MACC is gearing up for a pre-renovation celebration

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Hispanic Heritage Month is an exciting time for the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center in Austin. There is A week full of festivities awaits Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead, a traditional ancestral holiday where people pay respect to those loved ones who have passed on.

The celebration will be the last major event at the MACC before a major renovation of the center begins later this year.

The center was established in 2007 on historic Rainey Street. The street is now known for bars, restaurants and apartment towers, but the area was once home to mostly Chicano residents in the 1950s. The center plans to stay on its grounds in downtown Austin to stay connected to its heritage.

“MACC’s mission is to preserve, promote and be a showcase for all Latino culture here in Austin and Central Texas,” said program manager Olivia Tamzarian in an interview with KXAN evening anchor Britt Moreno.

The center features exhibits, events and programs that explore Mexican culture and heritage. In mid-October, artists and community members were creating ofrendas, elaborate altars honoring people who have passed away, for viewing during the upcoming Dia de los Muertos event.

The two-year phase extension will include facility renovations and site improvements to meet the growing needs of the community.

“We’re going to see more classrooms, a full youth education wing and then artist studios because that’s something we’re always doing murals and art projects here.” And then, on the other side, it will be in a cafe, sort of a culinary space. And then also a big conference hall, more performance spaces,” said Tamzarian.

A groundbreaking ceremony is in December, and the project will be completed in 2025. Until then, the center is gearing up for its 15th annual Dia de los Muertos celebration.

The celebration will begin on Tuesday, November 1, with an Austin Studio Tour exhibition organized by Big Medium, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and cultivating artists and the contemporary arts in Austin and across Texas. An evening filled with music, local food and special commissions of site-specific artwork.

A viewing of the ofrenda is scheduled for Wednesday, November 2n.d. MACC will have presentations of altars created by community members, and will also feature author Mariana of Dining with the Dead. The public is invited to contribute to the altars and enjoy bread and hot chocolate outside the gallery.

The week’s events lead up to the big “Festival On The Zocalo” fiesta on Saturday, November 5. All events this Saturday will be free to the public.

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