Rushing Waters, Rising Dreams How the Arts Are Transforming a Community
The Northeast San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles is the second largest community of Mexicans and Central Americans in the United States with 500,000 people. Yet, until 2001 the Northeast Valley had no trade bookstores, movie houses, art galleries, or decent cultural spaces. That year Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural opened its doors, first as a cultural café, which in ten years has provided workshops in music, visual arts, dance, theater, writing, and indigenous cosmology—along with an art gallery, a poetry press, a youth empowerment project, and the only annual outdoor literacy and performance festival in the area, “Celebrating Words: Written, Performed & Sung.”
Rushing Waters, Rising Dreams borrows its name from the name of one of its communities Pacoima, a Native American word meaning “rushing waters.” Interviews with artists, community leaders, politicians, and well-known personalities essays, research, photos, art pieces, poetry, and cultural tableau, explore twenty years of how the lack of neighborhood cultural spaces adversely affects struggling families and communities, and how the example of Tia Chucha’s inspires a cultural awakening and a revival of the economy and community spirit. The book speaks to a need for a national arts policy of cultural spaces, arts education, independent bookstores, public art projects, and more. Funded in part by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the book includes a companion DVD by filmmaker John Cantu.