Before last week, I didn’t even know the wherabouts of the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center (ESB-MACC). I think of myself as pretty knowledgeable when it comes to all of the free museums and galleries around the Austin area. So I am very embarrassed about having previously missed this amazing location.
Tucked just behind the hot spots on Rainey St., the Center also backs up to Lady Bird Lake’s hike and bike trail. The Center itself is something to behold. With bright white, hand-chiseled stone covering an impressive modern design, the architecture gives nod to the ancient ruins of Mexico. You’ll want to first take a moment to walk around the outside of the building before heading in. You can’t miss the colorful path designed by Benito Huerta that runs diagonally through the grounds featuring black, red, and yellow pavers. And if you go up to the balcony and view from above, you can see that this design represents the Mexican Milk Snake, a friendly snake found on both sides of the US and Mexico border. The interior of the Center features two gorgeous art galleries as well as several classrooms used for art and music classes and community events.
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The Center is free and open to the public. As noted on the Center’s website, it is dedicated to the preservation, creation, presentation, and promotion of Mexican American cultural arts and heritage. Discussions and planning of the Center began in the 1970s, but it took over 30 years to bring this building to fruition.
My 7-year-old fancies himself something of a visual artist. So I had a really delightful time browsing the galleries with him and hearing his opinions and interpretations. We both marveled at the diversity of the single artist’s varied mediums in the Main Gallery — oil paintings, woodcuts, screenprints, and sketches. You can check out José Francisco Treviño’s exhibit called “An Awakening” through November 30, 2013. The downstairs Community Gallery features sculptures by Luis R. Gutiérrez, which will also be on display until November 30th.
This is surely a perfect time of year to visit the Center. They are offering great selection of fun storytimes and classes for the community, including the Dia de los Muertos celebration on November 2, 2013. Below you’ll find a list of FREE events, but be sure to check out the website for all of the classes and offerings, some at very low cost for children and adults.
Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center
600 River St. Austin, TX, 78701
Monday – Thursday, 10:00am – 6:00pm
Friday, 10:00am to 5:30pm
Saturday, 10:00am to 4:00pm
Freelance web producer, Heidi Okla is mom to three boys (ages 3, 5, and 7), and can’t pass up any opportunity for fun family adventures.