Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Centro Cultural de la Raza Archives CEMA 12
CEMA 12  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (0.87 Mb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access Restrictions
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Organization History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Series descriptions
  • Related Archival Materials note

  • Title: Centro Cultural de la Raza Archives
    Identifier/Call Number: CEMA 12
    Contributing Institution: UC Santa Barbara Library, Department of Special Collections
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 83.0 linear feet
    Date (inclusive): 1970-1999
    Abstract: Slides and other materials relating to the San Diego artists' collective, co-founded in 1970 by Chicano poet Alurista and artist Victor Ochoa. Known as a center of indigenismo (indigenism) during the Aztlán phase of Chicano art in the early 1970s. (CEMA 12).
    Physical location: All processed material is located in Del Norte and any uncataloged material (silk screens) is stored in map drawers in CEMA.
    General Physical Description note: (153 document boxes and 5 oversize boxes).
    creator: Centro Cultural de la Raza (San Diego, Calif.).

    Access Restrictions


    Publication Rights

    Copyright resides with donor. Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Collections, UCSB. All Requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Department of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained

    Preferred Citation

    Centro Cultural de la Raza Archives, CEMA 12., Department of Special Collections, University Libraries, University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Acquisition Information

    Donated by CCLR board of directors, 2000.

    Organization History

    El Centro Cultural de la Raza is a Chicano Cultural Center founded in 1970 in San Diego, as an alternative program to encourage and facilitate artistic growth and cultural interchange in the San Diego communities. It is currently a member of the American Association of Museums.
    Centro Cultural has given birth to many artistic groups, such as MALAF, the Mexican American Liberation Art Front, and Teatro Mestizo. It also provides art classes and drama, music, dance and arts and crafts Presentations, many of which have origins in Mexico and "Aztlán," a term used by Chicanos to indicate the American Southwest. Tours and presentations have been designed to give background on various cultural activities. The Centro's circular building has offices and workrooms, studios, a theater, and much wall space for mural projects. It is one of the largest Chicano cultural arts buildings in the Southwest.
    The cultural center supports and encourages the creative expression "of those people who are indigenous to the border region." Although established in 1970, its origins stem to the mid to late 1960's, when local Chicano artists were becoming aware that they needed a place where they could develop and preserve the contributions and ideologies of San Diego's native population. Those active in forming the center and the organization of Los Toltecas en Aztlán, the organizing body of the center, were Salvador Torres, Guillermo Aranda, Ruben de Anda, Mario Acevedo, Victor Ochoa, David Avalos, the Enrique Family, the Delia Moreno Family, and others. Though much of the formative years of the center's philosophy and ideology began in the mid 60's, the center's official inauguration was in July 1970 when the city of San Diego allowed Torres and company to locate the cultural center in Balboa Park. Through much political and social opposition in the 1970's due to subject matter of murals and debate on the question of where they would be based, the cultural center endured and became very strong with the backing of its community members.
    As a cultural center, it not only promoted creative expression in art and formal art classes, but also included in its busy seven day-a-week schedule workshops in danza folklorica, interpretive dance, music, theatre, sculpture, and a multidisciplinary 'Tolteca' class. These classes were the basis of all activities that took place, as education of and for the border culture was important to the Toltecas en Aztlán. Closely related are the multi-media events that took place. These events incorporated music, dance and poetry to generate traditional and indigenous Mexican theatrical motifs.
    Groups that formed through the work of the Center include: Ballet Folklorico in Aztlán, founded by Herminia Enrique;Congreso de Artistas Chicanos en Aztlán, founded by Salvador Torres;and Trio Moreno, a musical group

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Centro Cultural de la Raza archives represents activities at and involving CCLR and its members between 1971 and 1999. The collection consists of 8 series contained in 156 archival boxes occupying approximately 67 linear feet of space. There are also 738 slides for which a separate guide is available through CEMA. In addition there are 226 silk screen prints and 66 offset printed posters housed in 3 map drawers in CEMA and approximately 250 offset prints are housed in boxes at the annex. A separate guide is not yet available for this collection. The archival material includes but is not limited to administrative/personnel records, grant/funding requests and applications and event/program/project documentation, as well as collected research on various artists, political figures (politicos) and a wide variety of topical themes from agriculture to racism. The series are arranged with an emphasis on CCLR's own system of record-keeping as of December 1, 1982 when a central files outline was created reflecting the order of and patterns used in cycle's filing system (a copy of this general outline is available in Series I Sub Series IV ). Subsequently folders generally follow either an alphabetical or a chronological order according to original titles or dates. When necessary, titles were assigned to folders that lost their labels or to items that were loose or without a proper folder.
    The archives include organizational records, films, videos, slides, photographs, posters, exhibition catalogs, and the manuscripts for published and unpublished works. Included is an extensive collection of clipping files and correspondence files on Chicano issues in the San Diego area.

