Cultural expression, neighborhood leadership and socio-political activism are an important part of Humboldt Park's culture and history. Humboldt Park is a place where Puerto Rican artists from all over the country come to live and create their work and a neighborhood that many creative people, of all ages, ethnic and social backgrounds, have chosen to call home.
Throughout turbulent years of social and economic struggle, the arts have played a critical role in the Humboldt Park's transformation, survival and growth. Since the 1960s, the area's residents used art to lay claim to their community: painting murals depicting the history and resistance of the Puerto Rican people and establishing many viable cultural, social, and political organizations to secure the legacy of Humboldt Park.
Flanked by giant steel and pipeline flags, Paseo Boricua—Humboldt Park's cultural and economic heart—spans Division Street between Western Avenue and Mozart Drive. This stretch of Division represents a microcosm of the Puerto Rican historical and cultural experience. Fifty lampposts adorned with wrought iron banners depict imagery of the Puerto Rican diaspora—symbols of Taíno, Spanish and West African heritage. Other examples of the community's well-organized expressions of cultural pride are the 16 placitas along the walkway, La Casita de Don Pedro garden gallery and a variety of annual festivals and parades.
The blocks around Paseo Boricua and the Park itself, are the nucleus of Humboldt Park's Puerto Rican community. West Humboldt Park, stretching as far as Cicero Avenue, is home to the majority of the community's African Americans and other Latinos have settled throughout the neighborhood. Community institutions such as Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation, Youth Service Project, Association House and Near Northwest Neighborhood Network/Humboldt Park Empowerment Partnership (NNNN/HPEP) all serve Humboldt Park and its surrounding neighborhoods.
Humboldt Park is an activist community, rich in visual and performing arts, and home to many organizations that support affordable housing and economic opportunities for residents and artists. Paseo Boricua is indeed a vibrant and dynamic example of the possibilities and promise of Chicago's Puerto Rican community.
A Bandera de Bandera (from Flag to Flag)
Paseo Boricua, Humboldt Park's cultural corridor spans Division Street between Western and California Avenues. Marked by two 59' steel Puerto Rican flags, the promenade is a microcosm of the Puerto Rican community—featuring murals, Spanish colonial façades and "Walk of Fame" plaques.