TheNational Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture offers a wide variety of art exhibits throughout the year featuring original works by local, regional, and national Puerto Rican and Latino artists. By displaying an assortment of art forms and styles, NMPRAC seeks to stimulate the creation and understanding of Puerto Rican art and culture.

The Gypsy Muse (January 18 – March 22, 2013)

This exhibit honored International Women’s Day Month

Ante la necesidad la Musa se enciende y de todo lo guardado, entre mis gavetas, rincones, cajas, las observo y comienza mi rompecabezas; es como un juego, voy armándolo, voy buscando y rescatando mis imágenes.  (Recopilación de MusasJanuary, 2005)

Ever since I conceived these pieces eight years ago, they have represented my art, my commitment, and my life across the towns, cities and metropolises that I have walked on. Their creation was an abundant eruption of images, colors and textures that paint the icons of our habitat, culture and nationality. This exhibition demonstrates a handful of more than 130 paintings elaborated on the island then. During its pilgrimage through Mayagüez, San German, Güanica, San Juan, New York City, Rhode Island and now Chicago, they have shown an essence of Puerto Rico in hearts and homes.

Trusting that once more this compilation of muses transports the viewer to relive joyful memories of our beloved Borinquén. For those who haven’t had the pleasure of knowing her, may this mode be the door to la Isla del Encanto (the Enchanted Island).

Lizette Cruz

"Aurora Campestre"

“Aurora Campestre”







IWD/ The Gypse Muse


Frade’s Photos (June 8, 2012 – December 7, 2012)

Frade’s Photos is an introduction into one of the art domains unknown in the production of the painter from Cayey, Ramon Frade Leon. Frade is above all recognized for his genre painting, por- trayal of national types and landscapes. In this case his photography is the ob- ject of study and exhibition. Samples of his photos dating from the late 19th century, in Santo Domingo and up to the 1940’s in Puerto Rico are placed right next to sketches and drawings done as a process leading to paintings. Photography became his medium to embrace the countryside, rural life, and architecture. His main concern was the pictorial representation of people im- mersed in working scenes of everyday life in Cayey, Puerto Rico.

Through photography Frade builds the visual images which mirror material and spiritual features of the character of Puerto Ricans. Ethnic and racial profiles through color and proportions, textures and attitudes are accurate representa- tions of the island’s national identity. Frade’s sensibility and vision corre- sponds to sociological, anthropological and political concerns present in the colonial society of his epoch.

Frade’s Photos

Prof. Humberto Figueroa, Director

Mariel Quiñones Velez


Jonathan J. Berrios Dominguez, Educator

Nilda M. Rodriguez, Administrative Secretary

Anne Laure Beye / Javier Velez, Registrar

John Betancourt, Photography / Digitization


Museo de Arte Dr. Pio Lopez Martinez

Osiris Delgado Mercado

Gobierno de la Ciudad Autonoma de Cayey, Puerto Rico

Biblioteca Digital Puertorriqueña, Universidad de Puerto Rico – Rio Piedras

Archivo General de Puerto Rico, Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña


Fotos de Frade






Grand Opening of Foto’s de Frade

From ‘Insilio’ to Chicago (June 2012 – December 2012)

From ‘Insilio’ to Chicago : Expressions of a Neo-Rican.” An exhibit by Jaime Carrero

Painter, draftsman, novelist, playwright, and poet. Jaime Carrero is the epitome of a ubiquitous, multifaceted renaissance artist. In 1949 he studied at the Art Institute Center in New York. In 1956 he earned his Bachelor of Arts at Inter American University of Puerto Rico, and in 1957 he completed his Master of Arts at the Pratt Institute in New York.

He studied advanced painting courses in Florence in 1961, and the following year he took Art History courses at Columbia University in New York. He has been a professor at the Art Department of Inter American University of Puerto Rico in San Germán, and was its director from 1979 to 1995. In addition to his wide recognition as a painter, he has received awards for his literary work in novels, short stories, plays, poetry, and art criticism. In 1966 and 1967 he received awards from the Ateneo Puertorriqueño for drama, novel, and short story. His works have appeared in over forty collective exhibitions in Puerto Rico and abroad.

His paintings and writings satirize complex social and political themes that affect the more than 4 million Puerto Ricans living in the United States and more than 4 million Puerto Ricans living on the Island. In doing so, he was the first to identify and coin the term “Neo-Rican” in the early 1960’s as an expression of a new individual identity common to a migrating people that move fluidly between two cultures and struggle to fit into conventional molds of mono culturalism.

Jaime Carrero







 “Veveviejo” (Permanent Installation: June 2012)

The unveiling of Antonio Martorell’s “Veveviejo” permanent installation at NMPRAC was inaugurated on Friday, June 8, 2012. Sponsored by the Latina/o Studies Program & Kaplan Institute for the Humanities at Northwestern University.