    Series descriptions

    Series I: Administrative Records. Series I is housed in 54 archival boxes and is composed of four sub series;each sub series is chronologically ordered, beginning with the earliest date and ending with not dated (n.d.) material. Sub series I , Board of Directors , contains mostly board of directors meetings and includes By-Laws and articles of incorporation pertaining to both the founding of Toltecas en Aztlán and Centro Cultural de la Raza. Sub series II , Committees , contains by-laws, meetings and notes from various committees, beginning with numerous files pertaining to Mesa Directiva. Sub series III , Funding , consists of audits, accountant reports, budgets, and grant applications and proposals. Major funding sources are Combined Arts and Education Council (COMBO), the City of San Diego Financial Department, Regional Employment and Training Consortium, California Arts Council, Parks and Recreation Department Recreation Support Program, and National Endowment for the Arts. Sub series IV , General Administrative Files , contains a wide variety of material including activities reports, correspondence, lease agreements, membership development, staff meetings, and policies and procedures manuals.
    Series II: Internal Events, Programs and Projects. Series II is housed in 28 archival boxes and is a copious source of information on a wide variety of activities taking place at CCLR. Activities documented consist of workshops, exhibitions, mural dedications and projects, performances and various arts and cultural events. Workshops documented here include but are not limited to Ballet Folklorico en Aztlán, Tolteca Productions, Teatro Mestizo, Toltecas Concheros, Razita and the Border Arts Workshop or Taller de Arte Fronterizo (BAW/TAF). Events documented here include the 10th, 15th and 20th Anniversary celebrations of the CCLR along with the Norteñ o Music Festival, Chicano Park Day. Included in this series are numerous files pertaining to CCLR's 15th Anniversary Celebration and published book, Made In Aztlán . This entire series is ordered chronologically and then alphabetically within each year. Any information pertaining to Tolteca Publications is housed in the fifth series, Publications , in the sub series, Internal Publications .
    Series III: Organizations, Institutions and Corporations. Series III is housed in 32 archival boxes and is a reflection of CCLR's wide variety of professional networking activities. It is composed of four sub series;the first three sub series are ordered alphabetically by title, the last sub series is ordered chronologically. Sub series I , Community Organizations and Educational Institutions , consists of San Diego based organizations and various educational institutions with which CCLR was in contact or participated. Highlights from this sub series include extensive files on the Central Balboa Park Association and Chicano Park Steering Committee. Sub series II , Cultural and Arts Organizations , contains information on and Correspondence with Various galleries, Museums, theatres and as well as foundations associated with cultural and arts achievements. CCLR worked closely with the Wolf Trap Foundation's Head Start Program in a Performing arts Program;these Activities are documented here. Sub series III , Government Agencies and Political Organizations , include Programs and groups that reflect local, state and national interests. Highlights of this sub series include extensive collections of files pertaining to the California Arts Council, Public Arts Advisory Board and Public Arts Advisory Council. Sub series IV , Correspondence , contains all of the correspondence that, due to lack of provenance, has been collected and ordered chronologically by year correspondence was received.
    Series IV: Research. Series IV is housed in 24 archival boxes and is composed of seven sub series. Each sub series is a reflection of research files collected by CCLR. Sub series I , Artists/Art Groups , contains artist's statements, correspondence and various other documents relating to creators and craftsmen, affiliated and not, with CCLR. This sub series is in alphabetical order by artists last name. At one point, CCLR became financially stable enough where they were able to act as fiscal agent to apply for grants on behalf of other organizations seeking funds. Sub series II , California Arts Council Applications and Evaluations , is comprised of these applications and is ordered alphabetically. Sub series III , Conferences , contains a correspondence, announcements and publicity pertaining to a variety of conferences in which CCLR or a member of CCLR participated. Perhaps the most important conference documented is Open Dialogue II, a national meeting of artists and arts managers of color. It was at this conference in 1985 that a resolution was passed to create The Association of American Cultures (TAAC), to be responsible for convening an Open Dialogue every two years. The sub series is ordered chronologically by the year in which the convention took place and then alphabetically within year. Sub series IV , Flyers for Non-CCLR Events , is a compilation of mailers, flyers, and announcements from groups and individuals collected by CCLR, which reflect low-level networking between various cultural and arts organizations. This sub series is arranged chronologically. Sub series V , Miscellany , consists of a wide variety of material and documents arranged alphabetically and related directly and indirectly to the activities at CCLR that were kept as a source of reference or information. These files include but are in no way limited to