Raices is a nonprofit Latino arts and culture organization that seeks to support, promote, and increase public awareness of the richness, beauty, and diversity of Latin American cultures and their roots through performing and visual arts, and dynamic educational programs. Raíces’ goals are to give voice to those who are often not heard within our society, to challenge stereotypes and to empower, stimulate and inspire individuals and communities to explore diverse cultures and seek common ground.
Raíces was founded in 1991 as a coalition of Latin American folkloric dancers and musicians who found that by joining together, they had a stronger presence in the arts scene in Philadelphia. Headed by founder Michael Esposito and then executive director, Yolanda Alcorta, the organization took shape as they began giving cultural performances in Philadelphia and the tri-state area, and hosting festivals such as the Festival de Sevilla and co-hosting the annual Feria del Barrio. In 2006, Raíces headquarters at 2757 N. 5th Street was adorned with a two-story, wall-to-wall mural depicting Latin American culture.
During the summer of 2011, Raíces relocated to 1417 N. 2nd Street, in what is known as the Crane Arts Old School building in a shared facility project with Casa de Venezuela, Inc. In addition to our office space, we have a beautiful dance studio with wooden floors and full-length mirrors that is used by community artists and instructors seeking to promote Latin American art and culture.
Currently, Raíces showcases artists at private and public locations in the area representing many regions of Latin America, along with Spanish and African regions that have been influential in Latin American cultures. In addition to music and dance performances, we also offer music and dance classes, weekly jam sessions, a Tertulia every other month, special workshops tailored to groups of young people and adults, and a community mural project in our neighborhood of South Kensington.