"The Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts (MCCLA) was established in 1977 by artists and community activists with a shared vision to promote, preserve and develop the Latino cultural arts that reflect the living tradition and experiences of the Chicano, Central and South American, and Caribbean people. MCCLA makes the arts accessible as an essential element to the community's development and well-being."

The Birth of a Dream

MCCLA 1977-1985

The History of the MCCLA by Juan Pablo Gutierrez, with archival research and technical assistance from Luis Alberto De La Garza.

The Mission Cultural center for Latino Arts (MCCLA) was originally called the Palmeto Museum, Originated in the early seventies by a group of San Francisco State University students who were frustrated with the lack of Chicano – Latino cultural representation and to promote Latino cultural expression, awareness and growth of the Mission District. These students and some community artist petitioned the city of San Francisco to purchased the old Shaff’s Furniture store located at 2868 Mission which became the Palmeto Museum at the same time three other buildings were purchased for the San Francisco Arts Commission, the Western Addition Cultural Center, the South of Market Cultural Center, and the Bay View Opera House.

The MCCLA opened its doors to the public in 1977 along with the names of the founding fathers and mothers of MCCLA. Originally the building was inadequate to serve as a center but thanks to the small staff and to the dedicated group of volunteers who spend laborious hours has now attained international recognition by winning two world graphic arts biennials: Germany and Cuba and developing an art space, Galeria, Museo. Most of these improvements were completed by the first year. Due to a lack of Funding MCCLA had minimal structural since 1977 a renovation master plan has been thought and discussed since the mid 1980s. Despite the lack of funds the quality of the program that MCCLA offers continues to demonstrate a high level of professionalism.

MCCLA’S main objectives to present the best representative sample of contemporary and ancient artistic traditions of Latin America and to develop in the community a high degree of sensitivity and understanding of Latin American culture. To this end, throughout its 25- year history the MCCLA has sponsored a series of local, national, and international activities and programs that helped establish it as the largest Latino cultural center in the continental United States. Many of the original projects and programs have been replicated in other parts of the United States.

The history of MCCLA is directly linked to a concept that embodies the pre-Cortezan belief that culture is not something that is static but rather is linked to an ever –changing future that is reflected by contemporary actions and activities. This has been the path that MCCLA has followed for the last 25 years.

Mission Grafica

“Un taller humilde en el barrio de la Mission"

The History of the MCCLA Mission Gráfica by René Castro".

The Mission Cultural Center’s (MCC) graphic department was established in 1977. At the same time the MCC was founded. Initially it operated as MCC’s graphic department, and in the early 1980s it officially became Mission Grafica. Mission in English has the meaning of a political commitment to social change, and grafica in Castilian establishes a Latino identity, and defends our roots and values. Approximately we count with over one-hundred artist featuring over five-hundred designs that demonstrate the generous contributions of this program to the center, to our community and to the world.

During the first 25 years Mission Grafica has documented political and cultural event, and marches for peace and international, solidarity. We have posters of Teatro Latino’s works in support of the Chiapas Zapatistas, posters that question the treatment given to the homeless, and posters that denounce arbitrary evictions, among others. The old and the new posters express passionate issues that divide contemporary society.

For the occasion of Carlos Santana’s first Grammy in 1987 and its 20th anniversary posters were designed by the workshop. The Irish group U2 invited our workshop artist to produce a backdrop denouncing the war in Central America for one of its memorable concerts in Oakland. In the early 1980s, Cuban Artist Eduardo Roca and Nelson Dominguez arrived at the Mission Cultural Center (MCCLA) all with one purpose to tear down the economic and cultural blockade against the Cuban Island and to open the doors to Cuban graphics.

Artist from all over the world have been afforded space at (MCCLA). Mission Grafica has participated in projects with student artist under the sponsorship of the Gap Stores projects for Horace Man School an exhibition of painted original designs. For young students we offer a workshop against alcohol abuse and domestic violence, Also sponsored by the City Arts commission 36 bus shelter exhibited posters designed by Mission Grafica that featured poems of Francisco Alarcon which were exhibited for several months.

Missions Grafica exhibits have been numerous, our artist have also participated in the San Juan Biennial in Puerto Rico which is the most important exposition of Latin America and honor award Mission Grafica on 1987 one of the highest awards we have received. We also have been welcomed in Mexico Mission Grafica works have been displayed in numerous museums. In Europe, Mission Grafica exhibited in England in Belfast, Ireland, sponsored by Belfast Exposed; and in Dublin Ireland, in an exhibition titled “Loving in the time of war”.

We respectfully salute the (MCCLA) and its artist, students, and volunteers, for they have all earned our praise. Wonderful posters have been created, and others are ready to see the light in our soiled streets, the strength and color of silk-screened posters are simply unique, and the wonder of their splendid light is hard to imitate.

Founders and Early Friends

Kathy Apodaca, René Castro, Carlos Cordova,
Enrique Fernandez,
Magaly Fernandez,
Carlos Gallardo, Mario Gallardo,
Cecilia Martinez-Guidos, Elias Katz,
Felix Khury, Carlos Loarca,
Alfonso Maciel, Oscar Maciel,
Rebeca Mauleon, Alejandro Murguia,
Carmen Olivares, Nery Ordonez,
Gilberto Osorio, John Santos,
Mauricio Santos, Concha Saucedo,
Nina Serrano, Dolores Terrazas,
Francisco Tovar, Mara Rosales,
Diana Diaz-Vargas, Roberto Vargas

Funders

San Francisco Arts Commission,
The California Traditional Folk Arts,
The National Endowment for the Arts,
NALAC,
The Zellerbach Foundation,
The National Endowment for the Humanities
and other private and individual contributors.