Celebrating their 2nd annual Raices: A Celebration of Our Roots gala on Sept. 24, The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture (NMPRAC) pulled out all the stops. The atmosphere was electrifying, full of Trio music, Bomba and Plena, salsa dancers, and a fashion show. The night was capped off with one of the best salsa bands in Chicago. A list of who’s who was present and enjoyed some of the best Caribbean food this side of Puerto Rico, coffee and quesitos. This was the backdrop for what proved to be a memorable evening celebrating our vibrant culture.
If that wasn’t enough, Ana Belaval from WGN’s Around Town set the stage for the presentation of the first ever National Puerto Rican Awards called THE CEIBA. Celebrating his birthday, the first recipient had the original vision to create a museum out of a dilapidated horse stables building, world-renowned artist Oscar Luis Martinez. NMPRAC also opened his long awaited long awaited exhibit, “Metamorphosis of Divine Entanglement”.
The second Ceiba Award recipient flew in from Puerto Rico to receive his award, “El Caballero de la Salsa”, Gilberto Santa Rosa. Gilberto humbled by the award, surprised the audience when he did an acapella rendition of “Mi Viejo San Juan”. The Ceiba award will be given out annually to individuals who have demonstrated their deep roots in preserving Puerto Rican arts and culture. The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture is open Tuesday- Friday 10am-4pm and Saturday 10am-1pm. Information: 773.486.8345, www.nmprac.org
Photos Credit: Imelda Valencia. 2015 Ceiba Award Recipients: Oscar Luis Martinez and Gilberto Santa Rosa