We are celebrating 21 years! The Puerto Rican Cultural Center is the
only center in Texas and the Southwest affiliated with the
Institute of Puerto Rican Culture (ICP) for ongoing programming that
could not otherwise be experienced in this region.
Founded in 1997 by Taino blood-descendant
Dr. Ana María Tekina-eirú Maynard,
the mission of our nonprofit 501(c)(3) is to promote cultural
awareness and pride through educational programs and events
based in folklore, history and traditions -- dance, music, community
theatre, and indigenous Taino traditions. Our center brings a focal
point to Austin for heritage programs whose achievement and
quality have been validated by repeat support (since 2001) from the
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Texas Commission on the Arts,
City of Austin Cultural Arts Division, NEA Chairman's Award (2007),
and Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities (since 2011).
In 2018, we received an award from Bloomberg Philanthropies that is growing
our capacity in Arts Innovation and Management.
Our multipurpose facility in East Austin is home to Puerto Rican
Folkloric Dance (PRFDance), our performing company of dancers,
musicians, and juniors who perform throughout the year. We serve the
community with 12 weekly performing arts programs, ongoing cultural
events, and opportunities to learn Taino heritage. Our
programs are open to all who wish to experience the joy of our people.
We welcome those whose access to cultural programming is limited by
economics. In 2005 the ICP named us Puerto Rico’s Ambassadors in
Texas and the Southwest giving us visibility
as a world-class center handing down Puerto Rican
traditions to a new generation.
Enjoy our video slideshow below!
Puerto Rico has a rich heritage based in native Taino, Spanish, and West African roots.
Trained by Island Masters,
our cultural center is a focal point in the Southwest for
Puerto Rico's vibrant culture and traditions.
We are the only center on the Mainland with expertise to
authentically teach and present the cross-section of Puerto Rico's cultural
heritage -- Afro-Boricua (Bomba, Plena), Mountain (Jibaro), Salon (Danza), and
Taino music and dance (Areyto).
We spiral Puerto Rico's history with cultural arts to offer programs
in folkloric music and dance, percussion, community theatre, and Taino heritage.
Our programs include both informal performances and mainstage productions
that give students of all ages an opportunity to participate --
preschool through professional adults.
We provide annual training and performance opportunities with Puerto Rican masters.
We bring special workshops to local schools with significant at-risk populations,
including K-12 and colleges.
Our original bilingual plays based in oral history
honor unsung heroes and bring to light forgotten elements in Puerto Rican heritage.
Featuring live music, dance and community theatre, our musicals
give opportunity for beginners to perform with professional actors, and
seasoned professionals a platform to develop multidisciplinary skills.
Our cultural center is a sanctuary for the rapidly growing Puerto Rican community
in Central Texas; in the spirit of our welcoming culture, we adopt anyone who wants to join!
Our multipurpose facility makes it possible to expand our outreach and
grow community through the sharing of well-loved traditions
including interactive picnics with live folkloric music and
dance; celebrations of relevant holidays (Octavitas with the Reyes Mago);
workshops to pass-on childhood games (trompos/tops)
and ancestral sports (Taino Batu ballgame), and more!
We are sharing Taino heritage passed on through oral teachings including
history, language, craftwork, eco-friendly living,
nature-connections for healthy mind, body, and spirit, and Taino music and dance.
Each Fall we bring our Elders El Concilio Taino Guatu Ma-cu A Boriken
to Austin to give our community direct access to the source of this knowledge.
Our History & Accomplishments
Founded in 1997 with a single dance class, PRFDance has
to become a world-class
cultural center dedicated to Puerto Rican heritage and traditions.
Since 1997, PRFDance has produced artistically acclaimed programming,
including our annual Celebrando Salsa & Heritage Festival ($25K/year)
featuring performances by Masters of Puerto Rican folklore,
handcraft artisans, comida criolla, and dancing for all. Our three-dancer company which debuted in 1998
is now a 20-member, multi-generational company of dancers, musicians, and juniors.
Our founding adult-dance class added youth programs in 2001, and
today offers 12 weekly classes to students and professionals in
folkloric dance and music, community theatre, and indigenous Taino traditions.
In 2004 we debuted our first original musical for Community Theatre.
Featuring live music and dance, our annual plays share oral history from Island elders
who remember an undocumented past.
In operation since 2006, our multipurpose facility gives us a
platform to experiment and grow unique cultural programming.
Located in East Austin,
it includes indoor and outdoor areas where free, near-monthly
cultural events attract tourism and give a resource-limited
community opportunity to participate in living traditions.
Today, there are more Puerto Ricans living on the Mainland than the Island.
Texas is in the top three States experiencing the fastest
growth in Puerto Rican population.
In collaboration since 2001 with the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, our formal
affiliation in 2005
makes us official representatives of our Island's cultural heritage in our community.
Our visibility on the world-wide-web has made us an information resource for
Puerto Ricans travelling or moving to Central Texas.
People are choosing to move to Austin to be near our hard-to-find cultural programs.
Students drive upto 2 hours (one-way) to participate in our weekly programs.
You have to travel to Chicago or New York City to enjoy another cultural center like ours!
We welcome everyone -- regardless of age, ethnicity, disability, economic or
We especially target the traditionally underserved whose access to the arts
is limited by economics.
Our demographics include 85% Hispanic (various countries), 5% American Indian,
5% African-American, and 5% White.
We are located in Central Texas where 83% of Puerto Ricans in Texas live [2010 Census].
Thanks to our internet presence, cultural tourism to our events is significant:
40% of our events-audience comes from Texas cities beyond Austin
(Dallas to Brownsville), out of state (Oklahoma, Florida), and even Puerto Rico.
Active since 1997, our website is Google top-ranked and serves visitors with educational resources.
Through Facebook (12,000 subscribers across
our director's and business page) we engage a virtual community in daily conversations
that entertain, educate and instill cultural pride.
Our cultural center is building community through arts, bringing together all
ages like an extended family.
We welcome all who want to be part of a community bonded together by joyful heritage.
Through our programs people are discovering the healing power of music and dance.
It takes a village to raise a child; we live that proverb by mentoring students and
encouraging family-unity through shared performance experiences.
We are an oasis where old-world values are alive -- community elders are
encouraged to participate, share their wisdom and pass on knowledge of traditional arts as they remember it.
Our volunteers develop real-world skills in leadership, teaching,
business administration, marketing, and computer-based business applications.
Youth have access to
positive role models and develop advanced skills through company apprenticeship,
student-teaching, and program leadership. Thanks to Puerto Rico's rainbow of ethnic
diversity -- Hispanic, Taino, and Afro-Puerto Rican -- youth experience
personal pride through self-identity.
Music and dance are a very important part of Puerto Rican culture.
The Institute of Puerto Rican Culture has named us Puerto Rico's Ambassadors
in Texas and the Southwest. We are proud to share our rich traditions
with the community, and hand down our heritage to the next generation!