TARGET FERIA DE LA FAMILIA (July): Thousands of kids and their family members converse at Plaza de la Raza in East L.A. to enjoy and celebrate the sounds, sights, and traditions of Latino art and culture. Festival highlights include musical and dance performances, youth art activities, storytelling, and mural making. Plaza’s annual student art exhibition opens during the event and is on view to the public through mid-December.
DIA DE LOS MUERTOS COMMEMORATION: Free art activities are presented for youth after school throughout the month of October. An altar is installed one week prior to November 1 to allow for community members to participate. On November 1, 5–8 PM, up to 1,000 children and their families visit Plaza to enjoy face painting, mariachi music, tinwork, papel picado, Aztec dancers, mariachi musicians, folklórico performers, calaveras (sugar skulls), las calacas (skeleton puppets), and mask making. Community members can add ofrendas (offerings) to altars by noted artists Ofelia Esparza, Rose Portillo, and Guadalupe Rodriguez. Local artists craft artworks on site for sale to the public. Food is available – champurrado, tamales, pan de muerto.
CON NUESTRAS MANOS STUDENT EXHIBITION: Since 2000, Plaza de la Raza has hosted an annual student exhibition featuring paintings, drawings, sculpture, and folk art by more than 100 local youth, ages 5–19 years. On view for eight to ten weeks, all artworks in the exhibition are created during Plaza’s after-school programs, which are taught by professional artists who live and work in our community. A community reception for 150 family members is held.
CON SABOR LATINO PERFORMANCE SERIES: Since 1992, magical evenings of traditional Latin American music have been presented live on Plaza’s outdoor stage near the lake for more than 400 adults and families. (Previous performers include Brasil Brazil and Mariachi de Monumental America.)
DIA DE LOS MUERTOS COMMEMORATION: Free art activities are presented for youth after school throughout the month of October. An altar is installed one week prior to November 1 to allow for community members to participate. On November 1, 5–8 PM, up to 1,000 children and their families visit Plaza to enjoy face painting, mariachi music, tinwork, papel picado, Aztec dancers, mariachi musicians, folklórico performers, calaveras (sugar skulls), las calacas (skeleton puppets), and mask making. Community members can add ofrendas (offerings) to altars by noted artists Ofelia Esparza, Rose Portillo, and Guadalupe Rodriguez. Local artists craft artworks on site for sale to the public. Food is available – champurrado, tamales, pan de muerto. In our city, traditions from three holidays——Halloween, October 31; Dia de los Muertos, November 1; and All Souls Day, November 2—are integrated and celebrated in ways that are uniquely Los Angeles.
NOCHE CON SABOR GALA: Each fall, Plaza hosts a benefit concert under the stars to support its after-school visual and performing arts programs that promote and share Mexican cultural heritage. For many years, it has consisted of a benefit concert with GRAMMY® Award-winning Los Lobos, though occasionally other performers have been showcased, including Thee Midniters and Willie G. While listening to great music, guests dance, eat, mingle, enjoy art, and relax in Plaza’s lakeside lounge. A silent art auction is held in the Margo Albert Theatre Lobby, and the student exhibition is on view in the Boathouse Gallery.
PLAZA ART AUCTION: Annually, Plaza hosts a benefit auction to sell works of art created by over 100 established and emerging Latino artists.
PLAZA HOLIDAY CELEBRATION: Students and their family members attend this eagerly awaited annual event for food, music, dance, and friendship. Children have their faces painted and learn cartooning techniques. Menudo, caldo de pollo, champurrado, hot chocolate, and tamales are typically served. Santa and his helpers deliver gifts to the students, which for many, are the only ones they receive at Christmas. Throughout the day, guests are serenaded and treated to stunning visual and musical performances. Previous performances included those by Coro Alegría, the student choir; Danza Teocalt, Plaza’s adult folkloric dancers; Danza Azteca; Mariachi Los Trovadores, a student mariachi group; and Mariachi Monumental de America.
California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) | Community Arts Partnership (CAP): Initiated in 1990, CAP, a 22-year-old collaboration between students and faculty of Plaza and CalArts, delivers intensive and imaginative training to youth in theater, dance, music, and puppetry.
Community Development Dept. (CDD) of the City of Los Angeles: Now in its 20th year and tied to the Family Source Center, the partnership with CDD is designed to address the multiple needs and barriers that low-income families and youth face in becoming economically and academically self sufficient. For the past four years, Plaza de la Raza has been the subcontractor for the CDD partnership with Barrio Action Youth & Family Center and Centro de Ayuda Family Center as the lead agencies.
California State University, Los Angeles (Cal State L.A.): For the past ten years, Plaza has partnered with Cal State L.A., which has provided volunteers and teaching assistants who donate about 600 hours each year.
L.A. Conservation Corps Clean & Green: This environmental nonprofit provides job training to youth who are assigned to help as recycling volunteers to educate the public during Plaza’s community events.
Archdiocesan Youth Employment Services: Since 1998, this program helps Plaza with staff support by providing internships to low-income students, ages 14-21, at the non profit for the summer. The students receive job training, education, and counseling so that they become self-sufficient and productive.
City of Los Angeles Dept. of Cultural Affairs (DCA): Since 2006, the DCA Music LA Program has provided for free music education programs, beginning to advanced, at Plaza.
Latino Arts Network (LAN) of California: Founded in 1997, LAN is a consortium of several California community-based Latino arts and cultural organizations housed at Plaza. The consortium provides access to a creative and professional network of individuals and organizations dedicated to strengthening and promoting California’s Latino Arts.
About Productions: This theatre company has provided free performances for the community since 2002.
Tierra Blanca Arts Center: Since 2010, this nonprofit has offered “Danza Escenica” to children and adults at Plaza. This program combines ballet, jazz, folk, flamenco, modern dance, and theater to give dancers the tools they need to become a great performers
Pasion Mexican Folklorico Dance Company: Since 2009, this company has been in residence at Plaza to teach dance workshops.
The Music Center of Los Angeles County: Starting in 2009, The Music Center has presented its annual Spotlight Awards at Plaza.