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Introduction: A Special Series on the Future of the Guadalupe Cultural Center

Dance of Lights, courtesy of Joan Frederick.


ENTRE NOSOTROS:

Can the Guadalupe dance again?
A Special Series featuring Interviews/Stories/Memorias/and Questions about the future of the nation's oldest and once-premier cultural center for and about
la raza.

Introduction

Back in the day, I used to come to the Guadalupe Center all the time from Dallas, where I lived. Que tiempos, que parties! The International Bookfair, the Cinefestival, the Conjunto Festival. I planned my life, it seemed, counting the days until my next trip to San Antonio where I was welcomed in a familia that was also searching for its roots.

But then I’m from the Texas Panhandle, and I didn’t grow up reading The House on Mango Street, or knowing anything about Latin American cinema besides el Cine de Oro. Conjunto? Accordion and bajo sexto? That was for la gente baja, but my parents sure liked to go to the cantinas on the weekends when I was a teenager to have some frias and listen to it. Until Juan Tejeda, musician and Music Director for the Guadalupe, took the fiery accordion out of the cantinas and legitimized it in a citywide festival and then talked about it on National Public Radio.

When I was appointed to the Commission for Cultural Affairs in Dallas in the early nineties, I used the Guadalupe Cultural Center as my model for establishing the Latino Cultural Center in Dallas. Pedro Rodriguez, the long-time Guadalupe Executive Director, made several trips to help us. Few of the Latino leadership in Dallas had experience with cultural centers, and the Guadalupe cultura I’d been acquiring for so many years gave me the language - and alma – to energize my community into demanding a house of our own.

In the seven years since Pedro Rodriguez resigned after fifteen years of building the Guadalupe, there has been a series of interim and executive directors, dramatic staff turmoil, increasing financial debt, decreasing membership, decreasing attendance at the landmark events, and lavish scorn from the artists who were launched by the Guadalupe Center many years ago.

In this series, I want to take you to the Guadalupe Center, examining its history, mission and budget, talking to the President, R. Bret Ruiz, the staff, past and present, national cultural leaders and most important of all, the artists and the people who live on 1300 Guadalupe Street, in the hueso of San Antonio.

The Guadalupe deserves this investigation as only we can do it. If it wasn't for the Guadalupe, this city would be a different place, I think.

So let's platicar, chismoliar, criticar, and debate. It's time that we ask each other, entre nosotros: Has the nation’s oldest cultural center for la raza – ended its reign? Should we start over? Is it time to say goodbye?

Or can the Guadalupe, like me, like you, come back home?

xxxx

p.s. you might want to read a link from San Antonio's so-called alternative newspaper, the San Antonio Current. Click on www.sacurrent.com, and then Bret Ruiz to find their story.


http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=16085899&BRD=2318&PAG=461&dept_id=484045&rfi=8







Comments

Juana Gallo said…
Thank you Barbara for tackling the terrible injustice that is occurring at the 'Lupe. How horribly ironic that a place that is named in honor of the most beloved India icon is also behaving so immorally toward our hermanas who either work or have worked there. The Board of Directors has acted irresponsibly and unthically and they will face justice one way or another, sooner or later.There is symbolism in the fact that our hermana Councilwoman, Elena Guajardo was so strongly supported on the same night that the 'Lupe Board was behaving so cavalierly toward Mary Jessie Garza and Dolores Zapata Murff.We will bring that same righteous anger to the doors of the 'Lupe!. Magdalena
Juana Gallo said…
Thank you Barbara for tackling the terrible injustice that is occurring at the 'Lupe. How horribly ironic that a place that is named in honor of the most beloved India icon is also behaving so immorally toward our hermanas who either work or have worked there. The Board of Directors has acted irresponsibly and unthically and they will face justice one way or another, sooner or later.There is symbolism in the fact that our hermana Councilwoman, Elena Guajardo was so strongly supported on the same night that the 'Lupe Board was behaving so cavalierly toward Mary Jessie Garza and Dolores Zapata Murff.We will bring that same righteous anger to the doors of the 'Lupe!. Magdalena

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