top of page

Galería de Arte Infantil, Casa Paoli


What is the Casa Paoli ?

This elegant and stately 19th century building, located in the scenic city of Ponce, Puerto Rico, is the restored residence of the great Puerto Rican tenor Antonio Paoli, "the tenor of kings and the king of tenors"—in his time, an artist admired around the world.


The historic building is part of the cultural heritage of Puerto Rico and is one of the most important places to visit in the southwestern area of the island. It was the birthplace of tenor Antonio Paoli (1871–1946), an artist recognized as the "first Puerto Rican to achieve international recognition in the performing arts" and "one of the most outstanding opera singers of all time." Casa Paoli was the artist's home as a child, and the place where he lived with his family until he was twelve years old.


After its restoration in1987, the building was transformed into a house-museum to honor his memory. It also became the home of the Puerto Rican Center for Folkloric Research.

In 2009, it was accepted into the National Register of Historic Places. The maintenance and restoration of this great site has been the arduous work of a small group of citizens that are proud of the musical and folkloric legacy of their country. They have managed to create an impressive cultural center, home to not only several fascinating exhibitions, workshops and public activities, but also replete with historical archives that have formed the basis of numerous important publications on the life and work of great island artists, and on the island's musical genres and folklore.

Casa Paoli currently houses the Puerto Rican Folkloric Research Center, Inc. [Centro de Investigaciones Folklóricas de Puerto Rico, Inc.] and a regional center of the Puerto Rican Foundation for the Humanities. It is sponsored by the Flamboyán Fund for the Arts.

"The Center has distinguished itself by creating and implementing highly effective innovative projects. Likewise, it has been characterized for the promotion of research and study in neglected or under-served areas, serving as a forum for groups that do not have the support from other institutions. "                                                                                    La Perla del Sur Newspaper  2/6/2013

In focus

Center projects currently underway

Gran pancarta conmemorativa creada para el Centro


Una pancarta educativa de gran tamaño conmemorando el sesquicentenario (150 años) de la abolición de la esclavitud en Puerto Rico ha sido creada por la reconocida artista visual nyuyorquina Perla de Leon para el Centro, obra que se instalará sobre una pared a la vista de una de las calles principales de la ciudad de Ponce, Puerto Rico.

La pancarta muestra para los transeúntes de la ciudad, una lista de las fechas más importantes en la historia de la esclavitud y su abolición en Puerto Rico, junto a antiguos documentos importantes relacionados con la esclavitud y caras de veinte destacados puertorriqueños afrodescendientes.


Click on each topic to receive more information

  1. The African heritage in Puerto Rico: Seminars and virtual conferences in March 

  2. Presentation and distribution of a new method of Jazz theory for the cuatroPuerto Rican

  3. Establishment of a commission to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the abolition of slavery in Puerto Rico 

  4. Project Rescued from Oblivion: recreating missing Caribbean musical instruments.

  5. Establishment of an online store of the Center's publications

  6. Establishment of a manual workshop in May for the assembly of a Puerto Rican tiple at the Center

  7. Preparation of an electronic book of essays on different aspects of the music and musical instruments of Puerto Rico

  8. Diffusion of our new video documentary of the history of the Puerto Rican tiple

  9. Diffusion of our new documentary: a video-manual on the construction of a Puerto Rican tiple instrument

Virtual seminars in March

La Herencia Africana en Puerto Rico - Hoja Suelta Actividad copy (8).jpg

NEXT SEMINAR: Saturday March 11

Carrying Puerto Rican folk tales
into the classroom

By Dr. Julia Cristina Ortiz Lugo.  See itHERE


During the 21st century there has been a reassessment of the importance of oral traditions and folklore as a means to reflect on and learn from visions and perceptions in the different tasks of peoples. Thus, for example, a lot of attention has been paid to traditional knowledge regarding the environment, to the practices, ideas and thoughts of the original groups that allow the development of their own philosophy and not from the exclusive European perspective. In the same way, folkloric texts have been used in the classroom to broaden the diversity of topics and approaches related, for example, to writing, reading and speaking, as well as to the teaching of social studies, ethics, ecology, mathematics and research.

