On Thursday, September 4th, the former Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture re-opened its doors with a celebration of “Boricua” traditions and a new name. As the only Puerto Rican museum outside of Puerto Rico, the new name of The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture is very fitting.
After 15 years of renovations, the institute became a National Museum. The mistress of ceremony was none other then Ana María Belaval from Chicago’s very own WGN channel 9. CEO Billy Ocasio highlighted the evening of culture by entertaining the public with performances by Trío Superior, AfriCaribe and a fashion show by designer Michelle Gómez featuring Jaslene González, the winner of cycle 8 of America’s Next Top Model.
As part of this Grand Opening, four different exhibitions opened. “Mascarada Carnal” is an exhibition on colorful large-scale paintings inspired by the carnival and made by the artist Santiago Flores Charneco. The exhibit “What Do These People Have in Common” features a selection of letters of several world leaders written for Oscar López Rivera and asking for his unification with his community. Poets Salima Rivera and David Hernández were also honored with their own exhibits, “It’s Not about Dreams: The Artist and Poet Salima Rivera” and “Poems in Color: Homage to David Hernández”. On the newly opened second floor gallery, the museum presents “Homecoming”, a group exhibition reuniting Puerto Rican artists that are based in Chicago, featuring Bibiana Suárez, Cándida Alvarez, Edra Soto, Nora Maité Nieves, Josué Pellot and José Lerma.
The grand re-opening continued with the 14th edition of Barrio Arts Fest, during the weekend of September 6th and 7th, where over 25 different artists presented their crafts and artistic creations. This family event included poetry reading, performances by AfriCaribe, Las Bompleneras, Frank Díaz, Pocket Circus, as well as Family Mural Day sponsored by Architreasures on Sunday.
This beautiful cultural institution is located in the community of Humboldt Park and will be open for all the public free of charge to enjoy its exhibitions, cultural events and future workshops and lectures on different topics related to our arts and culture. The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture is located in 3015 West Division Street, Chicago, IL 60622. For more information, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/nmprac