HUMBOLDT PARK — Did you know the country's only museum that is entirely focused on Puerto Rican arts and culture is in Humboldt Park?
If your answer was "no," you aren't alone, according to the museum's director, who said one of the biggest challenges is spreading the word not only throughout the city but also to neighborhood residents that the museum exists.
The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture is about to commemorate its opening in what was once a horse stable in the park this month with the 16th edition of the Barrio Arts Fest.
This year's festival will mark the extensive reconstruction of the former Humboldt Park Stables into the museum.
"It's basically a celebration," said Bianca Ortiz Declet, the director of exhibitions and education programming at the museum, 3015 W. Division St. "It's in the heart of Humboldt Park. It's perfect."
The museum was previously known as the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture before undergoing a name change and transformation into a full-blown museum in 2014.
The staff began hosting summer art workshops this year to get neighborhood kids and the community more involved and connected to the museum and Puerto Rican culture.
The Barrio Arts Fest, which is set for Saturday and Sunday will include a tent with Puerto Rican artists and vendors as well as art workshops for families.
The fest will also include food trucks, a classic car show and traditional Bomba dancing and live music.
The museum's art collections will be open during the festival.
The museum building was constructed in 1895 and was originally the Humboldt Park Receptory Building and Stable.
There were house horses, wagons, landscaping tools and the office of noted landscape architect Jens Jensen.
It is the oldest surviving building in Humboldt Park and looks nearly identical to when it was built.
The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991 and became a Chicago Landmark in 2008.
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