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Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center

Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center (SRBCC) is a community-based nonprofit organization serving the neighborhood of Hermosa located in Chicago’s northwest side. SRBCC is the longest-standing Puerto Rican cultural center in the city. Established in 1971, it was named in honor of Segundo Ruiz Belvis, the Puerto Rican founder of a secret abolitionist society that bought and freed slave children during Spanish colonial rule.

In that spirit, SRBCC realizes its mission to preserve and promote appreciation of the culture and arts of Puerto Rico, specifically its African heritage.

SRBCC realizes its program philosophy by developing multi-disciplinary programs highlighting the presence of African cultures in Latin America. We utilize dance, music, theater, and other artistic mediums to celebrate Afro-Puerto Rican and Afro-Latino cultural traditions.

In 2007 SRBCC completed the purchase of a 13,000 square feet retail and office space in Chicago’s Hermosa neighborhood. The space, formerly the Karlov Theater, was built in 1925 and includes five retail spaces, two apartments, and a theatre area. SRBCC is proud to announce the completion of stage one of a capital campaign. The funds raised were used for the rehabilitation of the retail areas and the conversion of the former theater into a multipurpose arts space. 

 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 and Music Video Production. We also offer weekly and monthly percussion classes, live music events, and community workshops.

 SRBCC evolved 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.

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