Looking back and celebrating 13 years



No one knew 13 years ago when we imagined Tia Chucha’s into existence that she would grow to be loved so much by so many. Like a child birthed into the world with hopes for a long and meaningful life, her creators wished for her the nurturing to make her strong, spirited, authentic and free. They knew the road would not be easy and set out to give her firm roots in community so she could weather any storms.


Tia Chucha’s Staff

Over the years Tia Chucha’s has been blessed with many people who have cared for her, shared their talents, and opened their hearts to make possible an abundance of offerings in arts and culture, books and healing.These servings of empowerment and love, worth and growth, have taught her many things, so that in her space others now learn to tap into their strength, spirit, authenticity and freedom. This is how it should be. This is why Tia Chucha’s exists.

As Tia Chucha’s turns 13, a new generation of cultural, artistic, creative transformation warriors are stepping forward to help lead the way in the next phase of Tia Chucha’s development. We thank all of you for being part of the effort to make neighborhood arts valued and accessible in our communities. We invite you to celebrate with her, to continue supporting her, and to make the next 13 years even more amazing.

Come celebrate with us on March 22nd Tia Chucha’s 13th Anniversary.

Que viva Tia Chuchas! The best is yet to come!

Trini Rodriguez, Operations Director
Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore


Celebrate Tia Chucha’s 13 years of transforming lives through the arts

Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore Co-Founder

When Tia Chucha’s opened its doors in 2001, we did so despite resource constraints and fiscal limitations. Arts funding in California, as in most states, have suffered substantial cuts since that time. In the fall of 2008, when the stock market crashed and the current financial crisis caused the worst recession in the U.S. since the Great Depression, Tia Chucha’s, like most arts-providing organizations, faced even harder times.

           Yet, we never gave up. Tia Chucha’s recognized what many funding sources had forgotten: the arts save lives. The arts transform individuals, families and communities. The arts are known to revitalize ailing economies—and to deepen the spiritual and cultural life of everyone.

            We are immensely grateful to those agencies and foundations who have supported our one-of-a-kind cultural, performance and bookstore space. These generous entities are lifesavers.

           Recently, however, I attended an LA City-sponsored meeting regarding a consolidated plan for the city that was quite disturbing. It was announced that many federal funds for services have been cut in half and the city is now forced to de-fund or reduce funding for key services.

          What services am I talking about? Proposed cuts in Fiscal Year 2015/2016 to Aging Services Delivery Systems from $1,358,516 to $0; AIDS Prevention from $1,041,941 to $0; Youth Nutrition and Recreation from $973,477 to $0; Gang Reduction Youth Development System/Summer Night Lights Program from $1,749,760 to 0; LA’s Best After School Programs from $500,880 to 0; Summer Youth Employment Program from $200,000 to $0; Community Beautification Program from to $150,000 to $0; Clean Streets, Clean Neighborhoods from $85,000 to $0… I can go on and on. You get the picture.

Tia Chucha’s Son Jarocho Students with Instructor Mapache

          It is wrong to cut these services. These services help our elderly, our poor, our children, our youth. They keep kids from joining gangs and getting caught up in the drug trade or violence. L.A. city’s overall homicides have declined since the extremely violent 1980 to 2000 period when some 15,000 young people were killed. Most of  this decline in homicides was due to youth development, including gang prevention/intervention programs.

           At the same time, money for law enforcement in the city is now about $1 billion. Prisons in California take in some $8 billion a year even though they have been under federal court oversight and a proven failure. When we don’t do what’s needed on the front end—with schools, the arts, youth services, training, and treatment—we are forced to contend with the back end: prisons, hospitals and funeral parlors.

           I know one thing—the money for needed resources exists. California is the richest state in the union and the eighth largest economy in the world. Yet the state also has the worst poverty rate in the country: close to 24 percent. This is unacceptable. Now our communities need to get educated and properly oriented to organize strategically and insist that our government helps those who are bearing the brunt of a failing economy.

