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Latino cultural center in downtown Phoenix aims for fall opening

[Source: Jenna Davis, Arizona Republic] — The new Latino cultural center that [the Phoenix City Council] approved for downtown may open in November.  Advocates for Latin@ Arts & Culture Consortium Inc. will have access to a city-owned building beginning Aug. 1 and will then have 120 days to prepare the new facility.  Ruben Hernandez, a spokesman for the group, said organizers hope to have a soft opening on Sept. 15 to coincide with the eve of Mexican Independence Day, but it might be November or December before the 7,200-square-foot facility is ready for visitors. 

The cultural center has been the focus of a consortium of Latino arts groups that said it realized that in a city of 1.5 million people, 40 percent of whom are of Hispanic decent, a Latino cultural center was needed.  The building previously housed the Museo Chicano, 147 E. Adams St., which closed in January.  [Note: Read the full article at Latino cultural center in downtown Phoenix aims for fall opening]

Group seeks funds for downtown Phoenix Latino cultural center

[Source: Jahna Berry, Arizona Republic] — A consortium of Latino arts groups has taken several early steps to bring a small Latino cultural center to downtown Phoenix.  That includes a kickoff fundraiser tonight that will help the group raise money for that center and lay the groundwork for a $10 million Phoenix facility they want to build years down the road. But Advocates for Latin@ Arts & Culture Consortium, Inc. may have to postpone its plans to open that temporary center in the fall.

The group has key fund-raising and bureaucratic hurdles to clear before that space could open its doors:

  • The group has yet to secure a $25,000 loan that would provide the initial money for the temporary cultural center.
  • The consortium has had early discussions with Phoenix officials about leasing the city-owned space that used to house the Museo Chicano, a small museum that closed in January.  But the group needs to submit a detailed proposal and a business plan, said Kathy Wenger, a deputy director at the Phoenix Convention Center, which manages the lease for that storefront.
  • Any lease would need to be approved by a City Council subcommittee and the full council.

[Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Latino arts groups call for a cultural home in downtown Phoenix

[Source: Jahna Berry, Arizona Republic] — When Elizabeth Gauna closed the Museo Chicano in January, it wasn’t just the end of a small Phoenix museum.  It left a city of 1.5 million people, 40 percent of them of Hispanic descent, without a Latino art museum.  While major Latino museums have sprung up in big cities, including Long Beach, Calif.; Albuquerque; and San Antonio, Phoenix has lagged behind.  An alliance of 12 Arizona arts groups has an ambitious plan to change that.

The demise of Museo Chicano has fueled an effort to create a major Latino museum and cultural center in downtown Phoenix, said Martín Moreno, a local resident and nationally known muralist.  Advocates for Latin@ Arts & Culture plan to begin efforts this month to raise $200,000 to open and operate a small Phoenix cultural center later this year.  Five years down the road, the group envisions a $10 million facility.  “It’s kind of embarrassing,” said Moreno, who sits on the consortium’s board of directors.  He said Phoenix needs a center that preserves and nurtures Latino, Chicano and indigenous contributions to the arts.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Art spaces humanize downtown says DV 2004 report

Excerpt from”Downtown Voices: Creating a Sustainable Downtown,” August 2004: “Downtown Phoenix has a wide spectrum of arts activities, from large non-profits like the Herberger Theater Center, Phoenix Art Museum, and Phoenix Center for the Arts to medium-sized projects such as Valley Youth Theater, Black Theater Troupe, Museo Chicano, Icehouse, and Great Arizona Puppet Theater to the multitude of small-scale, grass roots projects like Modified Arts, Thought Crime, Paulina Miller Gallery, Trunk Space, Alwun House, and Paper Heart Gallery. 

Within the context of these multiple spaces you have official arts-related non-profit institutions, independent arts-related businesses, and the artists whose works are integral to the success of both.  Many of these smaller entities help create the dynamic, street level, pedestrian-friendly infill that is so desperately needed in and around downtown.”