Olivera: Leaders talk about timing for long-planned expansion of Latino Cultural Center

Jose Bowen, dean of SMU's Meadows School of the Arts, was interviewed by Mercedes Olivera for a story about Dallas's Latino Cultural Center.

By Mercedes Olivera

It was about 20 years ago that a group of Dallas Latinos began a push to build a cultural center.

It finally opened in September 2003.

Since then, more than 270,000 people have passed through its doors to see museum-quality exhibitions, attend theater performances and lectures, and participate in workshops.

With its purple tower looming over the neighborhood, its terra cotta walls and angular roofs, the cultural center has become one of the city’s architectural jewels and landmarks.

More than 28,700 people visited the center in the 2011-12 fiscal year, and it’s on track to reach 30,000 this year. About 300 people were attending a fundraising 10th anniversary gala there Friday, and up to 2,000 were expected to attend a community festival on Saturday.

The future looks bright for the cultural center, and it seems to have weathered the recent recession well.

“Programming is going well, and our partnerships with other community-based Latino groups are working out well,” said Benjamin Espino, manager of the cultural center for the past two years.

Maybe now it’s time to look toward Phase II of the facility, Espino said. . .

“A rich arts scene includes diversity of every type: A thriving arts city is a mosaic,” said José Antonio Bowen, dean of the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University. He’s performed at the center with his Jampact group, an eclectic and innovative electro-acoustic band.

“Creativity is fundamentally about discomfort and risk and new experiences.”

And, now, it’s also about a new vision for the center.



Read the complete column.

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