"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

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 38- 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.

MCCLA 1977-1985
The History of the MCCLA by Juan Pablo Gutierrez, with archival research and technical assistance from Luis Alberto De La Garza.

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.


Carlos Cordova, Enrique Fernandez,
Magaly Fernandez, Carlos Gallardo, Mario Gallardo,
Cecilia Martinez-Guidos, Alfonso Maciel,
Oscar Maciel, Alejandro Murguia,
Carmen Olivares, Nery Ordonez,
Gilberto Osorio, Mauricio Santos,
Francisco Tovar, Mara Rosales,
Diana Diaz-Vargas, Roberto Vargas

Early Friends of the MCCLA

Kathy Apodaca
Rene Castro
Elias Katz
Felix Khury
Carlos Loarca
Rebecca Mauleon
John Santos
Concha Saucedo
Nina Serrano
Dolores Terrazas


The San Francisco Arts Commission
The Zellerbach Foundation
The Bill Graham Foundation
The Latino Action Network
Bank of the West
and other private and individual contributions.