“Carry-On” (April 2012 – June 2012)

This stimulating exhibit was composed of 35 contemporary artists. Part exchange, part expose, this curatorial collaboration was inspired and imported from the current ongoing charged art scene of the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico.

In its third incarnation, “Carry-On: Puerto Rico Inspected”, came to the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture in Chicago from April 13th to June 8th. This multi- media contemporary exhibition glimpses into the vehement beauty of the work that is being produced in Puerto Rico and its diasporas. First exhibited at Villa Victoria Center for the Arts in Boston, MA at the beginning of fall 2011, and then in NYC at the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Educational Center during the winter of 2011, “Carry-On: Puerto Rico Inspected” has become a nomad sort of exhibit that needs to carry-on.

Capturing the individual style of each artist in the haunting allure the exhibit as a whole embodies, the work is both contemporary and volatile. Exploring various ideas within the insular back- ground of the artists: such as, the portability of the physical artwork, its journey here, and self reflection, and inspections of the complex layers within social, political and economic realities.

This dynamic national-transnational collaboration aims to extend boundaries and disseminate forward contemporary arts and culture.

Beto Torrens & Anabel Vázquez Rodríguez

(Latin portatum, supine portare, to carry) 1. adj. Movable and portable

Carry-On: Puerto Rico Inspected









Carry-On Photo Gallery

Antonio Martorell: “Gestures” (June 2011 – June 2012)

An Exhibition of Woodcut Prints
June 11, 2011 through June 8, 2012, in the Main Art Gallery Room

Antonio Martorell, a “well known Puerto Rican painter, graphic artist, writer and radio and television personality” is exhibiting a series of wood cut prints in the Main Gallery Room at the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture (NMPRAC).
Martorell, a resident artist at the University of Puerto Rico, regularly exhibits in Puerto Rico and the United States. Martorell also directs the Ramón Frade Museum at the University. In 1986 Martorell won the prestigious Bienal de Arte de San Juan prize. Martorell maintains printmaking workshops in Puerto Rico and New York.

Titled “Gestuario/”Gestures,” this exhibition is Martorell’s depiction, in silhouette, of the gestures and attitudes of Puerto Ricans and other Caribbean nationals, “who consciously, or not, speak with their bodies, rendering into images that which is unspoken.” Martorell began thinking of his theme while on a family vacation taken years ago in Mexico. On this trip, a woman in the marketplace asked if they were Puerto Ricans before they had even spoken. When they asked her how she knew their nationality she replied, “Only Puerto Ricans point with their lips.” Printed on rice paper with a nod to the style of Japanese woodcuts, Martorell adds his initials to each of his prints in homage to the Japanese influence in Puerto Rican printmaking.

The exhibition and the reception for the artist are open to the public. All are invited to attend.

Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.;  and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For further information, please call 773/486-8345.

The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture is located at 3015 W. Division St. Chicago, IL. 60622. Admission is free.

Gestuario 1 & 2





“Gestuario” by Antonio Martorell – Video

“Gestuario” by Antonio Martorell – Photos

“Lo Que Trajo el Barco” (April 2011 – June 2011)

As a tribute to the Puerto Rican maestro Antonio Martorell and a welcome to his year long exhibition, IPRAC Presents: Miguel Luciano, Josue Pellot, Ramon Miranda – Emerging Puerto Rican artists from New York-Chicago-Puerto Rico

April 8, 2011 – June 10, 2011

Kicking off the year long exhibit “Un año de Martorell en Chicago”, the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture (NMPRAC) is proud to present “Lo Que Trajo el Barco”, an exciting exhibit featuring the art of Josue Pellot from Chicago, Miguel Luciano from New York and Ramon Miranda from Puerto Rico. These three exceptional artists representing three Puerto Rican enclaves and three distinct artistic expressions have come together as one in a tribute to “el Maestro”, Antonio Martorell.







Lo Que Trajo el Barco – Photos

Everyone Matters (February 2011 – April 2011)

The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture presents the “Everyone Matters” Art Exhibit opening in October. Everyone Matters showcases artwork by over 50 Humboldt Park community residents sharing personal messages of resilience and positive life choices. The exhibit reflects personal journeys towards healing where art becomes a tool for personal empowerment. Everyone Matters brings together seven community organizations, art therapists and teaching artists to disseminate stories of personal growth relevant to the Chicago Latino community. Everyone Matters is presented by the Behavioral Health Task Force of the Greater Humboldt Park Community of Wellness.







