Through the New California Arts Fund (NCAF), Movimiento de Arte Y Cultura Latino Americana (MACLA) will build capacity to intentionally use the power of the arts to bridge both cultural and class divides.
Latino arts have long been considered a niche form rather than part of our country’s mainstream arts and culture. The nation’s changing demographics have transformed that, and Latino arts are rapidly becoming the new center of gravity. As Silicon Valley’s leading voice in contemporary Chicano/Latino art, MACLA now finds itself at the forefront of the field, guiding a new mainstream vision in a shifting society.
MACLA has seen tremendous success in the number of participants of their South First Fridays arts engagement programming, taking full advantage of their location at the intersection of SoFA, San Jose’s arts and entertainment district, and William/Reed Corridor, a predominantly immigrant and low-income neighborhood that represents a microcosm of transitioning neighborhoods throughout the United States. Audience growth has also led to increased interest from nationally-renowned Latino/Chicano artists to perform at MACLA’s events.
As an incubator of new visual, literary, and performance art that engages people in civic dialogue and community transformation, MACLA has also found success through their artist residency program, including the West Coast premiere of ‘57 CHEVY, a Mexican-American “The Wonder Years” co-commissioned for Ricardo Salinas, founding member of Culture Clash and Chris Franco, an award-winning writer and stand-up comedian.
South First Fridays, Capoeira of San Jose
While approximately 70% of MACLA’s audiences are Latino and approximately 60% are 45 and younger, NCAF funding is making it possible for MACLA to broaden their reach by cultivating and engaging middle and upper-middle income Latinos and other persons of color who live in Silicon Valley.
For nearly 30 years, MACLA has maintained their grassroots accessibility and their role as an intersection for innovative contemporary art and community engagement of diverse audiences. As MACLA looks to the future of their organization and the society at large, they are looking to play a bolder leadership role in positioning art as a catalyst for community change. To do so effectively, they have goals to strengthen their board of directors, implement a stewardship program, foster staff development, and deepen a partnership with the City of San Jose.
MACLA’s board has always been composed of individuals who represent the region’s ethnic diversity. They are working now to create a pipeline of board membership of diverse, culturally competent advocates who also have the capacity and connection to be “game changer” trustees, helping to take MACLA’s impact to the next level. On the road to developing a meaningful stewardship program, MACLA has been conducting market research of prospective donors of color, expanding their “friend-raising” events, and recruiting new development staff.
Jeff Chang, Author and Executive Director, Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University
Every staff member, board member, artist and volunteer is an ambassador to MACLA’s mission to use the power of the arts to engage people in civic dialogue and community transformation. Everyone in the organization is stepping up to build a culture of philanthropy. This internal shift in how they approach fundraising responsibilities has led to the organization empowering more front-line staff and reinvesting in their network of supporters. It’s now a regular occurrence that individual donations mention individual staff members from across the organization who made a difference to the donor understanding MACLA’s work and essential role in the community.
MACLA has also begun to broaden their reach to cultivate and engage middle and upper-income Latinos and other persons of color who live in Silicon Valley, but have not yet joined the MACLA family in large numbers. On the horizon is a capital campaign to enable the organization to purchase and renovate their building, establish a reserve, and sustain engagement programming. Owning their building will allow MACLA to re-imagine how an arts organization at the intersection of an arts district and an immigrant neighborhood thrives. This sets the stage for MACLA 2.0, a new cultural model for community revitalization. As MACLA grows in size and stature, so too will the scale of their impact on the San Jose community and in the national conversation about the influential role of culturally-specific organizations.