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School of Arts and Culture at Mexican Heritage Plaza

Project Status: In Development

The School of Arts and Culture at the Mexican Heritage Plaza is a vibrant, cultural institution in East San José. Founded in 2011, La Plaza activates a vital local asset – the Mexican Heritage Plaza, a 6-acre, city-owned facility with an expansive plaza and theatre.

The Mexican Heritage Plaza (MHP or La Plaza) is a uniquely designed cultural facility located in the Mayfair neighborhood of east San Jose, a predominantly Mexican American neighborhood since the mid-20th century.

Annually, La Plaza hosts over 150,000 people through its core programming. Its mission is to catalyze creativity and empower community. They do this by uplifting East San José’s rich diversity through authentic placekeeping and relevant multicultural productions.

The partnership with CAST supports SOAC’s bold solution, La Avenida, to meet the ongoing needs of the neighborhood and the increased displacement of residents. La Avenida is a multi-phased project designed to revitalize the Alum Rock Avenue Corridor located in the Mayfair region of East San José. The initial phase is the acquisition of the 28,000 square-foot vacant commercial property across the street from the Mexican Heritage Plaza (La Plaza).

The expansion will increase cultural programming and bring needed family wellness services which will be provided by SOAC’s equity partner Gardner Health Services. Future development includes affordable housing on the King parking lot and commercial space for local businesses and community-based providers on La Plaza’s six acres.

Learn more about La Avenida and SOAC here

Vanessa Shieh

Co-Executive Director

School of Arts & Culture

[CAST's] program-related investment allows SOAC to leverage capital to ensure development without displacement can occur in East San José. With their investment, we will redevelop a mostly vacant block of stores into a thriving hub that will bring vibrancy to the community, provide jobs, and provide a place for cultural activities. This is the type of investment that can transform neighborhoods!

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