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San Diego City Council Approves 20-Year Lease For Chicano Park Museum

August 9, 2018 1:41 p.m.

San Diego City Council Approves 20-Year Lease For Chicano Park Museum


Josephine Talamantes, Chicano Park Steering Committee

Related Story: San Diego City Council Approves 20-Year Lease For Chicano Park Museum


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

This week the Chicano Park Museum and Cultural Center got what it's wanted for years. The San Diego City Council granted the center a 20 year lease on a property at 1960 national Ave.. The park Steering Committee wants to use the building to expand services programs and exhibitions related to the art history and Sciences of the Americas. Now that the lease has been granted what do Park organizers have to do to see the rest of that dream come true. Joining me is Josephine Telemann as chair of the board of the Chicano Park Museum and Cultural Center. Josephine welcome to the program. It's great to be here. Were you at all surprised by the unanimous City Council vote granting this building to the Chicano Park Museum and Cultural Center.

I was very interesting. I went in with no expectations hoping for the best. Praying for the best. But I was so pleased that everyone supported it. I was very happy and many of the members of the community and just so you know the Chicano Park Museum and Cultural Center is its own separate 501 c 3. There are members of the steering committee that are on the board. But there are members of the board that are not members of the Steering Committee. It is a separate entity working in unison with the steering committee as the steering committee were the initial negotiators of the building back in nineteen eighty. So many of the archives an archival room that we will have within the museum will be specifically for the 48 years that have been collected by Tommy Amadio. They are her archives. What's your vision for the new center. The vision for the center is to focus on art science and history. We've been working virtually for the last three years collecting oral histories of many of the elders that are still around in the community of Logan heights slash Barrio Logan and we've maintained them on our website. It's also a focus as a community center and a visitor and welcoming center to Chicano Park San Diego's newest landmark. To help build cross cultural community communication and understanding and to work together.

Now as you mentioned Chicano Park was recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 2016 so it's recognized as important to the history of the country. How do you look to Chicano Park for inspiration and heritage and what does it mean to you.

It's my total I think at this point in life but the community has recently gained State recognition as a cultural district and much of that is based on the fact that Chicano Park is a national landmark which is important because the area of Logan avenue that is now very commercial has always been commercial and the park only adds to it and the murals add to it. So the theme of the park the theme of the murals carries itself out through the Logan Avenue consortium through the urban core and the Barrio Logan Planning Group and the Barrio Logan association is all reflective of what you see in Chicano Park. It is. It is the total identity.

What do you think you'll be doing first now that you've secured this place.

Well again I'm sure we'll wait a couple of months before we actually get the keys. But what we'll probably do is a complete reassessment of the use of the space. I've been working with our RJC architects and they have provided through a no pro bono process. Some designs based on our input and so we'll probably take that to the next step. Looking at how to best utilize the space within the facility for a gallery exhibition rotating shows and then other areas for workshops and activities. But then areas for research and collection and archival placement. So we have to look very carefully because even though it's about 10000 square feet it's truly not enough. It would be great if it was five storeys high you know an underground parking but that we're not there yet. When do you hope to be open to the public. I would say early next year. Yes I would hope and that's that would be a basic visitor information. We figure working with the city and some of the restoration that they still have to do for the building. We'll probably take another couple of months for the initial things that can be done and then we will start to assess how we partially open to welcome visitors because we still as part of the Steering Committee. They coordinate all the tours so there's tours happening all the time so we'll get them into a space where they have the archives but then they can also facilitate the tours and then a section coming into the building for welcoming and information and education.

I've been speaking with Josephine aliment as chair of the board of the new Chicano Park Museum and Cultural Center and Josephine. Thank you and congratulations. Thank you so much.