Centro Cultural de la Raza

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2004 Park Blvd., San Diego, CA 92101
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Open:
12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Tuesday - Sunday)
Closed Monday
Are you interested in learning about the history, art, music, and community culture of Native Americans and Mexican-Chicano culture? Visit Centro Cultural de la Raza!
Centro Cultural de la Raza
Mexican-Chicano Culture
What to Expect
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Exhibits & Attractions
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Learn about the Mexican-Chicano Culture

Located in Balboa Park, the Centro Cultural de la Raza is a non-profit organization with a goal to educate people by creating, preserving, and promoting the art and culture of the Native American, Mexican, Chicano, and Latino populations. A member of the American Alliance of Museums, the center houses cultural exhibits based on indigenous knowledge systems and traditions. The exhibits, along with classes and presentations, center around music, dance, drama, and arts and crafts.

Centro Cultural de la Raza hosts the Ballet Folklorico en Aztian, a dance academy, as well as provides meeting space for local groups and organizations. The 2,000-square-foot art gallery is the most popular part of the establishment, which is one of the first community-based cultural centers in the Southwest and has been in operation since the 1970s. Today, it is a haven for families, young men and women, adults, the houseless community, and much more.

Centro Cultural de la Raza is an inclusive community that caters to and respects all people of color and members of the LGBTQ community. The board of directors expects all volunteers and visitors to do so with respect. When you visit the Centro Cultural de la Raza, you will be visiting a true safe haven.

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What to Expect When You Visit

You will know when you've reached the Centro Cultural de la Raza because of its unique presence in Balboa Park. Created in an abandoned water tank, it features giant murals on the outside walls. The project, which was headed by Antonia Perez, has two main sections that were divided into smaller ones for a range of people to show off their work. You can spend hours taking in the minor details of these murals before you ever set foot inside.

When you do head inside, expect a range of information. You can explore on your own to check out various art pieces, or if you prefer, sign up for classes or workshops that teach you more about indigenous culture and its relationship to the surrounding community. The projects and presentations are ever-changing, so you'll want to visit the center more than once to get the full effect.

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Exhibits and Attractions

The outside mural is the mainstay attraction at the Centro Cultural de la Raza. Inside, attractions and events change often, so it is important to keep an eye on the calendar to ensure you don't miss anything you're interested in.

An up-and-coming exhibit and workshop that is showing popularity is the Chicana/o/x Printmaking. The class will focus on 50 years of art in activism and includes art from the center's private collection based on community politics, international solidarity, and self-determination.

Local Tips
Chicano Cultural Center
The Centro is one of the first community-based Chicano cultural centers and one of the largest in the Southwest. It is identifiable by a number of murals painted near the building's main entrance.

Have you always wanted to learn how to tango or salsa? The center is the place to do it. Perhaps you want to take in a culturally relevant movie. Movie nights are frequent at Centro Cultural de la Raza. Native American drum circles, free museum days, craft workshops, natural medicine seminars, DJ nights, and even workshops on how to practice self-care are common at the center as well.

Educational Programs

Centro Cultural de la Raza hosts a wide variety of weekly recurring classes that protect and educate the community it serves. Currently, the most popular classes are Zapateado Y Zapatismo: For Young Womxn of Color Grades 7-12, Noche de Tango, Danza Azteca Coatlicue Cemilitzli, and Izcalli: Círculo de Hombres.

Zapateado Y Zapatismo is a women-only (including trans and queer-identifying women) to learn about the creative movements of love and solidarity. Noche de Tango and Danza Azteca are traditional tango and Aztec dance classes. Finally, Circulo de Hombres focuses on the promotion of cultural consciousness through education, arts, and the community.

Other classes include Introduction to Contemporary Dance, Native American Drum Circle, Puerto Rican Bomba Dance, and Native American Beading. Private classes are also available.

In the past, events and educational programs included photography exhibits dedicated to the resistance, poetry readings, cooking classes, family-friendly dance classes, and a number of other cultural workshops dedicated to Mexican and Native American culture.

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Know Before You Go

  • Centro Cultural de la Raza is closed on Mondays and open 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays
  • The center is always looking for volunteers and has no paid employees
  • General admission to the gallery is $5
  • Admission prices for dance classes vary
  • Contact the center directly for information about field trips or other school-related activities
  • Renovation projects may cause some parts of the center to close temporarily
  • You can keep the center operating by donating online
  • The center's documents and policies, including non-profit information, harassment policies, and more are available on the website
  • Children must be attended to at all times
  • Most classes are family-friendly but call ahead if you wish to verify any age restrictions

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