Puerto Rican Arts Alliance celebrates 20 years

The Puerto Rican Arts Alliance is celebrating a milestone this year: 20 years of arts education in the Latino community.
Their programs in art and music give kids a chance to learn about their culture hands on.

After school rehearsal at the Latin Music Project are in full swing as students prepare to record their own CD -- an opportunity of a lifetime thanks to the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance.

SOT: Carlos Hernandez - Founder & Executive Director Puerto Rican Arts Alliance

"There are youth, there are children in our community that are yearning for music classes, they're yearning for arts," said Carlos Hernandez, founder and executive director of the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance. "Arts and music is what resonates in this organization. I've seen so many students over the years come through our doors and leave our doors and go into higher education and become professionals."

The Latin Music Project is one of several programs within PRAA that allows kids ages 4 to 18 to learn the music, history and instruments of Latin culture.
"Music from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Brazil and any part of South America. We get kids involved in their own culture by teaching the background of the music, the people who write the music," said José Carrasquillo, music manager for the Latin Music Project.

In the Studio Arts Program, kids age 14-18 now have their work on display at the Chicago Cultural Center. The installation currently on display was done by students over the summer and showcase six paintings significant to Puerto Rican art history and shows a timeline of natural disasters in Puerto Rico over the years.

"The thing that I really believe in is that we need to fill that void. We're providing an arts program that provides skills in the arts and design but also provides some heritage, culture and heritage," said Jorge Felix, the studio arts and exhibition program director.

As the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance grows, they hope to expand these programs while continuing to educate others about Latino culture.

SOT: Carlos Hernandez - Founder & Executive Director Puerto Rican Arts Alliance
"We are growing in a city that is very diverse and equity and inclusivity in the arts is important for the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance," Hernandez said. "We're opening up our centers for other cultures to come in. Those are the kind of things that we see ourselves growing in the next 20 years I think it's going to be fascinating."

Visit the PRAA's website for more information.
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