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This document by Tomás Ybarra-Frausto details the founding of La Galería de la Raza in San Francisco Mission District in July 1970. Conceived as a space for the development and promotion of Chicana/o visual artists, the Galería also functioned as the primary archive and center for information about Chicano art. The document includes information about the kinds of exhibitions held there during its first decade of operation and also details the critical role the Galería played in the development of new forms of and possibilities for artistic production, including Chicano calendarios [calendars] and altars, as well as Day of the Dead celebrations. The document also includes a discussion of the ways in which the Galería and its commercial counterpart, Studio 24, straddled their own interests with the ideals of the Chicano Movement.


Tomás Ybarra-Frausto has provided leading scholarship in the subject of Chicano art since the 1970s and has influenced subsequent generations of scholars. This essay was written on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Galería and was to be included in a catalog that was never published. It offers an invaluable historical documentation of the Galería history and endeavors from Ybarra’s “insider-outsider” perspective, as a former member of the Galería board of directors and as a Chicano art scholar and writer. Ybarra-Frausto also contextualizes the Galería within the larger national discourse on alternative cultural spaces and their role to play in a changing United States society.

Chicano Studies Research Center, UCLA, Los Angeles, USA
Courtesy of Tomás Ybarra-Frausto, San Antonio, TX