Photo Gallery: Everyone Matters

Lo Mejor de Nuestros Pueblos (Summer 2010)

A photographic journey through the town of Comerio. On the eve of Noche Jibara, which this year celebrated the music and art of the Puerto Rican town of Comerio, the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture debuted their latest exhibit “Lo Mejor de Nuestros Pueblos” – A photographic journey through the town of Comerio. The exhibit, which featured numerous awe-inspiring photographs of the landmarks, scenery and people of Comerio, truly captured the essence of the beautiful mountain town.








Claridad Newspaper (September 2010 – December 2010)

On June 1, 2009, Claridad newspaper, the official journal of the Puerto Rican nation, celebrated its 50th anniversary of uninterrupted publication. During the summer of 2010, the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture paid homage to this important milestone with an exciting photographic exhibit featuring pictures that have appeared in the newspaper during its tumultuous history.

“50 Years of Claridad Newspaper” highlighted the importance of Claridad newspaper and its historic role in the struggle for Puerto Rican independence, human and civil rights, social justice, unabashed journalism in defense of workers, the environment, our natural resources and in staunch opposition to militarism, corruption, discrimination and repression.







Photo Gallery: 50 Años de CLARIDAD

RETRO/INTRO/SPECTIVES  (June 2010 – Sept. 2010)

In the summer of 2010, the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture presented the work of former Puerto Rican political prisoner and renown artist Elizam Escobar with an exhibit titled “RETRO/INTRO/SPECTIVES.” The exhibit began from a series of drawings of jail bars transmuting into sculptures, which Escobar did in prison. From there, constructions, mixed media and three-dimensional works emerged. The theme of jail bars and the prison experience are prominent throughout this exhibit and impose an autobiographical and political atmosphere through the symbolism of art as an exchange between the spectators and the work.







Youtube Video: Elizam Escobar / Intro

Uteros (April 2010 – June 2010)

The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture welcomed 2010 with an exciting exhibit from acclaimed Puerto Rican plastic artist, Richard Santiago (b. 1971). Santiago’s work took over both exhibit halls with more than 20 pieces from his new production, “Úteros,” and numerous trajectory pieces including the awe-inspiring “Cristo de Boriken.”

“Úteros” (uterus) is a traveling solo exhibition. Contrasting retrospective work with his most recent, experimental paintings,  this show’s selection of 20-plus pieces explores three interconnected sources of creation / gestation: the human body, art and the universe.







Photo Gallery: Úteros by Richard Santiago

A Tapestry of Identity (January 2010 – April 2010)

In effort to both educate the community on the history and social significance of knitting in Puerto Rico and to honor the Puerto Rican women who made this trade an art form, the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture and the National Conference of Puerto Rican Women hosted “Tejiendo Nuestra Identidad / A Tapestry of Identity,” a stirring exhibit that showcased handwork created by Puerto Rico women in Puerto Rico and Puerto Rican communities across the United States.

The exhibit displayed a beautiful collection of handmade quilts, dresses, dolls and other works of art made by the hands of Puerto Rican women and spanning several generations. Visitors to the exhibit were amazed by the beauty and detail of each piece and the stories of the magnificent women who stitched them.







Photo Gallery: Tejiendo Nuestra Identidad

Romantic Political Affair (January 2010 – April 2010)

On the eve of the most Puerto Rican of holidays, Three Kings Day, the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture (NMPRAC) hosted the opening of a new art exhibit by world renown Puerto Rican artist, Osvaldo Budet.

Through his political art, Osvaldo Budet has truly captured the transformative relationship between figures of authority and the powerless. His art has been exhibited in numerous galleries throughout Puerto Rico, the United States and Europe, where he has received numerous prestigious awards.







Photo Gallery: Political Affair Photo Gallery

A Hero Comes Home: Danny Sotomayor (Dec. 2009)

In the decades that Chicago has grappled with the AIDS pandemic, we have been blessed with a wealth of activists. Standing tall among these luminaries was Humboldt Park’s own Daniel Sotomayor. A Chicago native, from both Puerto Rican and Mexican descent, Sotomayor established himself as the first nationally syndicated, openly gay political cartoonist. A vibrant, angry young man, Sotomayor used his activism and considerable artistic talent to strip away the rhetoric that too often concealed woefully misguided policies.

During his career, Sotomayor created more than 200 cartoons that brought public awareness to the issues of suffering, discrimination and government inaction associated with the AIDS epidemic.  Tragically, Sotomayor lost his battle with AIDS on February 5, 1992. On the 18th anniversary of his death, the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture hosted an opening reception for an exhibit on Sotomayor’s life and work displaying hundreds of his most famous cartoons and showing the rarely seen Sotomayor documentary “Short Fuse: Portrait of an AIDS Activist.”

Photo Gallery: A Hero Comes Home – Danny Sotomayor