Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural

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Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural is a non-profit cultural center and bookstore in Sylmar, California. [1] It was founded in 2003 by noted Chicano author Luis J. Rodriguez, his wife Trini Rodriguez, Angelica Loa, and Victor Mendoza (Victor E) of El Vuh. Tia Chucha's provides arts and music workshops and events to the culturally underserved Northeastern San Fernando Valley.

A cultural center or cultural centre is an organization, building or complex that promotes culture and arts. Cultural centers can be neighborhood community arts organizations, private facilities, government-sponsored, or activist-run.

California State of the United States of America

California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents, California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second and fifth most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 8.8 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, and the country's second most populous, after New York City. California also has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city after New York City and the fifth-most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs.

Chicano or Chicana is a chosen identity of some Mexican Americans in the United States. The term Chicano is sometimes used interchangeably with Mexican-American. Both names are chosen identities within the Mexican-American community in the United States; however, these terms have a wide range of meanings in various parts of the Southwest. The term became widely used during the Chicano Movement by Mexican Americans to express pride in a shared cultural, ethnic and community identity.



Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural was founded in 2003 next door to Tia Chucha's Cafe Cultural, a coffee shop and bookstore owned by Chicano writer Luis Rodriguez, his wife Trini, and their brother-in-law Enrique Sanchez in Sylmar, CA since 2001. The Centro's founders were Luis Rodriguez, Angelica Loa Perez and Victor Mendoza. They began offering workshops in writing, painting, music, dance, film, theater, reiki healing, and indigenous studies. A resident Danza Azteca group, Temachtia Quetzalcoatl, was formed, as well as natural healing circles for both men and women.

Reiki is a form of alternative medicine called energy healing. Reiki practitioners use a technique called palm healing or hands-on healing through which a "universal energy" is said to be transferred through the palms of the practitioner to the patient in order to encourage emotional or physical healing.

In 2004 the Centro received its 501 (c) 3 tax exempt status.

In 2005, the Centro took over operations of Tia Chucha Press and continues to produce poetry books, distributed by Northwestern University Press. Tia Chucha Press was started in 1989 by Luis Rodriguez in Chicago and since 1991 was run by the nonprofit literary arts organization, the Guild Complex, until the Centro made Tia Chucha Press its publishing wing. This complements the CD production project, Dos Manos Records, that the Centro began in 2003.

The Centro also sponsors weekly Open Mic nights as well as regular film nights, musical events, original theater, author readings, and art exhibits. Since 2006, it also created the only annual literacy & performing arts festival in the San Fernando Valley called "Celebrating Words: Written, Performed & Sung." And we sponsor an arts-based youth empowerment project called "Young Warriors," started by teen leaders Mayra Zaragoza and Brian Dessaint.

In January 2007, both the Centro and Tia Chucha's Cafe were forced out of their facility to make way for a high-end laundromat. Given the state of the real estate market at the time, the Centro had to move into a much smaller facility in nearby Lake View Terrace, and the Cafe was closed. In March of that year, the Centro took over the bookstore operation from the Cafe.

That summer the Centro established an annual benefit event called "Celebrating Community & Culture: Si Se Puede/Yes We Can!" at Hollywood's Ford Amphitheatre with such notables as Cheech Marin, John Densmore of the Doors, Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, El Vuh, Xela, Tierra, Upground, Olmeca, Nobuko Miyamoto, and more.

The board also expanded to include leaders in the Chicano, African American, Asian, and European American communities.

By February 2009, Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural & Bookstore leased another space back in Sylmar at the Sylmar Plaza on Hubbard Boulevard and Gladstone Avenue, down the street from Mission Community College. The Centro is now the only multi-arts cultural space and bookstore in the Northeast San Fernando Valley, with some 450,000 people, mostly Mexican/Central American—the second largest Latino community in the United States after East LA (with a sizable African American and growing Asian communities).

The Centro has so far been funded by the LA City Department of Cultural Affairs, the LA County Arts Commission, the California Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, the City of San Fernando, the Liberty Hill Foundation, the Panta Rhea Foundation, the Attias Family Foundation, the Middleton Foundation, the Center for Cultural Innovation, Toyota Sales, among others.

Individual donors have included Bruce Springsteen, John Densmore of the Doors, Lou Adler, Richard Foos, Adrienne Rich, Tom Hayden, Jack Kornfield, David Sandoval, Jesus Trevino, Denise Chavez and the Border Book Festival, Dave Marsh, and the Luis & Trini Rodriguez Family.


Tia Chucha Press

Founded in Chicago in 1989 by Luis Rodriguez, Tia Chucha Press has published around 50 poetry collections, anthologies, chapbooks and a CD by a wide range of poets including President Obama Inaugural Poet Elizabeth Alexander, Patricia Smith, Ricardo Sanchez, Terrance Hayes, Tony Fitzpatrick, Lisa Buscani, Diane Glancy, Nick Carbo, Denise Duhamel & Maureen Seaton, Ariel Robello, Virgil Suarez, Kyoko Mori, Patricia Spears Jones, Linda Susan Jackson, Alfred Arteaga, and Richard Vargas. Tia Chucha Poets include Pulitzer and National Book Award nominees, National Poetry Slam Champions, and winners of Whiting, Lannan, National Endowment for the Arts, and Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest fellowships and awards, among others. In 1991, the Press became a project of the Guild Complex, a nonprofit literary arts center in Chicago. Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural took over operations of the Press in 2005. Tia Chucha Press books are distributed by Northwestern University Press and sold at all major independent and chain bookstores as well as online outlets like Amazon.com.

