With perseverance and a drive to continue its mission, the Chicano Humanities And Arts Council (CHAC) Gallery has a new home in the 40 West Arts District. CHAC will celebrate with a Grand Opening on Friday, June 3rd, 2022, from 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. at 1560 Teller St. Lakewood, CO 80014. The opening exhibit will be “A Journey Through Generations” in honor of Alicia Cardenas who was among those killed in the Denver and Lakewood shooting spree this past December.
After being housed for nearly 25 years in the Santa Fe Arts Dist. the Covid pandemic forced CHAC to unexpectedly terminate its lease in July of 2020.
Instead of closing down Colorado’s oldest Chicano-based arts nonprofit after 50 years of operation, CHAC partnered with other organizations and worked virtually to keep the organization alive for the past two years.
Keeping CHAC Gallery going took community support, teamwork, faith and hard work. “We didn’t want the legacy of CHAC to stop,” said executive director Brenda Gurule. “During this time, CHAC was honored to have long-time CHAC artist, Alicia Cardenas, curate Generations, a multigenerational art exhibit in 2021. Cardenas’s vision was to partner young Chicana/o/x and Latina/o/x artists with seasoned CHAC artists.”
This summer, CHAC will honor Alicia Cardenas by continuing her legacy with a three-month exhibition “A Journey Through Generations,” showcasing elder and emerging artists and with a youth mentorship program named in her honor. Alicia De Olivera Cardenas (March 22, 1977-December 27th, 2021) was the owner of Denver’s tattooing and piercing business, Sol Tribe. She brought a spiritual and ritualistic focus to her work, rooted in her studies in cultural anthropology and her indigenous heritage. She unrelentingly pushed the tattooing and piercing industries to be more culturally responsive and respectful to Indigenous roots.
In addition to the Generations exhibition, the CHAC grand opening will feature long-time collaborators, Aztec Dance Troupe Huitzilopochtli, in tribute to their recently deceased Capitan Raul Chávez. Enjoy music, food and local vendors in what is being touted as the long-awaited “Celebration of Faith and Perseverance” added Gurule. All events are free and open to the public.
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