LACASA Chicago: The Chicago Latino/Latina Cultural Activities and Studies Arena: Our Purpose.
LACASA Chicago Books seeks to develop, support, and promote books and related activities
centered on U.S. and above all Chicago Latino creative writing, art, history, and culture, even as it continues
to encourage work from, on or related to Central America, Latin America, the Caribbean, and beyond.
Gamaliel Ramírez, one of the first Chicago Ricans who devoted his life to art, produced a great body of mural and studio work throughout the city. A self-taught artist, Gamaliel developed techniques he drew from cubism and surrealism to create images portraying the culture and social situation of Puerto Ricans, Latinos and minorities in general. With poet David Hernández Salima Rivera and others, Gamaliel co-founded the Association of the Latin Brotherhood of Artists (ALBA) in 1974, and later went on to develop Taller as a larger group focused on Latino cultural group, of which he served as Director for some twelve years.
With funds from the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) and the Rockefeller Foundation, Marc Zimmerman commissioned Gamaliel to develop an image of Latino Chicago which appeared on the cover LASA’s program publication for their 1998 conference in Chicago. That painting became emblematic of LACASA Chicago in the days following the LASA meeting. It has served ever since as LACASA’s official image.