Guadulupe Cultural Arts Center

Written by Randy Watson

 The city of San Antonio is known for many things - great food, wonderful colonial architecture, and a rich history - but its burgeoning dedication to the arts is quickly making it one of the most important cities for Latino artists in the United States. San Antonio is home to some of the finest museums in the state, and has long been home to artisans, craftsmen, and artists of all sorts. The city's Latino community makes up the backbone of the community, and the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center is one such organization that certainly does its part to keep San Antonio\'s art scene thriving and relevant.

The center was formed in 1980, and since then has dedicated itself to serving the community through several disciplines including, dance, literature, media arts, visual arts, and Xicano music. Each year, the organization puts on several events to showcase the talent that it cultivates. Guadalupe produces the San Antonio Cine Festival, Tejano Conjunto Festival en San Antonio, San Antonio Inter-American Bookfair and Literary Festival, as well as the Hecho a Mano series of plays annually to rave reviews. Also, the group puts on numerous productions by their own dance company throughout the year, and hosts open rehearsals for the public to view.

 In addition to staging exciting and interesting productions, the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center also offers classes and education opportunities to people of all ages looking to nurture their creative gifts. The center\'s media arts program has existed since 1977, and is the biggest and oldest Latino film and video exhibition in the United States. As the only competitive Latino festival in the U.S., the San Antonio Cine Festival celebrates quality and excellence in Latino filmmaking each year, and brings the community together though screenings by its most creative members.

The literature program is possibly the most important aspect that the center undertakes. Every year, Latinos from throughout the world attend to present their works in the forums, and to participate in the workshops, panels, and readings. The San Antonio Inter-American Bookfair and Literary Festival is the most important literary event in the southwestern United States, and is the most important place in the country for new Latino writers to debut and hone their craft. The program also sponsors a children’s day during the year, in which children are invited to attend readings and storytellings. Afterwards, the children receive free books.

The center\'s education program is designed for more than just learning and teaching; it is designed to bring together people from different ages and backgrounds, but who share a common heritage. The education program serves as a positive outlet for students to not only practice their crafts, but to demonstrate and share their gifts through public exhibitions, recitals, and performances. Young people ages 8-18 can apply for scholarships.

The center, although relatively new, does have an important historical tie to the preservation and restoration of one of San Antonio\'s landmarks - the Guadalupe Theater. Built in 1942, the theater was home to a variety of different forms of entertainment, before falling on hard times in the late 60s. The early 80s saw the restoration of this historic venue, and since then, has regained its place at the front of Hispanic cultural events. Throughout the year, the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center uses the theater to host all its productions and events.

Some upcoming events that the center is sponsoring include:
· S.A.S.S.—San Antonio Second Sundays - an open mic series held on the second Sunday of each month at 7 PM at the Teatro Space 1304 Guadalupe St.  Features poetry readings, songs, and performance games.
· Momma’s Boyz - an award-winning play highlighting the TeatroFest at the Guadalupe Theater.  The last performance is June 23 at 3 PM.
· Tejano Music Gala - July 13 at the Guadalupe Theater, featuring music by Jimmy Edwards, Los Texmaniacs, Guadalupe Mariachi, and the Guadalupe Dance Company.

Visit the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center online.