     Based on these experiences— and that we now have a book in our country that incorporates and promotes the use of Puerto Rican folk tales in the classroom—we propose two hour and a half seminars that aim to familiarize the teacher and the interested public in general with materials from oral literature, with an emphasis on the Afro-Puerto Rican short story. In these meetings, it will be shown how these texts can be used to work towards reading comprehension that incorporates reading levels beyond the literal, that is, analytical and critical phases in which students usually have the greatest problems.

Jazz cuato



Book 1: Theory and melody / Diagram and staff for the Puerto Rican Cuatro


A 290 page instructional book demonstrating Western musical notation applied to the fingerboard of the cuatro. This book is divided into several sections that stand on their own, allowing the student a personal study sequence.

     Begins with a quick but easy-to-follow music theory section, using the piano keyboard as a reference. This is a rewarding study in itself.

     The section on major and minor progressions gives the student an easy way to learn the necessary IV progression in different keys the use of arpeggios or open chords in tablature notation. The chord section contains over 200 charts of major, minor, sharp, and seventh chords, plus an introduction to the 2-5-1 progression from the world of Jazz. 

     The section of melodies and songs is written in the form of tablature with rhythmic notation. The melodies are an introduction to the traditional seises and aguinaldos. The songs are mostly “danzas”, the classic Puerto Rican dance.


Book 2: musical chord scales

for the Puerto Rican Cuatro

A study of six major and minor keys using basic chord progressions that repeat on the fingerboard as a starting point. The study of each individual scale contains a horizontal graph representing the fretboard with the seven notes of the scale superimposed on its frets.


Book 3: jazz chords

for the Puerto Rican cuatro

A study of extended Jazz chords applied to the cuatro fingerboard using the 2-5-1 chord progression.

An understanding of the major components of Jazz music such as modulations, substitutions, and chord movements.


In progress

Commission commemorative

of the Sesquicentennial of

the Abolition of Slavery 

In Puerto Rico


The Casa Paoli of the Center for Folkloric Research of Puerto Rico, Inc. has brought together a group of leaders, artists, musicians, humanists and scholars in a Commemorative Commission-Casa Paoli-of the Sesqui-centennial of the Abolition of Slavery in Puerto Rico (1873-2023).

It is very fair to remember that Ponce was one of the few cities in the Caribbean that with municipal funds built an Abolition Plaza or Park, and by popular subscription raised a monument to his memory, which is still located and visible in two of the main streets of the historic center of the City.
     The Commission has created a work plan that includes talks, concerts, seminars, exhibitions, publications, contributions from Puerto Ricans of African descent to the arts, education, the economy, historical research, cinema, radio, television, politics, literature, and other fields of knowledge. It is expected that other public and private institutions will also join this new initiative of Casa Paoli. 

Screen Shot 2022-03-23 at 4.30.36 PM.png

     The country needs, today more than ever, to know and recognize the great contributions of Africans who are forced to reach our Playas joined the living forces of our country and by dint of their sweat and blood, they offered their lives to our people. People of African descent continue to contribute to the material and spiritual development of Puerto Rico. We are sure that in March of this year and in the next year, the whole country will commemorate with pride and dignity the 150th anniversary of the Abolition of Slavery.     During this coming month of March the activities of the Commission will begin with three talks, sponsored by the Puerto Rican Foundation Humanities, the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, the Flamboyán Fund for the Arts and the Society of Friends of the Center-Casa Paoli, on the historical contribution of people of African descent, in Puerto Rico and in the so-called diaspora, by three important humanists:

HEAR OUR DIRECTOR explain the reasons for the creation of the commission during a recent radio interview on WPAB Radio 550 Ponce

In progress

Rescued from Oblivion

The Puerto Rican Folkloric Research Center is sponsoring a new and valuable initiative, led by Dr. Noraliz Ruiz; senior craftsman William R. Cumpiano, and museologist Norman Storer-Corrada. The project, named Rescate from Oblivion, is an effort to bring to public view the traditional musical instruments of the past that have disappeared from public sight and memory. The group has dedicated itself to discovering and creating replicas of lost and forgotten instruments once heard in many of the fields and cities, of Puerto Rico, including tiples, four-string old cuatros, bordonúas, and vihuelas—a full array of stringed instrument, of which the cuatro is the only survivor. The group is also undertaking an effort to recreate the music and playing techniques of these instruments.

