Manhattan Art Program kicks off cultural center on Pine Street

Jan. 27, 2012 at 5:05 p.m.
Updated Jan. 27, 2012 at 7:28 p.m.

Manhattan is coming to Pine Street.

The Manhattan Art Program has kicked off a new project at what it hopes will be a vibrant and vital part of the community around Pine Street Park.

"There's no concerted effort there as far as having a real location or kind of place where people can come and gather," said Maura Sheehan, executive director of MAP. "It's going to, hopefully, become a really lively part of the community."

In its grand opening on Thursday, Sheehan said the center at 803 Pine St. attracted everyone from 2-year-olds to 12-year-olds to grandparents.

To jump start the free activities in the Pine Street Cultural Community Center, two bilingual art teachers are providing guided, hands-on projects in mural painting and clay sculpture to children and their families after school on Thursdays and Fridays, and on Saturdays.

The result, Sheehan said, should be a public exhibition space - a "living room" of projects that reflect the community surrounding the center.

Other ideas for the center include learning how to make ofrenda, craft a retablo, embroider Mayan designs, model a Chiapas and play Conjunto music.

"A lot of these arts are dying out. They're not being maintained," Sheehan said. "It would be so easy to be lost in one or two generations, so that makes (sharing it) all the more important."

Last semester, students from Victoria schools who participated in the art project's programs created a series of Mexican-themed murals, which will be displayed on the walls of the new Pine Street Center, Sheehan said.

The goal is to create a festive, welcoming atmosphere and to engage the community in projects that reflect their heritage.

"The idea would be not just create this lively community-based atmosphere, but also be able to keep the Mexican traditions alive," Sheehan said.



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