Located in the heart of downtown San Antonio’s historic west side, our National Center for Latino Arts and Culture stands as a vibrant celebration of the music, dance, theater, art and history of the Latino peoples in the United States.
The Alameda Theater — filled with signs and symbols of the 50+ years it brought the greatest Spanish-language talents to its stage and screen — is now being restored as a full-time pan-Latino performing arts center. It will work in partnership with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing
Arts. The projected opening date is late 2005.
The Alameda’s Museo Americano will be the newest landmark in San Antonio’s historic Market Square. The museum will present exhibits that explore the many sides of Latino art, history and culture in America. It will work in association with the Smithsonian Institution. The projected opening date is February, 2004.
Cuba Mia tells the story of a group of Cuban Jews who embark on a mission to Cuba through the Jewish Solidarity Foundation. The journey turns into something magical as the group is transported back to their homeland, an island that has hardly changed in the forty years they have been gone.
In partnership with the John F. Kennedy
Center for the Performing Arts
The Alameda Theater’s significance to American Latinos cannot be overstated. Built in 1949, the 2,400-seat Teatro Alameda was the largest theater palace ever built in this country dedicated to Spanish-language entertainment, and the year it opened was voted the most beautiful Spanish theater in the country. The theater’s colorful and unique synthesis of art deco and Mexican-styled architecture was the backdrop for gala movie premiers, variedades (Vaudeville-style shows), cultural events and glamorous civic functions throughout the 1950s and ’60s. The Alameda’s modern glamour came to symbolize the growing acceptance of the Latino middle class in America. It was the pride of the nation’s Latino community until the urban decay of the 1970’s largely ended its prosperity.
In 1995, the City of San Antonio purchased The Alameda complex, rescuing it from neglect and ultimate destruction. At that time, Centro Alameda, Inc. was formed, under the leadership of Henry R. Muñoz, III, with the intent of raising the funds necessary to restore the structure to its former glory. Because of its historical role as a symbol of Latino prosperity and achievement, The Alameda became the heart of a civic movement to revitalize the predominantly Latino West End of downtown San Antonio. Strategic partnerships were formed, and the blueprint for a nationally important, multifaceted home for Latino arts and culture was conceived.
When the theater is restored to its original brilliance and the most modern technological enhancements have been implemented, the Alameda Theater will be one of the premiere performing arts center in San Antonio. The estimated date for completion of the renovation is late 2005.
Family programs, mariachi, folklorico, flamenco and popular music concerts are among the genres we will present. We look forward to a vibrant and active role in bringing these distinctive art forms to the residents and tourists of San Antonio.
But our programming opportunities will not be limited to Latin forms. In 2001, we signed a partnership agreement with the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the nation’s largest producer of arts education and a leading presenter of the arts in many disciplines.
Honoring the Alameda’s original conception as a meeting place for all American cultures, a world of programming awaits us in the fields of opera, dance, theater, comedy, television production, lectures, conferences, film, and concerts – genres in which the Kennedy Center is an unparalleled expert. With the large flex space planned in the theater, we also have the opportunity to offer unique educational and entertainment programs off the stage as well.
A theater with next generation technology and design opens up a wealth of opportunities for presentations that will move the spirit within us. Not only is the Alameda of cultural and historical importance to San Antonio, it holds inherent value for the future of the performing arts in South Texas and, with the development of the Alameda National Center for Latino Arts and Culture, will become a shining star on our nation’s cultural landscape.
The first phase of our three-part project was completed in December 2001 with the reestablishment of the Casa de México International Building as a pillar of the Mexican American business and artistic community in San Antonio. Renovations began in June 1999, and were completed in June 2001 with the reopening of the Koehler Auditorium, an intimate performance space within the building. Now complete, this building – which also houses the Alameda Theater – features approximately 18,000 square feet of office space in the heart of downtown San Antonio’s colorful West End.
The Casa de México historically has been the birthplace of international organizations, such as the first Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in the United States. The Latino spirit of the Casa de México building is an expression of that part of San Antonio which makes it unique among American cities.
The building is managed by the Alameda and is now home to the City of San Antonio Office of Cultural Affairs, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Federation of Mexican Communities in San Antonio. This mix of tenants fulfills our objectives of increasing synergy between business and the arts fostering economic opportunity for Latinos.