Dos Manos Records

Founded by Luis Rodriguez in 2002, Dos Manos Records became a project of Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural the following year. Dos Manos has released two CDs: From Earth To Sky: A Collection of Word & Song, a showcase of musicians and spoken word artists from the greater Los Angeles area, and My Name's Not Rodriguez, featuring Rodriguez reading his poetry accompanied by the music of Ernie Perez with the band, Seven Rabbit. Both are available at CD Baby online store.

Young Warriors

Founded in 2007, Young Warriors is the Centro's ongoing youth empowerment group. Founded by Mayra Zaragoza, Young Warriors utilizes the arts, dialogue, and indigenous healing practices to help troubled young people. Members have taken part in Mosaic Multicultural Foundation's Men's Conferences, Sisters of the Earth Women's Conferences, and the Koures Youth Symposium, among other events. Issues of gangs, drugs, social issues, the arts, and how to live healthy, whole and dignified lives are discussed. A large mural in collaboration with the LA Mural Project, and several young graffiti artists, was painted in 2008 at an elementary school in Sylmar, CA, among other initiatives.

Major Events

Celebrating Words: Written, Spoken and Sung

Begun in 2006, "Celebrating Words: Written, Performed & Sung" is Tia Chucha's Centro's annual outdoor community festival, held each summer in Sylmar. The only literacy & performing arts festival in Los Angeles' City Council District 7, it features musicians, bands, spoken word artists, theater performers, and dance troupes, as well as an array of local vendors, including Tia Chucha's bookstore. Sponsors have included the LA City Department of Cultural Affairs, Center for Cultural Innovation, Youth Policy Institute, the Mayor's Office, LA County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavksy, Councilpersons Richard Alarcon and Tony Cardenas, California State Senator Alex Padilla, State Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes, among others.

Los Angeles City in California

Los Angeles, officially the City of Los Angeles and often known by its initials L.A., is the most populous city in California and the second most populous city in the United States, after New York. With an estimated population of four million, Los Angeles is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California. The city is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, Hollywood and the entertainment industry, and sprawling metropolis.

Los Angeles City Council

The Los Angeles City Council is the governing body of the City of Los Angeles.

Tia Chucha's Celebration of Community and Culture

Starting in 2007, Tia Chucha's has produced an annual benefit concert at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre in Hollywood. The 2007 concert featured John Densmore (of The Doors), Culture Clash, Tierra, Upground, El Vuh, Xela, Luis Rodriguez, Ollin, among others. The 2008 show included Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, Cheech Marin, Nobuko Miyamoto, Opening People's Minds, Olmeca, and Upground. Tia Chucha's resident Azteca Danza group, Temachtia Quetzacoatl, opened for both events. And Latino Comedian Ernie G. served as host.

The John Anson Ford Theatre is in the Hollywood Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. The 1,200-seat outdoor amphitheater is situated within the Cahuenga Pass within the Santa Monica Mountains. Located in a County regional park, the facility is owned by the County of Los Angeles and operated in partnership with the Ford Theatre Foundation and the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation.

Hollywood Neighborhood of Los Angeles in California, United States

Hollywood is a neighborhood in the central region of Los Angeles, California, notable as the home of the U.S. film industry including several of its historic studios. Its name has come to be a shorthand reference for the industry and the people associated with it.

John Densmore American drummer and songwriter

John Paul Densmore is an American musician, songwriter, author and actor. He is best known as the drummer of the rock band The Doors, and as such is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was the only drummer in the Doors' history and appeared on every recording made by the band. Densmore is also noted for his veto of attempts by the other two Doors members, in the wake of singer Jim Morrison's 1971 death, to accept offers to license the rights to various Doors songs for commercial purposes, as well as his objections to their use in the 21st century of the Doors name and logo. Densmore's lengthy court battles to gain compliance with his veto ended with total victory for him and his allies in the Morrison estate.

<i>Los Angeles Times</i> Daily newspaper published in Los Angeles, California

The Los Angeles Times is a daily newspaper which has been published in Los Angeles, California, since 1881. It has the fourth-largest circulation among United States newspapers, and is the largest U.S. newspaper not headquartered on the east coast. The paper is known for its coverage of issues particularly salient to the U.S. west coast, such as immigration trends and natural disasters. It has won more than 40 Pulitzer Prizes for its coverage of these and other issues. As of June 18, 2018, ownership of the paper is controlled by Patrick Soon-Shiong, and the executive editor is Norman Pearlstine.

Newberry Library private research library in Chicago

The Newberry Library is an independent research library, specializing in the humanities and located on Washington Square in Chicago, Illinois. It has been free and open to the public since 1887. Its collections encompass a variety of topics related to the history and cultural production of Western Europe and the Americas over the last six centuries. The Library is named to honor the founding bequest from the estate of philanthropist Walter Loomis Newberry. Core collection strengths support research in several subject areas, including maps, travel, and exploration; music from the Renaissance to the early twentieth century; early contact between Western colonizers and Indigenous peoples in the Western Hemisphere; the personal papers of twentieth-century American journalists; the history of printing; and genealogy and local history.

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  1. "Founder Bios". Tia Chucha. Retrieved 8 January 2013.

Coordinates: 34°18′38″N118°25′41″W / 34.3105°N 118.4281°W / 34.3105; -118.4281