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Casa Familiar’s Arts & Culture Division

Casa Familiar’s Arts & Culture Division was conceived as a cultural think tank that would  amplify the “neighborhood” of San Ysidro as a site of culturalproduction, while claiming this border region as a unique artistic laboratory.  Since its opening, THE FRONT: A Collaborative of Arts, Cultural, Design & Urbanism, one of Casa Familiar’s art spaces, has enabled the production of new social and cultural relations bringing together arts and social programming, affordable housing and urban research at the border between San Diego and Tijuana.   Casa Familiar is in the final stages towards obtaining construction permits for the realization of its internationally recognized affordable housing prototypes “Living Rooms at the Border” and “Senior Housing with Childcare”. Through these projects, Casa Familiar has sought to activate vacant small parcels in San Ysidro, into small socio-economic and cultural engines. These  projects are part of Casa Familiar’s ongoing effort to thread art spaces into a series of affordable housing projects that it is developing throughout this border neighborhood’s older urban fabric, producing an interwoven campus, integrating affordable housing, public spaces and social  service infrastructure.

Four Areas of Concentration:

Casa Familiar’s Arts & Culture Division was established to promote cultural identity, the preservation and celebration of traditions, and to integrate the organization’s social service agenda with a local cultural policy, resulting in the production of new ideas, new spaces for art and economy by fostering creative expressions and collaborations with artists, architects, cultural producers and the community. The activities are organized along four areas, Exhibitions, Forums & Events, Artistic & Curatorial Residencies and Educational & Cultural Partnerships.

I. Exhibitions (we have two exhibition spaces)

A. The Front 1a. Marcos “ERRE” Ramirez 2a. Suzie Bielak 3a. Roberto Salas B. El Salon (the Church) 1b. Momita (Opening April 2011) 2b. Roberto Salas Artist Residency Studio

II. Forums & Events

A. Forums 1a. Political Equator 2a. Border Dialogues 3a. Sin Limites

4a. Fronteras Festival B. Events 1b. Dia de la Mujer 2b. Dia de los Muertos 3b. Hecho en Casa

III. Artistic & Curatorial Residencies

A. Roberto Salas

IV. Education & Cultural Partnerships

A. Classes/Workshops 1a. Dance & Music 2a. Art Workshops B. Cultural Partnerships

1a. UCSD 2a. Mopa

Education & Cultural Partnerships:

Education Casa Familiar’s Arts & Culture Division oversee’s several educational programs, focusing on the nurturing and creation of artistic expression. Some of the classes and workshops held are:  Memories in the Making – is a fine arts program for people with Alzheimer’s. As part of the Memories in the Making program, patients with no art background can create art to regain the ability to communicate while boosting self-esteem and opening the channels of communication with loved ones.  Dance & Music Classes- Various classes are offered to community members including Folklorico, Mariachi, Aztec Dance, Piano and others.  SEPIA- (Seniors Exploring. Photography, Identity and Appreciation), a program with the San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts, brings a photography instructor to our facilities to teach seniors about self expression through photography.  Cultural Parternships we have structured a cultural corridor between the organization and collaborators in order to bridge, rethink and re-define the role of artists collaborating with local communities.  The focus of building these relationships is on revitalizing civic participation, activating the role of the arts and humanities in generating new modes of public and civic engagement.

Forums & Events:

Casa Familiar’s Arts & Culture Division is uniquely positioned to serve as a border archive and research center.  Since its inception,  it has been negotiating and  facilitating new relationships and collaborations between universities (academic research), government (policy makers) and community (grass roots activism).


“Border Dialogues”  - NEA funded a cross-border forum organized and hosted by Casa Familiar bringing together artists, architects, scholars and activists to discuss the plans for the transformation of the San Ysidro Port of Entry

“Political Equator” a collaboration project between Center for Urban Ecology, UCSD and Casa Familiar – A biennial cross border arts and culture bi-national forum event moving between San Diego and Tijuana which has brought renowned national and international artists, scholars and community activist to San Ysidro

“Las Fronteras Festival” – created to expose the underserved community of Tijuana/San Ysidro to fine arts from both sides of the border. Our past Fronteras  Festivals have introduced genres of music such as opera, modern dance and classical music as well as photojournalist exhibitions, and discussion forums.

“Sin Limites” – A series of community meetings, workshops and exhibitions –San Ysidro Sin Limites” is the value of social capital (peoples participation) in urban  development, enhancing the role of communities in producing housing and public infrastructure.

Events:  Casa Familiar’s Arts & Culture Division has established a series of annual events and classes which promote cultural identity, the preservation of traditions, and the development of business opportunities for artists.  Amongst these are Dia de los Muertos Festival, Hecho en Casa craft marketplace, Dia de la Mujer Juried Exhibit & Celebration and the Memories in the Making class and annual exhibit.

Artistic & Curatorial Residency Programs

Artistic Residencies: This program supports artists in the development of new projects through an intense living experience in the community of San Ysidro, where he/she engages in exchanges and day to day living among the residents and Casa Familiar  community.   The program allows the artist to engage and educate the community to cultivate an appreciation of the contemporary artist and the creative process.   The program hosts an artist at a time, providing housing, paying for production materials, and a stipend, and in return expects the artist to interact with the public by offering a class, or presentation in a style of their choosing.  It may also result in new work production, an exhibit, forums and /or community engagement.    Curatorial Residencies:  The program seeks to support diverse points of view and expressions to reflect the complexities, beauty and qualities of the bi-national community that is San Ysidro; by engaging and inviting curators from all over the world to lend their unique eye and perspective to our region, culminating in collaborative planning for exhibitions, programming and or thought-provoking discussion forums.

Arts & Culture Team:

Andrea Skorepa President & CEO

Luz Camacho Arts & Culture Officer

Leticia Gomez Franco Director of Arts & Culture

Linda Caballero-Sotelo Arts & Culture Advisor
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