PILSEN — Two well-known Pilsen youth arts programs are headed to Little Village.
Both Yollocalli Arts Reach, a free youth arts program, and Radio Arte, a bilingual youth-focused radio station, will be closing their doors and reopening at the Boys and Girls Club at 2801 S. Ridgeway Ave.
The two programs existed under Pilsen’s National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St. Radio Arte was acquired through the Boys and Girls Club of Chicago in 1996, and Yollocalli started a year later. It will move from its current home at 1401 W. 18th St. soon.
Jorge Valdivia, the general manager at Radio Arte, said the move will bring new resources to young people in Little Village.
"It’s different because we'll be telling the story as an organization based in Little Village. So the youth of Little Village can tell their own story," he said.
While the radio station will still exist online, Valdivia said the Radio Arte would soon become more like a media organization — telling the story of the community through video, podcasts, blogs and training young Latino immigrants in this new technology.
"We’re no longer the organization we were 15 years ago. It's only a reflection of the youth we’re serving," he said.
Radio Arte will be moving to the new space this spring, and Yollocalli will follow by summer.
In addition to the shared space with Radio Arte, Yollocalli will also keep its recently acquired space at the Barrett Park field house at Cermak Road and Damen Avenue, a space that Ald. Danny Solis (25th) helped secure.
Solis spokeswoman Lauren Pacheco said the move to the field house would be great for West Pilsen.
“It’s a pretty art-poor area to begin with,” she said. “So while we’re really sad to see that some of their programming will be moved to Little Village, we’re very glad to still have them in the West Pilsen area.”
Yollocalli will occupy the field house through a partnership with the Chicago Park District. In a sort of “art-exchange,” the group can use the space as long as they provide a certain amount of arts beautification for the surrounding area.
Yollocalli’s Executive Director Vanessa Sanchez said she also intends to hold visual arts classes at the field house.
“We definitely want to keep our audience in Pilsen,” she said.
She said Yollocalli’s current space at 1401 W. 18th St. is too large to properly maintain, and that arts funding has “definitely gone sour” in recent years.
Sanchez also has a personal reason to be happy about the move.
“I’m excited because I’m from Little Village and I’ve always wanted to see a youth arts space for that neighborhood,” she said.