Welcome to Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center!

Creating beauty in unlikely places is one of the goals of a unique Chicago charity. On the Near Northwest Side is a center of Puerto Rican life in the city where a forgotten urban space has received a facelift and is ready to inspire in the name of the hero it honors.

Designs 4 Dignity organizes designers and builders for projects that bring beauty to people who often have to do without. The Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center has been an institution in Chicago's Puerto Rican community since 1971.

"If you think about a child or adult who doesn't have art in their life they are sort of living in bondage because art is designed to free the mind and once the mind is free all things are possible," said Luis Bermudez, SRSBCC executive director.

Segundo Ruiz Belvis believed in the true potential of slaves on Spanish-owned islands in the 18th century. He was a Puerto Rican patriot and member of the secret abolitionist society that bought and freed slave children particularly of African descent. Creating a safe place in tough circumstances for the flowering of the human mind is the kind of reform he'd likely have supported.

"We wanted to bring that spirit that hero who fought to free people," Bermudez said. Read the entire article here

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