Finally, it looks like the boycott of the Centro Cultural de al raza in San Diego's Balboa Park may be over. The boycott has gone on for more than 5 years, while the artistic community (Chicanos and others) have been bereft of a cultural home. Voz Alta, Chicano Perk, Chicana, Besos not Bombs, Red Calaca press and others have stepped into the void, but there is nothing like a community- centered space that enjoys support from the greater community. From my perspective, the probelms at the Centro, caused in part by a corporate-minded mentality and misunderstandings, are part and parcel of a larger attempt by corporate entities to control and regulate artistic expression, especially expression that is at odds with the mainstream and speaks out against the war, racism and suppression of free speech. Self-Help Graphics in LA has experienced problems as well as other centros in several places. This becomes particularly evident when sponsors such as SAIC are brought in to "support" as community whose youth have been particularly damaged by the occupation in Iraq and Afghantistan (made possible in part by SAIC), through heavy recruitment practices.
I am particularly happy to see that the communidad will hopefully be able to come home and join other fine institutions such as the Leventine Center in LA (see sidebar) in promoting community art, cutting edge ideas and social responsibility.
See Save our Centro for more info on the resolution.