One of 40 organizations recently recognized for its contributions to the history, culture, vibrancy, and identity of communities of color in greater Chicago (see Chicago Cultural Treasures), Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center (SRBCC) is the longest-standing Latino cultural center in Chicago. Established in 1971, it was named in honor of Segundo Ruiz Belvis, a Puerto Rican patriot and member of a secret abolitionist society that freed slave children under Spanish rule. In that spirit, SRBCC realizes its mission to preserve and promote appreciation of the culture and arts of Puerto Rico and Latin America, with a focus on its African heritage.
Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center and After School Matters partner to provide paid apprenticeships to youth (ages 14-24) to learn Afro-Latin Percussion, Bomba, Afro-Caribbean Jazz, Music Production, Interdisciplinary Storytelling, and Caribbean Cooking. SRBCC also offers weekly and monthly percussion classes, live music events, and community workshops that promote cultural understanding through artistic expression, keeping youth and professional teaching artists safe, with meaningful opportunities to create, present and produce art.
SRBCC evolved as a cultural organization from a community arts project developed by Association House of Chicago and community activists of the Latin American Defense Organization (LADO). These organizations supported the economic and democratic rights of the Puerto Rican and Latino community of Chicago, focusing on the areas of civic involvement, citizenship, cultural identity, public education, health, safety and security, housing, and economic opportunity.
SRBCC’s Youth Programs Promo Video
SRBCC is highlighted in the 2016 BPPR Documentary “De Puerto Rico para el Mundo”
Recent Grants: 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at the Driehaus Foundation, 2019, 2020 and 2021-2023 Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation Grant for Arts and Culture Organizations, 2016 and 2019 MacArthur International Connections Fund, 2018, 2019, and 2020 Field Foundation of Illinois Grant to Arts Organizations , 2017 and 2018, and 2021 CityArts Grant, 2017-2021 Illinois Arts Council Grant for Arts Organizations, the 2017 and 2018 Strengthening Artistic and Cultural Diversity Grant of the Chicago Community Trust, and Chicago Cultural Treasures 2021-2024.
Our programs would not be possible without the support of our generous partners.