By 1976, Corazon Productions splintered in the aftermath of the end of Carlos Almaraz and Patricia Parra's relationship. In 1977 Almaraz, along with Guillermo Bejarano and Richard Duardo, founded the Centro de Arte Publico on 56th and Figueroa in Highland Park. Almaraz and Bejerano had been Highland Park residents for several years and Duardo, a UCLA graduate and former printer for Self Help Graphics, had grown up in the area after his family moved there in the 1950s. For Duardo, the Centro was the first of many design studios he would develop over his career. John Valadez, a painter and muralist, also became involved, producing works that focused on Los Angeles street scenes and urban Chicana/o youth.
A number of women were invited to participate in the Centro, which reflected a growing concern for gender equality in the art community and the country as a whole. Barbara Carrasco, Dolores Cruz and Judithe Hernandez were among the artists informed by a burgeoning Chicana feminist agenda, experimenting and developing a uniquely Chicana feminist iconography.
Photo courtesy of Self Help Graphics & Art/CEMA UC Santa Barbara
El Centro Richard Duardo likens the Centro to the missions established throughout California - a safe harbor for like-minded artists to gather and collaborate.
Establishing the Center Guillermo Bejarano describes the beginnings of the Centro de Arte Publico in Highland Park, which evolved from Corazon Productions with Carlos Almaraz.
An Evolution from Los Four Judithe Hernandez was the fifth member of Los Four, which acted as a springboard for the cultivation of other artist collectives throughout the country.
The Last Days Lack of support and recognition led to the closing of the Centro and the studio's transformation into a more inclusive space where everyone fed off the energy of others.