On April 16th 2011 LA Plaza De Cultura Y Artes opened its doors to the public, becoming Los Angeles first permanent center that focuses on Mexican American art and culture. LA Plaza is centrally located in Downtown near the area were Los Angeles was founded in 1781. The layout of LA Plaza will take you into a time line of the Mexican and Mexican American decent and will explore the city’s origin. Los Angeles name is often cited as El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora La Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula (The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angeles of Porciuncula).
The time line starts off with an introduction of the first 44 founding settlers of Los Angeles before moving on to the 17th and 18th century. La Plaza De Cultura Y Arte examined Mexican and Mexican American history with artifacts and one-of-a-kind interactive experiences. La Plaza featured weapons that were used in the “Mexican War of Independence” were Mexico sought its freedom from Spain. It also went into detail about the “The Texas Revolution” and the “American Annexation of Texas” where America declared war on Mexico. Americas’ attack on Mexico was swift and went deep into the heart of Mexico. In 1848 the “Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo” which was largely dictated by the United States ended the “Mexican American War.” Under the terms of the treaty Mexico relinquished all claims to California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Texas.
The Cultural and Art exhibit went on to showcase more of the rich Mexican American culture by showcasing everything from Zoot Zuiters, Cesar Chavez, Pancho Gonzalez to Fernando Valenzuela.
Ricardo Acosta of Fontana, CA., and his wife heard about the La Plaza grand opening through La Live. “I think they did and excellent job showing the culture” explains Ricardo. “It explains how the whites took the land; now we are getting it back.”
Jose Nava of Los Angeles works down the street from La Plaza and had been waiting for its grand opening for months. “I think it’s nice” (talking about the Culture and Arte center). “Mexicans have been here for generations and I think it’s about time we have something like this.” Jose had read about the drought in 1860 were Mexicans couldn’t pay rent and the U.S. Government took their lands and sold them off. “We need something like this, so we don’t forget our heritage and where we came from.”
Chirstina and Leslie both 25 years old out of East L.A., though the La Plaza was very informative. “School only goes so far in teaching you about our heritage” says the young East L.A., women, “We need to learn about our culture and heritage.”
So if you’re ever in the Los Angeles area or even if you would like to see first hand the Mexican and Mexican American culture I recommend going down to the located at 501 North Main Street in Downtown Los Angeles.