Instituto Cervantes promotes Spanish language, culture

September 22, 2011 2:28:11 PM PDT
Chicago's Instituto Cervantes offers programs dedicated to promoting Spanish culture and language.

In honor of Hispanic Heritage month, ABC 7's Theresa Gutierrez has more on how the institute serves the community, including this week's performance by a Spanish rock star.

Jairo Zavala, the celebrated Spanish singer and musician, veteran member of the Spanish rock scene, performed this week at the Insituto Cervantes. Zavala seamlessly glides from Latin to the afro-beat to flamenco.

"We are trying to present new artists. He is one of the rising stars in Spain. He also mixes Spanish and English. We love it," said Ignacio Olmos, executive director of the Insituto Cervantes.

The Insituto Cervantes, located in the 300-block of W. Ohio, is the largest international Spanish teaching organization.

"We have a curriculum that starts with people who do not know Spanish, to those already proficient in it," said Caliz Gil, academic director of the Instituto Cervantes.

"I have taken Spanish in different schools around the city, and this is by far the best," said Gary Stephens, student at the Instituto Cervantes.

"The reality of the United States is that it is evolving into a bilingual country," said Olmos.

Visitors can spend time in the Instituto's extensive library or take advantage of the multi-media room.

Their current exhibition presents the drawings of 23 artists from various parts of Spain.

"We have culinary workshops in salsa, tango, flamenco courses, and programs for children," said Olmos.

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