Black and white photographs fill the walls of two halls stretching throughout the Centro Cultural Hispano De San Marcos. These photographs show the lives of prior Hispanic Hays County residents from field workers to newlyweds.
The Centro Cultural Hispano, a Hispanic cultural center, which is dedicated to uplifting Hispanics in San Marcos and bringing their culture to the community.
Rebecca Manzanares, executive director for the Centro Cultural Hispano, said the center focuses on moving on from its past while still remembering its roots.
“Today we are a vibrant center that is still is a familiar place, but we have a new outlook and different vibration through the building that is welcoming and healing the past with new memories and experiences,” Manzanares said. “We don’t want to forget our heritage so we preserve and promote our culture and celebrate it every day.”
The center brings out the beauty of Hispanic culture through various fine arts classes. San Marcos residents can enjoy folklorico dancing, piano, accordion and art classes.
One of the highest attended programs is the art space, which provides free art classes to children according to Linda Jones, Board of Directors member and art teacher.
Jones said the center’s art space aims to teach children much more than just art skills.
“We really try to focus on encouraging exploration through art, as well as self-expression,” Jones said. “Along with that, we want to be multi-cultural with our students and teach them about the world. We do this, also, by focusing on being multidisciplinary and connecting art to science, math, social causes, so that the children can feel like they’re connected to the world.”
Many of the volunteers for the art space and other programs are Texas State students who donate their time to either gain hands-on knowledge in their field of study or to give back and learn from a culturally rich community.
Isha Rosemond, English senior, said as a volunteer she feels like she has learned much more about the art community in San Marcos.
“Working in the art space has impacted me plenty, because of art space. I learned that there are so many kids in San Marcos, and that there are people in San Marcos teaching cultural art,” Rosemond said. “It’s really cool because there are not only classes for children, but for adults with learning disabilities. There are so many people wanting to learn about art and San Marcos history, and the Hispanic cultural center ties them together.”
Aside from the classes centered around the arts, the center also provides San Marcos locals with other programs. There are English classes, where non-English speakers can learn to master the language.
Another class offered is principles of peace, where children learn about universal virtues and can grow in their character.
The Hispanic cultural center provides all of its classes at no charge and is registered as a non-profit organization which pays employees through fundraising and donations. San Marcos residents are able to view their class and program schedule online.