(Chicago, IL) Roberto Clemente Walker (1934-1972) remains a legendary figure in sports and philanthropic worlds as well as in the hearts of millions of Puerto Ricans and Americans.
Famous for his cannon arm and lightning speed, Clemente was celebrated as an outstanding baseball player but this native of Puerto Rico was dedicated to humanitarian work and his legacy extends beyond the diamond. The Puerto Rican Arts Alliance (PRAA) brings to Chicago a Smithsonian exhibit honoring this legendary sports hero and humanitarian to its new cultural center at 3000 North Elbridge in the Logan Square/Avondale community of Chicago. Beyond Baseball: The Life of Roberto Clemente opens to the public April 14th with an opening reception from 6PM to 9PM and will remain on view through Sunday May 29th, 2012. PRAA's gallery hours: Tuesday to Friday: 10AM to 5PM and Saturday & Sunday: 10:30AM to 2PM. Guided School and group tours available by appointment only. For more information or to schedule an exhibit tour call 773-342-8865 or visit our Facebook page or web site www.praachicago.org .
Beyond Baseball was developed by the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico and organized for travel by The Smithsonian Institution. It is complemented by a downloadable bilingual (English and Spanish) podcast and an interactive web sitewww.robertoclemente.si.eduwith a virtual exhibition, children's activities, lesson plans, biographical highlights and historic photographs. In his 18 years with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Clemente earned 12 consecutive Gold Glove Awards, won four batting crowns and amassed 3,000 hits. He was an integral part of the Pirates' World Series victories in 1960 and 1971. Clemente's precise and powerful throwing arm earned him acclaim as "the greatest right fielder of all time" by broadcaster Tim McCarver. He also was honored as the National League MVP in 1966 and elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame posthumouslythe first Latino American to be inducted.
While Clemente rose to stardom with his accomplishments on the field, he never forgot his heritage and the prejudice he faced as a dark-skin Latino. He fought for the recognition of his fellow Latino baseball players; helped people in need across the United States and Central America; and held free baseball clinics for children in his homeland. His charitable work led to the creation of Sports City, an athletic complex in his hometown of Carolina, Puerto Rico, designed to help disadvantaged youth develop athletic skills.
Clemente's life ended tragically in 1972 at age 38 in a plane crash while flying relief supplies to Nicaraguan earthquake victims. In memory of Clemente, the Roberto Clemente Man of the Year Award was established to recognize baseball players who combine outstanding skills on the field with devoted work in the community.
The Puerto Rican Arts Alliance is proud to bring the exhibit Beyond Baseball: The Life of Roberto Clemente to audiences in Chicago and the Midwest. PRAA welcomes the entire community to visit its new space and celebrate the life of Roberto Clemente. FREE admission to the exhibit is made possible by the generous support of The Smithsonian Latino Center, CARIMAR Design, Ford Motor Company Fund and it is brought to Chicago with additional support from Southwest Airlines, MetLife Foundation, Illinois Arts Council, Roberto Clemente High School and City Arts Grants.
The Puerto Rican Arts Alliance is dedicated to the preservation of Puerto Rican arts through the promotion of traditional and contemporary arts expressions and provides educational arts programs to local communities across Chicago. PRAA is proud of completing its capital campaign and the renovation of an abandoned firehouse into a state of the arts facility in the Logan Square/Avondale community of Chicago. During its 15 year history PRAA has provided educational programs at our Humboldt Park location that includes the Studio Arts Program, which offers a complete studio arts curriculum and music classes, including traditional Puerto Rican 'cuatro' guitar and violin lessons and now a year round exhibit program at its new space. PRAA opened its 2012 exhibit program with the exhibit 'Loiza in Chicago' that now tours to Douglas Park and the South Shore Cultural Center later this year. For more information on the exhibit or PRAA's educational programs call 773-342-8865 or visit our Facebook page or web site www.praachicago.org .