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Internationally recognized artist Manny Vega made a unique visit to Chicago last week to install an original 19-foot mosaic in the courtyard of the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture (IPRAC).  Mosaics are one of Puerto Rico’s most fundamental traditional art forms.  The finished mosaic will be on permanent display at IPRAC.

Vega, known for his public art projects in New York City, constructed the mosaic in his New York studio and shipped the piece to Chicago.  It is constructed of granite, marble and slate tiles.  In the center of the mosaic, is a map of Puerto Rico surrounded by symbolic representations of Puerto Rican life and culture.

“This mosaic is a reflection of all the things that make us who we are – the music, the culture even the nature,” says Vega.  “I am honored to have my work become a part of the rich history of the Chicago Puerto Rican community.”

IPRAC hosted on-site workshops and visits from youth and schoolchildren of the community during the installation.  Students from neighboring Roberto Clemente Community Academy’s Radio/Television Program filmed the installation as part of a documentary about IPRAC and its historic location in the former Humboldt Park Stable.

The Institute of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture (IPRAC) is an arts and educational institution devoted to the promotion, integration and advancement of Puerto Rican arts and culture.  IPRAC has been bringing visual arts and exhibition programming and arts education workshops to the community since 2001 and is nearing the completion of the interior renovation of the historic Humboldt Park Stables.  Once open, IPRAC will be the only museum in the nation dedicated to Puerto Rican arts and culture.  The museum will be home to a permanent collection of works created exclusively by Puerto Rican artists and will offer a year-round exhibition program, an oral histories program, a lecture series, educational workshops, a film series, an annual fine arts and crafts festival, art instruction and performing arts presentations.[/lang_en]