Let The Alameda host your next business meeting or function. The Koehler Auditorium is available for private receptions, presentations, film screening, lectures, and more. For more information regarding the rental of the Koehler Auditorium contact Irma Aleman or email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Office Space Available
The Casa de México building currently has the entire 4th floor available for lease. The uppermost floor of the building offers expansive views of the downtown area.
A renowned corrido scholar, Dr. Enrique R. Lamadrid teaches folklore, literature and cultural history in the department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of New Mexico.
Dr. Lamadrid will present an overview of the “corrido” tradition in New Mexico, beginning with the sixteenth century Spanish Mexican explorers and settlers who brought with them an already ancient tradition of narrative ballads. To their repertory of “romances” they soon added “indita” ballads, which combined Spanish lyrics with Native American music, themes, and rhythms. Ten line “decima” ballads and the satirical “cuandos” were also sung until the tradition of modern “corridos” emerged and bloomed.
Cipriano Vigil is a talented New Mexican musicologist and performer with a large repertory of traditional music as well as original “nueva cancion” (folk revival) compositions and performed at the 2002 Smithsonian Folklife Festival.
Dr. Herrera-Sobek is an acclaimed scholar of Chicano/a literature and Acting Associate Vice-Chancellor for Academic Policy at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She will analyze the most current manifestations of the corrido tradition and apply feminist theory, and other critical theories, to the interpretation of these ballads.
Dr. Herrera-Sobek is a distinguished writer and expert on the aesthetics and politics of California border culture. She received her Ph.D. in 1975 from UCLA in Hispanic language and literature. Prior to her position at UCSB, she was the director of the Chicano/Latino Studies Program at UC, Irvine. She has lectured extensively in the U.S. and Western Europe about Chicano literature.
Her numerous books include The Bracero Experience: Elitelore Versus Folklore, Culture across Borders: Mexican Immigration and Popular Culture (co-edited with David Maciel), and The Mexican Corrido: A Feminist Analysis. Chicano Renaissance: Contemporary Social Trends, which Herrera-Sobek co-edited, published in winter 2000.
The Alameda and Museo Americano in association with the Smithsonian Institution, will present “Cine y Más: A New Word and Image Series”, that will bring together video screenings, book readings, and lecture/discussion groups by new and insightful Latino authors, filmmakers, and artists.
The selection of works is intended to demonstrate as broad a range of Latino æsthetics, genres, themes, and points of view as possible. “Cine y Más: A New Word & Image Series” will promote artists who tell stories which are generally underrepresented in the arts, and tell them through cutting-edge mediums that have immense potential for engaging new, non-mainstream audiences. Film, video, and literature will allow Museo Americano to fulfill its unique mission in a wholly contemporary way.
The film and literary series will benefit both the artists and the San Antonio arts community alike, promoting and nurturing new Latino filmmakers and writers, while creating a new home in San Antonio for the regular engagement of cutting-edge films, videos, and readings. The series will be an important addition to the San Antonio arts community.
“Cine y Más: A New Word & Image Series” will be presented once a month from March 2003 through July 2003 in the stunningly restored Koehler Auditorium, located in the historic Casa de México International Building. This series will continue to be presented by Museo Americano when it opens its Market Square facility in 2004.
Jose made a promise to his patron saint San Lazaro a year ago: “Lazaro, if my girl will say yes to marrying me, I will bring a candle to your altar crawling on my back.” She said yes. On December 17th, the feastday of San Lazaro, Jose fulfilled his promise at ‘el Rincon’, a church outside of Havana which houses the shrine of San Lazaro. In a documentary verité style, The Ecstasy reveals the painful lengths to which devotion will lead the faithful in Cuba.
The mission of Club Alameda is to bring together a diverse group of individuals to serve as cultural ambassadors for The Alameda, while providing support for operations and progaramming.
Club Alameda Goals
Club Alameda has its roots in the vibrant social clubs of the past. A social group with a purpose, Club Alameda is designed to offer a wide variety of activities for all age groups and interests.
Club Alameda is more than just a social club. Each year we will take on a project for the betterment of The Alameda. This year we would like to re-light the “Spirit of Dance” sculpture in the lobby of the Alameda Theater.
The National Center for Latino Arts and Culture
The mission of The Alameda is to create and sustain a National Center for Latino Arts and Culture through the arts, education, economic development, and entertainment.
We will work in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
We are dedicated to providing the highest quality performances, exhibitions, and educational programs for a national and international audience.