ACC hosts a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday, April 11, to celebrate the relaunch of the college’s Latin American Cultural Center — formerly named the Latino/Latin American Studies Center. A new mural specifically designed for the Center also will be unveiled during the ceremony.

Latin American Cultural Center Ribbon-Cutting
Date: Tuesday, April 11
Time: 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Location: Latin American Cultural Center, ACC Riverside Campus, Building G

The center, also called El Centro, provides a safe and inclusive space for students to explore and celebrate their cultural heritage. 

“We evolved and expanded the Center to ensure we can be more inclusive of all students who feel a connection to the work we do. Part of our renaming was done to replace the word ‘Latino’ — which is a gendered term — and to better align with the college’s other cultural centers, such as the Asian and Pacific Islander Cultural Center and the African American Cultural Center,” says Gary Moreno, Latin American Cultural Center director. 

El Centro moved into a remodeled space down the hall from its previous location in Building G at ACC Riverside Campus. The new space features a common area with room for film screenings, a library with a rare book collection, and storage. “Additionally, we are next to an outdoor balcony that we envision as a patio in abuelita’s [grandma’s] house. Eventually, we hope to fill it with the kinds of plants one would find at grandma’s house,” says Moreno.

El Centro Mural

The new mural created by Carmen Rangel can be found inside El Centro. Rangel is a former ACC student and a local artist. Her work can be seen across Austin in popular locations including the underpass on North Lamar Blvd., the Tacorrido on Riverside Dr., and at Juan in a Million on Cesar Chavez St.

“Me being a minority who grew up in Austin and seeing all the change, it is really important to highlight other people who aren’t normally highlighted and people that look like me,” says Rangel. “As a first-generation Mexican-American, I wanted to create a piece that was inclusive and inspiring to a lot of us.”

Her mural for the LACC features a young Latina on the first day of class. Rangel used a model of Guatemalan descent and depicts the varied landscapes from which Latin American immigrants originate. 

The Future of El Centro

The Center launched a specialty book club and film series for students, employees, and the community to enjoy. Beginning fall 2023, it will launch a speaker series and develop a research fellowship for its extensive library collections.

“We hope to fill the walls of the center with art that is locally produced to inspire our students to the great heights they are capable of reaching,” says Moreno. “Finally, we have partnered with organizations like the Tejano Genealogy Society and Latino-owned businesses, like Casa Colombia, to further forge our bonds with the community.”   

The community is invited to explore the new space, see the new mural, and learn more about the Latin American Cultural Center at the ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday, April 11. RSVP here.