La Raza Galeria Posada introduced the public Saturday to its latest incarnation in its 40-year history a new location on an unassuming 2-acre lot on Front Street next to Sacramento's Miller Park.
It did so with an all-day fundraiser with acts such as Ballet Folklorico Nube de Oro, Fusion Latina Dance Company and LuvTaxi performing.
The 2,000-square-foot aluminum building, once a Parks and Recreation corporation yard office, now houses La Raza's offices and galleries.
The rough-hewn nature of the site and building is a plus for Marie Acosta, La Raza's executive director.
"Just the interior says industrial arts space to me," Acosta said.
Over its four decades, the organization has had many homes, including a stint at the Heilbron Mansion at Seventh and O streets. Until the move to Miller Park this spring, the nonprofit had been renting a small retail space in midtown.
Its current location, dubbed the Miller Park Art Complex, is nestled between a police horse stable and several large fuel tanks owned by Conoco-Phillips.
Many in attendance Saturday were growing fond of the site, including Andrea "Yaya" Porras, an art curator and art installer.
"I'm very proud of La Raza for regenerating their efforts. I'm proud it's not going anywhere other than toward reincarnation," Porras said. "I think it's wonderful that its doors will now open to new people while still staying open to people that are part of its roots."
The move to Miller Park was meant to ease vexing financial difficulties. Last October Mario Gutierrez, its board president, said the organization, which operates on a $150,000 budget, needed to raise $50,000 or it would be forced to lay off staff and close its doors.
Securing the new space, which La Raza will rent from the city of Sacramento for roughly $400 a month, may prove a boon to the organization.
"We got that deal because of the condition of the building and the expectation that we would take care of and upgrade the site," Acosta said.
Upgrades are definitely planned for the site, she said.
The organization has three artists studios set up in the building. It is planning raise revenue by renting out a large entry room for workshops and rehearsals.
So far La Raza has rented the room as a rehearsal space to the Images Theatre Company.
"The board has discussed the vision of making this our home and the home of other organizations that don't have homes or can't afford their rent, making this more of an artists collective. That's a long-term goal," Acosta said.
Before that can be done, Acosta said, the nonprofit hopes to raise $70,000 to renovate the space, which does not offer adequate central air conditioning or heat.
"Nonetheless, I love it here and the space is really working for us right now," she said.
"My greatest dream is to build this building up so that we can even have artist housing," Acosta said.
The move to the new building proved controversial when it was announced. Some, like county Supervisor Phil Serna, a crucial La Raza supporter, expressed concern that La Raza's departure from midtown would distance it too much from the city's art gallery scene.
Acosta said the nonprofit would continue some of its midtown activities, including its popular Dia de los Muertos event in midtown scheduled for November.