co-produced the documentary, From Mambo to Hip Hop: A South Bronx Tale, which aired on PBS in September 2006 and won the NCLR’s (National Council of La Raza) 2007 ALMA Award for Best TV Documentary. She was a producer for the documentary, We Like It Like That: The Story of Latin Boogaloo, which premiered at the SXSW Festival in 2015. She was also a producer on the short documentary, Eddie Palmieri: A Revolution on Harlem River Drive (Red Bull Academy 2016). Elena curated the exhibition, “¡Que bonita bandera!: The Puerto Rican Flag as Folk Art,” and was the Assistant Curator for the exhibit, “Nueva York: 1613-1945” at El Museo del Barrio (2010). She co-curated the exhibit, Las Tres Hermanas: Art & Activism, with Joe Conzo Jr. which was featured at the Bronx Music Heritage Center and the Center for Puerto Rican Studies in 2017.
A current project involves researching the Afro-Puerto Rican participation in the 369th Regimental Band (the “Harlem Hellfighters”) during WWI. She has been working with the 369th Regimental Historical Society and the World War I Centennial Commemoration “369th Experience” to archive the music sheets from the Historical Society and received a 2015 LARAS (Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences) grant to aid in their preservation