           This is one man’s opinion, but I also know it’s one that resonates more and more with people who are beginning to wake up to the unequal nature of the economic, political and social realities of our time. It’s time for a new vision, new ideas, a new imagination. It’s time to realign resources and social wealth to human needs.

          For thirteen years Tia Chucha’s has provided needed transformative arts, culture and literacy resources for the North East San Fernando Valley communities. Come celebrate this success with us on March 22 for Tia Chucha’s 13th Anniversary!


This Valentine’s Day Meet Me @ Myke’s!

If you’re like me you tend to plan things last minute. There are a number of reasons for this but you’re working on it! Yay google calendar reminders! You have a significant other or maybe a really good friend or family member that you love and adore and you know they like receiving gifts because thats the love language they speak. (Thanks Gary D Chapman for this insight! If you have a chance check out the 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts) You realize Valentine’s Day is a little over two weeks away and you haven’t decided let alone purchased something for your loved one. Haaaaaaaaa!

Don’t fret. We got you friend. We’ll take care of the dinner and the gift! Sat. February 14 @ 6pm Tia Chucha’s & Myke’s Cafe bring to you Meet Me @ Myke’s: A Night of Love & Friendship; A Valentine’s Day fundraiser to benefit cultural arts programming!

Interested supporters can choose from 3 different grab bags. All grab bags include a dinner for two at Myke’s Cafe + a ton of other goodies! For more info or to purchase your grab bag visit: http://bit.ly/1hkJr9h

 Much Thanks to our Sponsors!

San Fernando Florist - San Fernando’s Florist since 1927 – Chavez Art

Myke's Cafesuicide-boxingnormablaque3030fitnesssweeney todds barber shopsweet escapades by rosie

Sign up for Winter Programming!

Start the new year right: Sign up for our new Winter workshops (from January through March).

Learn Son Jarocho!

Learn Son Jarocho!

Onsite classes at Tia Chucha’s:

  • Intermediate Guitar class for youth
  • Beginning Guitar class for adults
  • Son Jarocho (traditional instruments, song, and dance from Veracruz, Mexico)
  • Yoga for Beginners
Learn to paint a mural!

Learn to paint a mural!


Offsite Classes at El Nido Family Center provide:

  • Beginners Guitar class for youth
  • Mural Painting class for youth
  • Folklorico Mexican Dance


Register for classes at Tia Chucha’s Orientation Day on Thursday, January 9, 2014 from 6 to 7pm.

Our Ongoing Programming resumes too including:

  • Danza Temachtia Quetzalcoatl (Step-by-Step Danza)
  • Mexicayotl (Indigenous Knowledge Circle)
  • In the Words of Womyn (ITWOW)
  • Noches de Canto y Poesia (Spanish Open Mic)
  • Open Mic
  • Reiki Healing
  • Group Hiking
  • Coacihuah Yaoquizqueh (Women’s Warrior Council)

For a complete schedule of classes, location, days and times, and age check our website calendar or download our class schedule.

Winterlandia Is A Time To Celebrate Our Inner Child…


So why pay $92+ bucks per ticket to take your children to Disneylandia when you can take them to Winterlandia for FREE!

Meet Mr. Tigger the Chinchilla

Meet Mr. Tigger the Chinchilla

Sure there won’t be a mouse running around in red shorts but your little one will get a chance to hold and learn about a real live chinchilla.

Tia Chucha’s 3rd Annual Winterlandia & Marketplace event is a day to invest in community, celebrate our inner child and support a vital cultural space and bookstore by buying local.

Bring your children, family, and friends to enjoy a full day featuring children’s “Arts & Crafts”, a bicycle “Bici Ride”, an educational animal show, and a bilingual, interactive storytelling time with author Rene Colato Lainez, whose books will be available for sale and autographing. Show your support for this independent bookstore and cultural center, artists, and artisans by shopping at Tia Chucha’s this holiday season!

