From the Archives: Chicano cultural center opens in 1971 in Balboa Park

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Fifty years ago, the Chicano Cultural Center’s Centro Cultural de la Raza opened on July 11, 1971 in a modified water tank in Pepper Grove, Balboa Park.

From the San Diego Union, July 12, 1971:

Chicano Cultural Center opens

500 fascinated by the Balboa Park festival

Susan Haringer

Colorful dance to authentic Mexican music and yesterday’s art exhibition highlighted the opening of the Chicano Cultural Center in Balboa Park.

The event was sponsored by the Chicano artist group Tortecas en Aztlan, which was attended by about 500 people throughout the afternoon.

Guillermorelanda, chairman of the artist group and master of the ceremony, said the citizens of the crowd should be proud of the new center. It’s in an 80-foot-diameter water tank borrowed from the city.

‘A lot of work’

“When I hear people say,’Is this all they have?’ I want you to know that it took a lot of effort.”

Aranda, 28, a student at San Diego State University, worked with the Chicano Federation for three years to acquire the center.

e said it was the only known Chicano center in the country housed in urban facilities.

“This isn’t just for fun,” Aranda said. “It’s for awareness.”

San Diego Union, July 12, 1971, pp. B-5.

(San Diego Union)

Mexican food too

However, participants and spectators seemed to be delighted by dancing and singing outside the building and drawing more than 50 paintings and paintings inside the building. Mexican food was served.

The program consisted of a type of cultural activity planned at the center, officially known as Centro Cultural de la Raza. Included a Mexican combo with poetry reading, ballet folk lolicoen aztran, drums, guitar and castanets.

Mrs. Delia Moreno of San Diego sang and played the guitar with her two daughters, Chika (15) and Maria (16).

Beaded dress

They sang Ya Llegaron las Toltecas (The Toltecs Have Come) and wore bright red, yellow and blue sequins and beaded dresses sewn by Mrs. Moreno. The Toltec Empire is a member of the people of Nawatran in central and southern Mexico.

Mrs. Moreno will be a volunteer teacher of music and beadwork this summer. Her daughters help her.

“The center has a very bright future,” said Mrs. Moreno. Many Mexican-American artists are helping you. “

Mrs. Moreno also said she would work with Tijuana and San Diego musicians to get more instruments for the center.

Most volunteers

The center is run on a skeleton budget and the 12 staff are mostly volunteers.

Aranda and another director will be paid $ 800 per month from the San Diego Recreation and Parks division during the summer.

When the water tank turned into a center earlier this year, the city spent $ 19,880 and continued to pay for water and electricity.

The group pays the city $ 1 a year and receives limited funding from the United Community Services and Economic Opportunities Commission.

Arnanda said he hopes Toltecas en Aztlan will get more city, county and state funding.

Within a year, Aranda said activities such as music, dance, arts and crafts, graphics, sculpture and kitchen workshops will begin in earnest. A nursery school is also proposed.

“Within five years, we expect to have our own building,” Aranda said.

The tank looks spartan, but the paintings made it brighter.

CANVAS MURAL

Mario Asevedo, 24, talked about the 7 x 12-foot canvas mural “Birth.”

“It’s about culture,” said a student at San Diego State University.

Like many of the Center’s works of art, he said the murals mean “La Raza” or the Chicano movement.

His oil paintings included a machete and a man with two eagles, who devoured the Incas in Peru and the rattle snake, a symbol of Mexican Aztec culture.

The paintings have been donated by Mexican-American artists of all ages and are not for sale.

According to Aranda, the center will eventually sell paintings and handicrafts.

The artist also plans to paint the interior of the tank with a mural of Mexican culture in San Diego.

From the Archives: Chicano cultural center opens in 1971 in Balboa Park Source link From the Archives: Chicano cultural center opens in 1971 in Balboa Park

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