In the month of March 2023, LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes welcomes the Spring with a series of programs for families and others highlighting the influence of two relevant figures for Mexican-American history and culture, Benito Juárez and César Chávez, as well as offering options to explore Mexican gastronomy through classes and demos. It will also open its doors to Latina entrepreneurs and a celebration of LGBTQ+ community. Click here for a complete listing of upcoming events at LA Plaza.
On Sunday, March 12, families and the curious can participate in the commemoration of the birth of Don Benito Juarez, one of the most influential social and political figures of Mexico. They will do it with music, traditional dance, food, beverage, and crafts. Benito Juarez was a Zapotec born in Oaxaca and served as the 26th president of Mexico from 1858 to 1872, he was the first indigenous president of Mexico.
This is the first time LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, the cultural hub of Mexican Americans and Latinos in downtown LA, hosts a Festival de la Primavera Family Day. The festival is organized in collaboration with the Regional Organization of Oaxaca (ORO), who will be presenting Grupo Folklórico Huaxyacac, Grupo Folklórico Princesa Donají and Ballet Folklórico nueva Antequera.
Among the various activities available for free for families, is the Alebrijes de Primavera: Mask-Making Workshop. Alebrijes are brightly colored Mexican art handcrafts widely produced throughout the Oaxaca valley region representing real and imaginary creatures such as coyotes, monsters, and a combination of other animals. Kids will be able to celebrate spring/primavera and Oaxaca by designing their own alebrije mask inspired by springtime colors and animals.
Two weeks later, on March 26, families will again gather at LA Plaza to participate in César Chávez Family Day, a traditional festivity at the cultural center. Through this four-hour program, attendants will learn about the fight for farm labor rights through a celebration of activist and labor leader, César Chávez.
Cesar Chavez was a Mexican-American labor leader and civil rights activist who dedicated his life’s work to what he called la causa (the cause): the struggle of farm workers in the United States to improve their working and living conditions through organizing and negotiating contracts with their employers.
Attendees will enjoy dance and art, culinary and garden workshops. Guest performers include Xipe Totec Aztec dancers, Ballet Folklorico Y Arriba Mexico, Tierra Blanca Arts Center, and Mariachi Las Catrinas. Food and beverages will be available for sale for both Family Days.
Other activities taking place at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes through March are cooking classes, tastings and talks at LA Plaza Cocina, the first museum dedicated to Mexican and Mexican-American gastronomy and a branch of LA Plaza. Among them: Platicas y Pruebas: Josefina Velazquez de Leon: Mexico’s First Celebrity Chef; Cocina Demo – Ensalada de Nopales; and Hecho con Amor: Mole Made Easy.
As part of the exhibition Hostile Terrain: The Undocumented Migration Project, LA Plaza will host a talk and community workshop entitled Hostile Terrain 94: Witnessing and Remembering the Migrants Lost at the Border. Participants will experience the intimate narrative and assist in handwriting individual toe tags that represent migrants who have died trying to cross the Sonoran Desert of Arizona from the mid-1990s to the present.
LATINAFest, the largest gathering on the West Coast celebrating the Latina entrepreneurial spirit, will also take place at LA Plaza on March 19, while Jotería: A Cultural Event, an afternoon highlighting queer Latinx culture, and an evening of community engagement takes place on March 25. The latter event is presented by LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes and Salvies Who Lunch.