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Belmont Cragin, Hermosa

Hermosa Cultural Center Goes Virtual: Latin Jazz Show, Teen Art Nights And More Planned

"We are all spending more time at home, so why not dedicate that time to discovering some hidden gems in Chicago?" the cultural center's executive director said.

The group Los Pleneros de Don Segundo was formed in 2016.
Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center
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HERMOSA — Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center is offering virtual performances and workshops.

The Hermosa cultural center at 4048 W. Armitage Ave. has planned web-based events due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Percussionist Joe Rendón and his band are set to perform 7 p.m. Sunday. It will be the third event in a series of performances dedicated to the city’s Latin jazz scene.

The cultural center is also hosting a series of virtual art workshops and performances for teens in partnership with the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

The first Teen Art Tuesday is a drumming class set for 6 p.m. Aug. 18. The class will feature instructor Michael Rodríguez and youths from the cultural center’s Afro-Latin percussion program.

The students of the cultural center’s youth programs are teaming up with Los Pleneros de Don Segundo, a group based in Humboldt Park, for a performance 6 p.m. Aug. 25.

An Afro-Latin performance set for 6 p.m. Sept. 1 will feature young musicians from past and current programs with musical direction by Michael Rodríguez and Adrian Ruiz.

All of the events will be broadcast live on the cultural center’s social media pages.

The cultural center is also teaming up with the Museum of Contemporary Art on a show featuring percussionist Nathan Rodriguez, founder and leader of Conjunto Borikén, a Chicago-based classic salsa band. The show is set for 5:30 p.m. Sept. 22.

Founded in 1971, the Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center’s mission is to “preserve and promote appreciation of the culture and arts of Puerto Rico and Latin America, with a unique emphasis on its African heritage,” according to the center. It was named after Puerto Rican abolitionist Segundo Ruiz Belvis.

The pandemic has hit Chicago’s music venues and cultural institutions hard.

When the center closed, it lost its primary source of revenue and the “future looked very bleak,” said Executive Director Omar Torres-Kortright.

But the cultural center has been able to survive thanks to a loan from the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program, funding from foundations and an influx of donations, Torres-Kortright said.

“We’re always having to reinvent ourselves and finding ways to survive, so in a way we are kind of used to being in [this] situation,” Torres-Kortright said.

The Hermosa cultural center will remain closed to the public for now and will continue to highlight Chicago-based musicians and artists through virtual performances and workshops. Torres-Kortright is planning an outdoor performance for the fall.

“We are all spending more time at home, so why not dedicate that time to discovering some hidden gems in Chicago?” the executive director said.

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