After years of planning and fundraising Taller Puertorriqueño’s new El Corazón Cultural Center opened in December, 2016. The beautiful state of the art 25,000 square foot building which occupies half of a city block was designed as a multifunctional space around a central indoor patio. A parking lot with 86 spaces sits adjacent.
A dream of the Executive Director Carmen Febo San Miguel, she has worked relentlessly for the past decade to locate a suitable space, to raise the necessary funds, and to work with a vast number of constituencies to bring this facility into reality.
The Center serves about 20,000 people annually and sits in the heart of Philadelphia’s Latino neighborhood that has grown from 9% to 13% of the City’s population (approximately 200,000). It includes classrooms, an art gallery, a multipurpose theater that seats 200, dance studio, a garden, large rooms that can be divided, a commercial grade kitchen, offices (for the staff and for rent), gift shop, terrace and a café serving Puerto Rican cuisine.
Like the zocalos of Mexico and the town squares of Puerto Rico, the Center is a place where organizations and individuals host meetings and celebrations, enjoy exhibits, lectures and performances, and meet friends. Education has always been a priority with Taller so there are several classrooms for after school programs, workshops and summer camp.
The Center’s capacity doubles the number of tours, triples the number of young participants, quadruples the number of events and increases the audience into the tens of thousands.
The Connelly Foundation has been supportive of Taller giving a $200,000 grant toward the El Corazón Cultural Center and $231,000 in 12 grants over the past decade to their cultural educational programming.