Archdiocese Sells Building Housing Venerable Chicano Cultural Center

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Leaders of the Southland's most prominent Chicano cultural center are expressing shock over the sale of their long time venue. KPCC's Adolfo Guzman-Lopez has the story.

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez: For 30 years, Self Help Graphics in East L.A. has run printmaking workshops and staged plays and concerts at a two-story building on Cesar Chavez Avenue. The organization's founder, the late Sister Karen Boccalero, secured the building free of charge from her Catholic religious order, the Sisters of Saint Francis.

The order sold the building last week for an undisclosed amount. Stephen Saiz, vice president of Self Help Graphics' board of directors, said his organization had told the order and Los Angeles's Roman Catholic Archdiocese that it was searching for money to buy the property.

Stephen Saiz: We weren't kind of given that first opportunity, or even been able to be in the loop with the developer who purchased the building as far as what his intentions were, what his plans for redevelopment were, any of that.

Guzman-Lopez: Saiz said a bishop had assured him the building wouldn't be sold. The religious order's lawyer said Self Help Graphics was given an opportunity to buy the building.

The proceeds from the sale, he said, would be split between the Sisters of Saint Francis and the L.A. Archdiocese. The building's sale pushes the arts group into great uncertainty, board member Saiz said, because Self Help Graphics may have to find a new home by the end of the year.