Rhode Island
Profile Type: Artist
NEFA Grant Recipient
Lydia Perez and Yoruba 2

Lydia Pérez has spent the last thirty years as a performer and cultural educator /activist in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. She has been recognized as a community asset. Her work has been highly sought by cultural organizations and school departments in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Lydia became involved in her profession because she saw the necessity to educate second youth generation and developed a way to help them identify themselves in Puerto Rican communities in Rhode Island. The highlight of her career was educating her husband and daughters on Caribbean music and her traditions, and establish with them, Yoruba2 as a traditional family "BOMBA" group. Her group is composed by her husband Wendell Rivera, and her daughters Yidell and Dorothy Rivera. Lydia added more Professional musician in her group. YORUBA 2, an award-winning, nationally renowned traditional music and dance group from Puerto Rico. The group is known for playing genres of music such as "bomba"," plena", and other Caribbean rhythms.

She offers solo and residency classes and workshops, along with ensemble groups in school programs as part of integration arts academic development fostering 21st century leaders. They are inspiring audiences to reconnect with their roots. Among the Oral History of Rhode Island, "Nuestras Raices", the author said: "Lydia Pérez is a pioneer, the first to bring Afro-Caribbean music and Puerto Rican Culture to local attention". With her continued motivation,

Lydia established the Puerto Rican Institute for the Arts and Advocacy, Inc. (PRIAA), a Cultural nonprofit Organization in Rhode Island in 1994. Under her direction and creative mind she established the Caribbean Arts program in which engages children, youths, parents and the community in Caribbean culture; bringing rhythms, dance, masks, artists, artisan, workshops, and exhibitions to the community.

The Caribbean Arts program works an intense touring schedule with PTA school, through the Art in education, and with a Social studies curriculum programs of the Hartford Public School District through the Hartford Performs organization,

As a Founder and Executive Director of the (PRIAA), Lydia has an extensive record of promoting activities that increase cross-cultural understanding, cultural awareness and the self-esteem of both children and adults. PRIAA has received 2014- Investments in Arts and Culture Award from Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and from Rhode Island Foundation the 2007 Award of Economic and Community Development. The Puerto Rican Institute for the Arts and Advocacy, Inc.,  is a proud members of National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC), the nation’s leading nonprofit organization exclusively dedicated to the promotion, advancement, development, and cultivation of Latino arts.

Lydia is an artisan who has been making masks and Puerto Rican wood carving. She creates wonderful Caribbean folklore masks and charismatic character heads and incorporates them in her professional performances and in her role as a teaching artist in New England. She has been presenting exhibits of her masks and wood carving in University and Gallery.

As a Traditional Artist, She received the 1998 and 2010 Runner up fellowship from Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA), ). She is also alumni of Expansion Arts-1999, directed by RI Humanities and sponsored by RI Foundation and Rhode Island State Council on the arts; the 2000 Fellowship award from RISCA, the 2000 RI Foundation Fellowship award and the 2000 Award of RI Humanities

At a national level, Lydia represented New England in the Southern Arts Federation and received the American Tradition Award in 1999 and 2000, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts with the Traditional Artists Program. Attended leadership Institutes and Conferences: 2017 - John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Artist as Educators Seminar 2015 National Association of Latino Arts and Culture (NALAC). 2014 NEFA Folk and Traditional Artist 2014 NALAC IN PROVIDENCE 2013 NALAC ART TALKS, The Bronx Teatro Pregones 2013 The Arts of Place Making Conference 2012 Hartford Performs, Teaching Conference 2010 -2012 Exploration the Puerto Rican Culture, PR Institute in Springfield, MA 2009 The United States Conference of Mayor 2010 and 2007- Teaching Artist Institute 2007 The best initiative, Youth Worker Certificate Project 2006-2007 Institute for Community Research 2005 National Puerto Rican Coalition, Inc., Policy Conference 2004 National Hispanic Leadership Summit 2004 Opportunities Conference, 2004, Asian Pacific and Hispanic American, Building on American's Promise 2003 Opportunities Conferences 2003, Asian Pacific and Hispanic American, Building on American's Promise. (Congressional Nominee) 2001 Congreso Bacardi 2000 Southern Arts Exchange 1999 National Puerto Rican Coalition, Inc , Encuentro entre Familia Annual Policy She is an artistic associate with Teatro Vida in Springfield, MA, and a provider of Caribbean Arts in Hartford Performs, Connecticut.

Additional Links: 
by Lydia Perez and Yidell Rivera ) Mother & Daugther

I Have Worked With


  • NEFA Grantee
  • Artist

Contact Information

First Name: 
Job Title/Position: 
Founder and Director
Physical Address: 
Warwick, RI 02888
Last Name: 


Profile Type: 
Primary Discipline: 
Additional Disciplines: 
Dance - General
Dance - Folk
Dance - Traditional
Humanities - History
Music - Folk
Music - Traditional
Visual/Crafts - Paper
Visual/Crafts - Wood / Bark
Year Founded: 
Populations Served: 
School Groups
Languages Available: 
Institution/Business Type: 
Performing Groups
Activities and Services: 
Arts for Social Change / Creative Activism
Arts Instruction / Lessons
Performance / Concert / Reading
Preservation / Conservation
Public Art Projects (In Free, Public Spaces)
Residency - In School
Workshops / Demonstrations / Master Class
Events Per Year: 
Seasons Active: 
Geographic Reach: 
Multi-State Region

Affiliations and Accomplishments

Professional Associations: 
RI Council on the Arts Fellow
RI Foundation Fellow
RI Teaching Artists Center (RITAC)
Associate Artitic of Teatro Vida-2010
Cambridge Who's Who-2009
Inter-American University
2014- Diversity Champion Ethnic Business Awards
2010 RISCA Runner Up Fellowship in Traditional Arts
2007-Extraordinary Woman Award
2002 Traditional Artist Award from Woonsocket Community
2002 Individual Artists from the people of Blackstone Valley Cultural Committee, Central Falls
2001 Individual Artist Award from the International Gallery for Heritage and Culture
2000 Rhode Island Foundation Fellowship
2000 American Tradition Award, National Tourism, Southern Arts Federation
2000 RISCA Fellowship in Traditional Arts
1999 American Tradition Award, National Tourism, Southern Arts Federation
1998 RISCA Runner Up Fellowship in Traditional Arts
I am a NEFA Grant Recipient
I am on the following State Arts Agency Roster(s): 
Rhode Island Education Roster

I am a Touring Artist

I am NEST eligible
Technical Requirements: 
Good auditorium or Gym spaces for performance
Good Sound equipment
Classroom for workshop
four chairs
Fee Range Minimum: 
Fee Range Maximum: 
State of Residence: 
Rhode Island
Minimum Number of Performers: 
Maximum Number of Performers: 

I am a Teaching Artist

Teaching Settings: 
Afterschool Program
Arts and Cultural Center / Venue
Community Site / Center
Corporate Business
Healthcare Facility
Private Studio
School / University
Subject Areas: 
Arts Integration - Foreign Languages
Arts Integration - History and Social Science
Ages Served: 
Elementary School-age
Middle School-age
High School-age
Fee Range Minimum: 
Fee Range Maximum: