This Week In L.A. History: The City Got Its First Mexican American Cultural Center


LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes opened its doors on April 16th, 2011. 

Los Angeles’ first Mexican American cultural center is celebrating its second anniversary this week. Situated next to the Olvera street marketplace and El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument (where our city was founded in 1781), LA Plaza celebrates Mexican and Mexican American culture and its influence on the greater Los Angeles area. 

With facilities spanning 2.2 acres, a free grand opening, and an inaugural exhibition named LA Starts Here!—about how Mexicans and Mexican Americans played a part in the founding and shaping of Los Angeles history and culture—LA Plaza opened hoping for a bright future. Unfortunately, just six months after its grand opening, the cultural center was struggling. At the time, only 4,052 paid admissions were recorded, the chief executive was let go amid allegations of mismanagement, and the staff had been cut from 28 down to 12. 

Despite the rough patch, LA Plaza remains open. This month, the center is hosting three events: Earth Day on April 21, Explore Native Ingredients on April 25, and Día de los Niños on April 27.

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