Tia Chucha’s Finds A New Home
Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural and Bookstore finds a new home on Glenoaks and Hubbard in the Sylmar Towne Center, just a couple of miles away from their former location. With a location three times bigger than the original, they can house more books and have more space for their various programs from workshops to music lessons, book clubs and other community events! The move was part of their 20-year anniversary.
Founded in 2001 by Los Angeles Poet Laureate Luis J. Rodriguez, his wife Trini, and their brother-in-law Enriquez Sanchez, it started as a café, bookstore, and cultural space. Their mission statement: “to transform community in the Northeast San Fernando Valley and beyond through ancestral knowledge, the arts, literacy, and creative engagement.”
Tia Chucha’s provides year-round on-site, off-site, and, during the pandemic, virtual, low-cost or free arts and literacy bilingual programing in various formats such as music, dance, writing, healing arts, mural painting, healing arts, and healing/talking circles. Their workshops and activities include Cultural Arts Workshops, weekly open mics, author signing, and art exhibits, among other things.
The independent retail bookstore allows the community to explore the world of literature with its carefully curated and diverse selections.
“We’re the only bookstore in the northeast valley. Our book selection is curated to carry books on social change, social justice, Latinix communities, and indigenous communities. We’ve seen a large growth in the last year or so. I think a lot of it has to do with our social media. Also, there’s been a change in our community, a want to hear more stories and gain more knowledge through literature. I think that has helped our bookstore through last year,” shares Karen M. Ugarate, Tia Chucha’s Bookstore Manager.
Andrea Lopez, Program and Social Media Coordinator adds, “We do try to bring in books that celebrate culture—not only the Latinix folks but we also have other cultures as well, even if the majority of our community isn’t Asian American or African American, we want to make sure that these stories are still here for everyone because we need to know and learn about each other’s culture.”
The bookstore’s programs include a social justice book club, little readers’ story book program, as well as From Trauma to Transformation, a program providing a space for formerly incarcerated men and women to express their narratives through writing, poetry, spoken word, art, literature, and performance arts. They also offer season classes, mostly an eight-to-ten-week series of workshops focusing on different arts from music to art classes. During the pandemic, some of these programs were offered virtually, slowly returning to in-person over the past couple of months.
This Saturday, January 29th from 6pm – 8pm, Tia Chucha’s is hosting an author panel and books signing, featuring Sonia Gutierrez, Matt Sedillo, Iris De Anda, David A. Romero, Luivette Resto, Fernando Albert Salinas, Gina Duran, Briana Munoz, and Natalie Sierra.
Visit their website and follow them on social media @tiachuchas.