This amazing project was inspired and guided by the late George Ramirez, President and principal patron for BSPA for over 17 years. He entirely guided this opportunity for Brownsville children where none would otherwise exist. This effort involved the rehabilitation of the Historic Stegman Building and its conversion into the Brownsville George Ramirez Performing Arts Academy. Built in 1912, the building is centrally located in the Buena Vida Neighborhood within Brownsville's
Historic Downtown District, one of the most economically disadvantaged inner-urban areas in the nation. As a registered landmark, architectural plans for its restoration required extensive review by the State of Texas Historical Commission that mandated the use of specialized trades, salvaging and re-purposing of original construction materials, streetscape preservation and an accurate restoration of its iconic brick façade. Work began in the summer of 2015 and was completed in 2019.
The Brownsville Society for the Performing Arts is grateful to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), the UTRGV School of Music, Allegro Ballet and, most especially, Hilda Ledesma (who guides the efforts of ROCA benefiting our community through the arts) and the BGRPAA staff for working with incredible grace and commitment creating the proverbial opportunity of a lifetime for children in our community. The effect this project will have on our Historic Downtown District, the greatest value is certain to be the lifelong benefits it will bring to our most underserved kids. Stay tuned for news of the first ever Brownsville Youth Orchestra. That will be a priceless and history-making event!