Chicano Humanities and Arts Council Reopening Signifies New Beginning 

Article & Photos by Alexsandra Ruiz-Ortiz for Latin Life Denver Media

It is First Friday in August ,the sound of drums vibrate throughout 222 Santa Fe Drive and people crowd around Aztec Groupo Huitzilopochtli.This opening ceremony marks a new era for Chicano Humanities and Arts Council (CHAC) as they welcome all for their grand re-opening. After years of being perched at 772 Santa Fe Drive, CHAC had to say goodbye to their beloved building and relocate. Higher rents in Denver and the on-going gentrification in Santa Fe Arts District have not dampened their spirits.

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CHAC Grand Reopening_5The new space is a long walk from the heart of the main Santa Fe Arts Dist. Even so, hundreds of people crowded into the brightly lit art gallery to enjoy the artwork of over two dozen artists. The new location in contrast to the folk art feel of the original space is modern with glossy floors, clean white walls, and marble counter tops. DJ Big Moe beats vibrate throughout the rooms. It feels fresh and new.

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Founded by a group of visual and performing artists back in 1978, CHAC established themselves as a place where Chicano/Latino artists can display their artworks to be seen by the Denver Chicano/Latino community and the surrounding areas. The gallerycontinues to promote and preserves the culture, as well as showcase exhibits and events.

Now with the new location up and running, Lucille Rivera, the Executive Director, will guide her team, artist and members into the future. The new team consistsof:Cynthia Mascarenes – Executive Assistant, Sean Trujillo – Event Coordinator, Michelle Sanchez – Education Coordinator, and Aaron Nuanes – Educator.

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Rivera said of the new move, “CHAC has always been and will continue to set trends.  As an anchor in the art district our move to the new location will ensure that the art district on Santa Fe will continue to grow and expand.”

Her vision is clear“CHAC has been in existence for 40 years and I believe we’re the pioneer gallery for Latino/Chicano artist.  The founders had a vision for our community and here we still are.  We are stronger than ever!  People come to CHAC not because we are on the Santa Fe art walk; they come because we are CHAC.  During this transition one of our most famous longtime artist said to me “build it, and they will come.”

She added, “And they came!  It was an amazing night at CHAC on our grand opening.  I saw artist that I have not seen for years, some of the first artist to ever show at CHAC were there.  Someone told me it felt like home.”


It does feel like home. A home is not where the building is, but rather where the family is. As CHAC continues to grow, so will the family, those who follow CHAC for the artists, programs, and events, no matter where the building is located.

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