City of AustinFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The community is invited to join a public celebration marking the start of construction to expand and renovate the ESB-MACC.
The community is invited to join a public celebration marking the start of construction to expand and renovate the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center (ESB-MACC). The groundbreaking ceremony, which will be held at the ESB-MACC (600 River St., Austin, TX 78701) on Saturday, Dec. 10 at 10 a.m., will feature community leaders, public officials and members of the project team. The public is invited to help mark this important step in creating a cultural center as envisioned by the community decades ago.
“The ESB-MACC serves as a cultural cornerstone for our community, and I’m excited to see us begin this long-awaited expansion,” said District 9 Council Member Kathie Tovo. “These improvements will allow the ESB-MACC to offer more arts programs and classes and to host more cultural events. With this expansion, the ESB-MACC will be able to reach and serve even more Austinites from across the city.”
The ESB-MACC originally opened its doors in 2007 as space dedicated to the preservation, creation, presentation, and promotion of Mexican American and Latino cultural arts and heritage. Over the past 15 years, the ESB-MACC has offered residents a gathering place for cultural events, celebrations, classes focused on performing arts, music, literature and film. The center, which sits in Austin’s Rainey Street Historical District, attracts more than 100,000 annual visitors.
In 2018, Austin voters approved $27 million in funding to address priorities outlined in Phase 2 of the ESB-MACC's recently updated vision plan. This includes renovations to the existing building, adding additional space for classrooms, art galleries, and other noted site improvements. These features were developed extensively with the community’s input, which helped identify the most critical needs for the space.
“We are excited to begin the ESB-MACC Phase 2 expansion and renovation,” said Endi Silva, Mexican American Cultural Center Advisory Board Chair. “The community advocated for additional space to accommodate programs, classes and exhibitions and to represent the rich history of the area. We are pleased that this project will allow the ESB-MACC to serve more people in our ever-expanding city.”
The upcoming expansion seeks to add music rehearsal spaces, renovations to performance spaces, classrooms, galleries, office/support space, dedicated storage space, culinary space, as well as landscaping and gathering spaces. The proposed renovation includes enhanced safety features, rooms with natural light, a closed/controllable perimeter of the zocalo and better wayfinding.
The facility expansion will also feature significant sustainability elements and is on track to receive both LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), and Austin Energy Green Building Design designations.
The renovation and expansion will also present an opportunity for local artists to showcase their work. The project will set aside funding for public art displays that will become permanent fixtures for the facility. An open call for artists to submit application is expected in the months ahead.
Austin Public Works is managing the design, construction and delivery of this project on behalf of the Austin Parks and Recreation Department, which operates the ESB-MACC. Phase 2 was designed by a Joint Venture Miró Rivera Architects and Tatiana Bilbao Estudio. The Construction Manager at Risk is Rogers-O'Brien Construction Company.
The facility will remain closed during construction to help ensure the safety of residents and visitors. Programs and events will continue at other sites around Austin including libraries and recreation centers in a variety of locations. The construction phase is expected to last two years – with a grand opening anticipated in early 2025. During the building closure, the ESB-MACC has planned to partner with locations throughout the city in order to continue to host programming for the community.