Musicos nativos circa 1899 Ponce Beckwith 2.jpg

150 years of the tenor Antonio Paoli


Under the auspices of the Puerto Rican Endowment for the Humanities and the Flamboyán Fund for the Arts, the Center organized a tribute concert in observance of the sesquicentennial of the birth of the site's early residente, the celebrated tenor Antonio Paoli. The event called 150 years of the tenor Antonio Paoli, was recorded on Saturday, March 6, 2021 in the Jesús María Sanromá Room of the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music.  Click here to enjoy a video of the entire event and  here to see more photos and details of the event.

cinemas, videos, Documentaries By the Center
and by others

Screen Shot 2021-01-19 at 3.37.01 PM.png

Our Center has sponsored several videographic projects around Puerto Rican arts and crafts. Go to the Cinema page to enjoy CIFPR's collection of documentaries and videographic productions by selected Puerto Rican filmmakers, as well as documentaries that have been produced by the CIFPR.


Elsa Escabi.jpg

The Executive Director, Prof. Néstor Murray Irizarry and the Board of Directors of Casa Paoli / Centro de Investigaciones Folklóricas de Puerto Rico express their sincere condolences to the person who was Elsa Escabí Agostini (1923-2020) in life. She was a great collaborator in the projects of the Social Research Center of the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus and the Puerto Rico Folkloric Research Center, together with her brother Pedro Escabí Agostini.

Upcoming Workshops

Taller WRC para las Artes logo HORIZ.jpg

Since its founding, the Center has been dedicated to researching, enriching and disseminating Puerto Rican cultural values. The sheer number of events and editions carried out by the Center bear this out. One of our most important objectives is to raise awareness and provide our youths and adults with the opportunity to learn to build the traditional instruments of our country. Currently, the Center organizes the William Cumpiano Workshop at the facilities of our headquarters in Ponce; where with the support of the Flamboyán Fund for the Arts, workshops will be offered, in face-to-face or virtual form, in instrument-making, screen printing and engraving on wood and linoleum.

A GIFT from the CIFPR:
life and work of the great muralist Rafael Ríos Rey


In 2015 the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture (ICP) dedicated one of its great town festivals (known as La Campechada)  to the prominent Puerto Rican muralist Rafael Ríos Rey (Ponce, 1911-San Juan, 1980) As part of the works related to La Campechada the consulting services of Néstor Murray-Irizarry and graphic artist Verónica Prats were retained. One of the tasks assigned to Murray and Prats was to program two instructional modules on the life and work of Ríos Rey. Dr. Hilda Quintana also worked as a consultant on this project.

With thanks to the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, for the first time we can present the two modules to the public that were produced with much commitment and affection for the enrichment of our people and our national culture

Antonio Paoli and Family

Paoli 1.png

Casa Paoli, the headquarters of the Centro de Investigaciones Folklóricas de Puerto Rico, Inc., is a historic building that is part of the Historic Zone of Ponce. It is the place where Antonio Paoli (1871-1946) was born and lived until the age of twelve; the great tenor who was "the first Puerto Rican to achieve international recognition in the performing arts" and "one of the most outstanding opera singers of all time." View out page dedicated to Antonio Paoli by clicking on his image above.

read here: the report of the commission for cultural development

Screen Shot 2021-10-05 at 5.23.58 PM.png

The most comprehensive and important study that has been done to date to promote citizen participation in a new Puerto Rican cultural policy for the 21st century.

bottom of page