Teatro Vision was founded in 1978 by Chicana activists and artists who set out to challenge social conditions and theatrical conventions. Thirty years later the organization is led by founding Artistic Director Elisa Alvarado and long time Executive Director Raul Lozano and presents a three-play season to 7,000 patrons at San Jose’s Mexican Heritage Plaza. Over 60% of Teatro Vision’s audience is Latino and while they attract audiences from throughout the South Bay, most come from San Jose’s predominantly Latino East Side. Teatro Vision presents plays (at low ticket prices or for free) that are frequently in Spanish, that range from the family-oriented to the politically-themed, and that are often premieres for the country’s Latino playwrights who struggle to find professional production opportunities elsewhere. In addition to the company’s theater work Alvarado and Lozano have guided Teatro Vision to a crucially important position of community leadership. The company’s Insituto de Teatro program teaches social service providers working in the mental health, violence prevention and immigrant rights areas how to use theater to improve their efforts. Working with fellow Hewlett grantee the Mayfair Improvement Initiative Teatro’s Theater for Community Engagement trained 20 organizers to present 44 productions for 1500 Mayfair residents in 2007. This work, coupled with educational outreach efforts and a leading role in civic advocacy efforts for San Jose’s minority arts community, serve to promote aesthetic diversity in the region and make palpable the integral connection between culture and community well being. With renewed support Teatro Vision will be able to continue its audience development activities as well as further the positive community impact that flows from the Instituto de Teatro.
About the Grantee
Post Office Box 28367, San Jose, CA, 95159-8367, United States
Grants to this Grantee
for strategic planning
In 27 years, Teatro Vision has grown from an all-volunteer, itinerant Chicano theater ensemble to a nationally-recognized Latino arts institution, offering contemporary/classic plays at the Mexican Heritage Plaza in San Jose, as well as a theatre eduction program training educators and community organizers to use participatory theater for behavioral, social and educational roles. The organization had a period of growth in 2004-2008, and has been struggling ever since – because of the economic downturn, leadership changes, a challenging venue, and infrastructure challenges. They have been in the Hewlett portfolio since 1999, but their most recent general operating grant, just ended, will not be renewed. Because of the cultural and historical importance of this organization in the Bay Area and beyond, a modest grant will support the Packard Foundation’s larger investment in a nine-month strategic planning and organizational capacity-building process.