employment opportunities, original work (poems, songs, drawings, plays, screenplays), essays and literature, and calendars. Among the many essays is a collection of essays by Cruz Ascencion Rangel on a wide variety of subjects, from Meso-American cultures to cultural centers. Sub series VI , Photographs, Negatives and Slides , contains a small selection of photographic material that is arranged alphabetically. This sub series is not to be confused with Series VI: Slides, which is described separately. Although most of the images are not identified there is a large collection of clearly labeled photographs that depict the Events of the Open Dialogue II conference. Sub series VII , Politicos , closely resembles the sub series Artists/Art Groups , in that a wide variety of resource material and documents are kept here. This sub series is ordered alphabetically by last name.
    Series V: Publications. Series V is housed in 26 archival boxes and is comprised of four sub series;each sub series arranged in alphabetical order. Sub series I , Internal Publications , includes monthly publications produced by CCLR. Publications produced by CCLR include Arte Y Cultura, Letras Y Colores, El Calendario, La Mazorca and the Members Newsletter. Publications produced by Tolteca Publications include Fragmentos de Barro (Pieces of Clay) and La Liné a Quebrada (The Broken Line), which are collections of poetry from various artists. Sub series II , Tolteca Publications , includes publications made by Tolteca. Also included in this series, are booklists, inventory, invoices, brochures, etc. Sub series III , External Publications , consists of CCLR's magazine and newspaper archives. These materials help to provide a deeper understanding of CCLR's interest and involvement in community and national issues. Sub series IV , Newspaper Articles , is an outstanding collection of articles on a wide variety of topics. CCLR maintained their own archive of newspaper articles with themed collections of clippings;these files have been maintained here.
    Series VI: Slides. This catalog contains 738 catalog records which are organized first according to major categories of art medium, such as "Drawings," "Graphic Arts," or "Murals." Then, within each of these broader categories, the individual slides are arranged in alphabetical order by name of the artist. " Artist Unknown " works are listed at the beginning of each section indicating that we do not have information on who created that work. For the sake of clarification the terms " Untitled " and " (title unknown) " are not interchangeable. " Untitled " is a legitimate title of a work given by the artist, while " title unknown " means that we do not have any information about the title. The catalog records are as complete as possible;however, to a certain degree the catalog is a "work in progress." In time, information about the " Artist Unknowns " and " title unknowns " will become known and the catalog will be updated and re-issued. A glossary has also been included describing the various mediums and their unique characteristics. A separate catalog is available for this slide collection.
    Series VII: Silk Screens. This series contains 229 silk screens and 66 offset posters housed in three map drawers in CEMA. The silk screens are comprised of a few serigraphs;most of the silk screens are announcements or calendars. There are also 10 boxes containing approximately 25 offset posters each, amounting to an estimated 250 offset posters housed at the Annex. CCLR did not have on-site offset printing capabilities, therefore all of the offset posters in the collection are generated from outside organizations, institutions and corporations. Examples of offset posters include announcement posters made for CCLR events such as the Casasola Exhibition (part of Noviembre Revolucionario), however a large portion of the prints was created to be inspirational. A separate catalog will eventually be made available for this collection.
    Series VIII: Oversize. This series spans 3 boxes. Aside from the Slides and Silk Screens series, there are other oversize materials such as posters, handouts and flyers for events. These were too large to be kept in letter or legal size boxes thus they have been removed from their original series and placed here. If an item has been removed from its original series, an indication has been made in its original location.
    Series IX: Audio Recordings. This series contains one recording (2 copies). It is a 45 rpm 7 inch record recorded and mixed at Wester Audio Sound Studios on a label called Pathways Teen Conection Music. Clarence R. Bell was the producer and arranger for the record. Side A features The Choice is Yours featuring Lincoln Kennedy, background vocals by Teresa Frantz, Danny Smith and Deborah Dorn. Side B features No Way To Win Featuring Tonja Oliver with backround vocals by Tereas Frantz, Danny Smith, Clarence R. Bell and Theresa Y. Ford. CCLR was one of the sponsors, Victor Ochoa did the graphic design and Sera-Jo Berman did layout.

    Related Archival Materials note

    Shades of San Diego, "Chicano Park 40th Anniversary" 4/18/10, Shades of San Diego Show produced by Diana Guevara and aired April 18, 2010. It includes an interview with poet, author and activist Alurista. Irene Mena, honorary mother of the Brown Berets, is interviewed. CEMA 21 dvd

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Centro Cultural de la Raza (San Diego, Calif.). -- Archives
    Administrative records
    Art, American -- California -- 20th century
    Mexican American artists -- California
    Screen prints
    Slides (Photography) -- Catalogs