Mayor's Office Press Release
Mayor Announces Transitional Leadership for Hispanic Arts and Culture Facility
October 23, 2019 -- Mayor Sylvester Turner today announced new leadership of cultural programming at the city-owned facility for Hispanic arts in the East End Cultural District adjacent to the Guadalupe Plaza Park.
Programming and management, via an $80,000 city grant, will be under the direction of Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts (MECA).
“We are pleased that MECA, under Alice Valdez’s leadership, elected to provide transitional management of this critical space that is a part of the rich history of the Second Ward,” Mayor Turner said. “The City’s support of complete communities includes the role of art and culture in economic development and community revitalization.”
MECA is stepping in with the support of the Mayor's Hispanic Advisory Board after the previous operator, Talento Bilingue de Houston, ceased operations this month.
The vision is to build on the history of the facility as a home for Latino arts and realize a dynamic and welcoming Latino cultural center that is a destination for residents and visitors. The transition solution gives the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs time to gather input from stakeholders, the community and potential partners on a sustainable long-term plan for the facility that is responsive to the aspirations of the community.
“MECA’s Board and Staff are excited about this opportunity, which is made possible by the generosity of the City and Houston First Corporation” said Alice Valdez, MECA executive director and founder. “We are thrilled about what’s to come as a result of this opportunity to expand into another venue.”
MECA plans to offer an array of enriching opportunities to the center’s surrounding community that will include a performing arts and exhibition series, workshops (in various forms of dance, instrumental and visual art) and academic support for students.
In its 42nd year, MECA serves as the largest Latino cultural center in Houston. At the Dow School Campus in the Old Sixth Ward, it proudly presents a performing arts season that reflects the diversity of the Houston area and attracts artists whose work emerges from the issues that shape the lives of communities of color and immigrants.
“This transitional plan is immensely important to continue programming and for the long-term success of the facility,” Council Member Robert Gallegos said. “I'm grateful to all the partners, Mayor Turner, Houston First, MECA and Alice Valdez, for working with us and the community to find a resolution. We must continue to support and grow cultural programming in our community, and this is yet another example of the city's effort to do so.”
“I am thrilled with Mayor Turner’s announcement today that Alice Valdez of MECA will lead the transition team for the former TBH site in the Second Ward,” Council Member Karla Cisneros said. “The grant to launch this initiative is an ambitious and exciting new beginning for Hispanic Arts and Culture in Houston. Community partners and supporters are stepping up and coming together to define and lay out a vision for Houston’s Latino Art Scene as a world class city that reflects its significant Latino population. The time is right and the moment is here to seize an important opportunity to dream big and develop a roadmap to the future that celebrates the richness of Hispanic Arts and Culture in Houston.”
To learn more about the City’s cultural programs visit https://www.houstontx.gov/culturalaffairs/index.html and follow the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs on Facebook @HoustonMOCA.