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Dr. Carmen Febo San Miguel will step down as Taller Puertorriqueño's executive director on Nov. 1, 2021. Photo: Taller Puertorriqueño.
Dr. Carmen Febo San Miguel will step down as Taller Puertorriqueño's executive director on Nov. 1, 2021. Photo: Taller Puertorriqueño.

Dr. Carmen Febo San Miguel to retire from Taller Puertorriqueño having crafted its legacy

The longtime executive director was in charge for 22 years, growing the small community organization into the premier arts and cultural center for Puerto…

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The longtime executive director of Taller Puertorriqueño, Dr. Carmen Febo San Miguel, announced on March 23 that she will be stepping down from her position on Nov. 1, 2021.

It comes 22 years after she took the role and 14 years after becoming the chair of its board of directors.

But to her, Taller has been a part of her life much longer.

“Taller has been central to my life for 36 years,” she said in a press release announcing her retirement.

Back then, Taller was just 11 years into its existence. The organization was founded in 1974 with the goal of being a hub for Philadelphia’s Puerto Rican community that promoted arts and culture.

Throughout its existence, it’s grown into a community center of sorts and focal point of pride for every Latino in the city.

Much of that expansion is credited to the work of Febo.

Under her leadership, the nonprofit expanded the reach of its art programs to city youth through partnerships with the School District of Philadelphia and other local charter schools, developed more off-site collaborations to showcase Taller’s art collection, grew the Fería del Barrio to what it is today, and brought the Puerto Rican and Latino-centered organization in contact with a wider audience via programs run out of the city’s biggest venues like the Kimmel Center, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Barnes, to name a few.

Funding-wise, the once small community organization is now a $1 million operation and Pennsylvania’s biggest Latino arts organization, exemplified by its $11 million El Corazón Cultural Center in the heart of Philly’s Latino community, which opened in 2016.

“It is difficult to imagine Taller without the visionary presence of Carmen Febo San Miguel on an everyday basis,”  said Ellie DiLapi, chair of Taller’s board. “Her impact on Taller, on the Puerto Rican and Latinx community in Philadelphia, and on the region’s arts and culture scene is immeasurable.”

Febo’s retirement isn’t final for another seven months to give the organization’s board time to find a worthy successor.

It has established a search committee to help the process along.

“I prepare for my retirement knowing that Taller has a strong board, committed staff, and wonderful advocates across  the city and state,” said Febo. “I have every confidence in Taller moving forward and I look forward to helping ensure the success of my successor, once selected.”

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