Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural

Transforming the community through arts, culture, and literacy

Grantee Cohort Fall 2017, Spring 2020

Location California

Founded in 2001 in the northeast San Fernando Valley, Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural transforms the community through the arts, culture and literacy. The organization’s publishing wing, Tia Chucha Press, is one of the country’s leading small cross-cultural presses focused on socially engaged poetry and literature.

Through an Art for Justice Activating Art and Advocacy grant, the Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network, Somos LA Arte and Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural will lead 15 Youth Justice Fellows in creating life-sized wood cutouts of themselves to visually challenge and change harmful stories told about young people. On one side of the cutout each young person captured the harmful narratives that society projects onto them and on the other side, they illustrated how they see themselves – showing the gap between stereotype and reality. The pieces were displayed for the Board of Supervisors to see when they voted on the recommendation to move all youth out of the probation system and into another existing county system.

With Art for Justice’s support, Tia Chucha’s signature project, From Trauma to Transformation, created an anthology of poems entitled Make a Poem Cry: Creative Writing from California’s Lancaster Prison written by the participants of Luis J. Rodriguez class. The anthology currently contains 30 writers thanks to its initial Art for Justice grant. Also, it launched cultural art programming centered on writing by formerly incarcerated individuals in greater Los Angeles to change the national dialogue on prisons.

With its current grant, Tia Chucha’s will release a documentary film following the project’s creative writing and theater courses and performances provided in reentry centers, transitional housing programs, community colleges, and community centers throughout Los Angeles. Art for Justice grant will fully fund From Trauma to Transformation programming for formerly and currently incarcerated adults and youth in creative writing, theater, and visual arts.