The Mechicano Art Center, as it looked in the 1970s, was located on Figueroa Street at Avenue 54. City officials will decide this week whether to designate the building a historic-cultural monument. | Photo by Oscar Castillo/

Speaking up for Highland Park’s Chicano heritage

2021 Arts & Culture Editions January

By Bill Hendrickson

The Highland Park Heritage Trust is asking for the public’s support at a virtual city hearing on Thursday, Jan. 21 at 10 a.m. At stake is recognition for Highland Park’s role in Chicano art history.

To explain:

The Centro de Arte Público was located in this building on Figueroa Street between Avenues 56 and 57. | Photo by Jesus Sanchez/The Eastsider

In the 1970s, Figueroa Street in Highland Park was home to two Chicano art centers: Mechicano Art Center and Centro de Arte Público. The centers were havens of creativity where Chicano artists produced works that defined and reflected the era’s movimiento Chicano for social change and cultural recognition.  

This week, at the Jan. 21 public hearing, city officials will decide whether to designate the buildings that housed the centers as Historic-Cultural monuments.

The Highland Park Heritage Trust, which has led the drive to gain historic-cultural status for the buildings, says that public support at the hearing, is crucial to the success of the effort.

Details for participating in the hearing, which will be held by conference call and by Zoom, are here and are also given below.

The Highland Park Heritage Trust has pointed out that murals and historic buildings associated with the Chicano Movement of the 1960s and 1970s are under threat of demolition or defacement all over L.A. By speaking up at the hearing, you help to ensure that doesn’t happen to the buildings in Highland Park that housed the Mechicano Art Center (which was located at 5337-5341 N. Figueroa St.) and Centro de Arte Público (which was located at 5605-5607 N. Figueroa St.). 

Speaking up for monument status for the buildings also acknowledges the contributions to Latino culture and identity by the artists who worked there, including several whose work has resonated beyond Highland Park, Northeast L.A. and the Eastside. Among them: Carlos Almaraz, Guillermo Bejarano, Barbara Carrasco, Sonya Fe and Judithe Hernandez.

To listen in to the hearing or view on Zoom:

DIAL-IN NUMBER: (213) 621-2489 OR (818) 904-9450. 
MEETING ID: 849 0823 7140
PASSCODE: 545286

To offer public comment, you can either access the link located above or call 1 (213) 338-8477 or 1 (669) 900-9128 and use Meeting ID No. 849 0823 7140 and then press #. Press # again when prompted for participant ID. You may use passcode: 545286.

For more information, visit:

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1 thought on “Speaking up for Highland Park’s Chicano heritage

  1. Great to see interest in the history of the arts in Highland Park is still relevant.
    As the former director of Mechicano during those years, it brings back exciting memories
    of the activities we were having with the community and with the ” Centro de Arte Publico ”
    artists. Hopefully, the trust is successful with their efforts at today’s meeting.
    Joe D. Rodriguez

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