Monday, March 30, 2009

Casa de la Cultura gets new name

Casa de la Cultura/Center for Latino Arts in Boston debuted its new name on Saturday: “Villa Victoria Center for the Arts.” The name re-identifies the center with Villa Victoria, a 435-unit, mainly Puerto Rican, affordable housing community in the South End.

The arts center opened at the community-building organization Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción in 1986 as the Villa Victoria Cultural Center, but the first director, Jorge Hernandez died three weeks later. So it was quickly renamed The Jorge Hernandez Cultural Center -- with the sign outside saying both Jorge Hernandez Cultural Center and Villa Victoria Cultural Center. In 2003, it was renamed Casa de la Cultura/Center for Latino Arts.

Confusion ensued. The new name change aims to clarify that all the intuition’s arts programming -- gallery, theater, dance programming -- falls under the center.

“People have asked why we dropped the word ‘Latino’,” center director Javier Torres tells me. “One of the things we want to try to do is build cross-cultural collaboration.” Leaders also hope the new name will be more attractive to potential renters of the space, he says.


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