SACRAMENTO -- La Raza Galería has found a solution to its growing pains.
It's midtown location lacked rooms for artists. There wasn't enough space to hold functions. Parking was a challenge.
The gallery's finances were battered by expensive rent and loss of funding from key arts councils in Northern California. Other funding sources were difficult to obtain or maintain.
The Latino cultural arts center is looking at a brighter future with its move to the Miller Park Art Complex, on Front Street just a mile on the outskirts of downtown.
"Searching and ultimately finding our new home was somewhat of a serendipitous occurrence," said Marie Acosta, artistic and executive director of La Raza Galería Posada.
The gallery will shut its midtown doors this week and open its new facility this weekend.
"We had been looking for a new location for a while to cut back on our expenses and have more room to hold some of our key functions and celebrations but of the three main places we looked at, none felt like a good fit. This new place, however, is absolutely perfect," said Acosta.
The gallery's new location features plenty of parking, a storage room and space for the gallery's functions.
Most importantly, it has one key building that for many years was used as a park maintenance facility. It now looks more like an old warehouse since it was rarely used and kept mostly for city storage since budget cuts affected its own operation.
Acosta has already begun fixing up the place. A pair of sculptures, including one of César Chávez, lay outside on an old wooden table waiting for their final resting spot inside.
The walls in the main area that will house the majority of the exhibits have already been painted. Artwork has been hung and labeled. The office boasts two desks, and a new wooden stage sits near the entrance.
In May, almost 40 people showed up for a jazz concert on two weeks' notice.
"I don't know what it is about this place, but we have had more visitors and more people come visit us here than we ever had in midtown given the short amount of time we have been here," said Acosta.
"I mean, we are still moving things in and getting situated. We are still adjusting, but I do foresee a very successful and bright future for the Galería and this place is going to make it happen."
The facility is four times larger. There are four rooms that will be used as rent space for artists. There is room for workshops, poetry readings and other community gatherings.
"The possibilities are endless. With this place, we have the potential to establish a higher profile and to establish credibility for Latino art and culture," said Acosta. "We want to partner with other organizations so this space could be the home to many more organizations who share our mission and our passion."
One of her dreams is the Academía de las Artes, an program designed to bridge the generation gap between newer generations of Latino children and their immigrant parents.
"We want to start a program for children so they don't lose their traditions and can reconnect with their roots through music, culture, dance and especially the visual arts," said Acosta.
"We want families to instill a sense of cultural pride to their children. When parents uproot from their native countries and settle here, the result is American-born children who don't know their roots, their traditions or their own history. Some don't do well in school because of it. They are trying to find their identity so what we want to do with these classes and workshops is to reinforce the importance of our heritage and our culture."
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