Get more details by visiting our event on  Facebook!
Print flyer here!

Ancestral Tradition of Dia de los Muertos

MictlantecuhtliDía de los Muertos is an ancient tradition that dates back to pre-colonial México. The indigenous peoples of Mexico honor those who have passed on with celebrations lasting two whole 20-day months.

Under the Mexica tradition the first month or veintena to celebrate the dead is known as Tlaxochimaco:The offering of Flowers, also known as Miccailhuitontli : the celebration of the small dead. The Second veintena is Xoco Huetzi: when the fruit falls, the celebration for the Dead in this month was known as Micca Ilhuitl.

cempoalxochitlDecorations for these celebrations included flowers of Cempoalxochitl, white and red flowers. Under today’s Gregorian calendar these months would fall under August and September. These festivities were a balance of celebrating life and remembering the dead. With time, these traditions and festivities were synchronized with the Catholic celebration of All Saints Day and All Souls Day, on November 1 and 2 respectively.

In preparation for our celebration of Dia de los Muertos on Saturday November 2 at the San Fernando Pioneer Cemetery we are having a series of Day of the Dead workshops every Saturday at Tia Chucha’s from 11:30am to 1pm. The last workshop will be held on Nov.2 at the San Fernando Pioneer Cemetery to prepare a community altar at the Dia de los Muertos celebration beginning at 3pm.

For more information regarding Mexica indigenous practices check out Mexihcayotl class on Tuesday nights.

We invite you to join us and learn more about this ancestral tradition!

What to wear for Dia de los Muertos?

"La Calavera Catrina" by Jose Guadalupe Posada

“La Calavera Catrina”
by Jose Guadalupe Posada

Dia de los Muertos is a time to honor the lives of people who’ve passed on. Traditionally people do processions to cemeteries where vigils, offerings and celebrations are held. Today new forms of active celebration include dressing up in Dia de los Muertos attire. Here are some ideas to inspire you for this day.

1. Explore a “look” based on Dia de los Muertos themed artists’ work. My favorite artist inspirations  come from Jose Guadalupe Posada, Sylvia Ji, and Hector Silva.

"La Bendita"  by Sylvia Ji

“La Bendita”
by Sylvia Ji

2. Find the right threads to wear. You can shop for low cost items at your local Thrift Stores and Flea Markets. Or you can make your attire using fabrics and trims from your local Fabric Stores. Another option is to re-work items you already own to dress up your usual clothes.

3. Come up with face painting designs. Use your researched artwork images as references to guide your face painting. Also check out some online tutorials. Here are two good examples for a Catrina look and Catrin look.

DOTD2012PhotoBooth4. Have fun and be creative. Remember this is an evening of remembrance and celebration so have fun with your creative attire!

Come show off your look at our Dia de los Muertos on Saturday, November 2nd from 3-9pm! We will be giving out free prizes for the first 50 individuals wearing Dia de los Muertos attire! Save the date and check out our facebook for more details.

BREAKING NEWS: Tia Chucha Press book receives the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award

Rushing Waters“Rushing Waters, Rising Dreams: How the Arts are Transforming a Community” has received a prestigious 2013 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award. The book’s editors, Luis J. Rodriguez and Denise M. Sandoval, will attend the award ceremonies on Saturday, December 7,2013  from 2 to 5 pm at the Oakland Public Library Rockridge Branch, 5366 College Avenue, Oakland CA 94618.

“Rushing Waters, Rising Dreams: How the Arts are Transforming a Community” was created in 2013 with a grant from the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and individual donations, including from an Indiegogo.com internet campaign. It features essays, interviews, poetry, photography, color art reproductions, and more. Last year the book was selected as a Bronze Winner in the multicultural literature category by the Independent Publishers of America. A 40-minute documentary film of the same name, written and directed by John F. Cantu, has been shown across Los Angeles, California and other cities in the United States. It is presently making the rounds of local film festivals.


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