About Us

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 unique emphasis on its African heritage.

Video Caption: SRBCC’s Youth Programs Promo Video

SRBCC realizes its program philosophy by developing multi-disciplinary programs, with a strong focus on the youth, that highlight the presence of African cultures in Puerto Rico and Latin America. SRBCC celebrates Afro-Puerto Rican and Afro-Latino cultural traditions through dance, music, theater, and visual arts.

Video Caption: SRBCC is highlighted in the 2016 BPPR Documentary “De Puerto Rico para el Mundo” dedicated to the Puerto Ricans that migrated to Chicago, New York, and Hawaii in the United States.

Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center and After School Matters partner to offer paid apprenticeships to teens (ages 14-18) to learn Traditional Puerto Rican Bomba, Afro-Caribbean Jazz and Music Video Production. We also offer weekly and monthly percussion classes, live music events, and community workshops.

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.

More recently, as a member organization of The Puerto Rican Agenda, SRBCC is fiscal sponsor and one of the leaders in the initiative to bring relief to the people of Puerto Rico after Hurricanes Irma and María. The Puerto Rican Agenda has sent two planes of first necessity items to Puerto Rico and delivered over 30 support grants in 30 municipalities for projects that range from sustainable agriculture and health to solar energy and clean water.

Recent Grants: 2017 MacArthur International Connections Grant, the 2017 CityArts Grant, and the 2017 and 2018 Strengthening Artistic and Cultural Diversity Grants of the Chicago Community Trust, The Field Foundation’s Arts and Culture Grant, and the Illinois Arts Council Grant for Operating Support.

Our programs would not be possible without the support of our generous partners.