About Arts & Culture



The FRONT, Casa Familiar’s Arts and Culture Center was established to connect people to the arts. The vision for this space was to make sure that the marginalized community of San Ysidro, could offer a venue where children, families, seniors, everyone could learn about art, its different forms and mediums, and offer creative opportunities.

Casa Familiar’s Arts & Culture Development is innovating to promote cultural identity, the preservation and celebration of traditions, and to integrate the organization’s social service agenda 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, Educational & Cultural Partnerships, Forums & Events, Artistic & Curatorial Residencies and Exhibitions.

Education & Cultural Partnerships:

Our Arts & Culture partnerships & educational programs focus on the nurturing the creation of artistic expression. Examples of 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 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.   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 Development is uniquely positioned to serve as a border archive and research assistance 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

“Festival Fronteras/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 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.   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.


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 cultural production, while claiming this border region as a unique artistic laboratory. Since its opening, THE FRONT: A Collaborative of Arts, Culture, 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.

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