Mexican-American Cultural Center: Austin Bucket List for 2015

2015 Austin Bucket Lists

We say it all the time, but we do truly believe it: Austin is an amazing place to raise a family. With this in mind, we’re on a mission to go discover all the things which make our town special. To help get out more without getting overwhelmed, we came up with the Austin Bucket List project. Each year, we pick 10 things we’d like to do in Austin — with or without our kids. That sounds doable, doesn’t it? Then, we document our adventures here, with the idea of getting each of you inspired to do the same.

What’s an endeavor like this without a few friends along for the ride? We asked our blogger friends in Austin who’d like to join us on the Austin Bucket List project, and we were thrilled to have several takers. Today’s report is from Skye Kilean, who ventures out to Westcave Preserve for her last check on her Bucket List. This time, Skye and Boy Detective explored a new-to-them museum. Here’s what she had to say about the experience:

Having a child has meant falling in love with small museums. The Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center (ESB-MACC) isn’t just a museum, but it has two galleries, one downstairs and one upstairs. Together, they’re the perfect size for a kid who loves art, but has a typical eight year old’s attention span.

The ESB-MACC is “dedicated to the preservation, creation, presentation, and promotion of the cultural arts of Mexican Americans and other Latino cultures.” Their galleries feature “local, regional and national Latino/a artists.” Different exhibits will vary in how child-appropriate and child-interesting they are, so I had signed up for their email newsletter and watched for announcements of when specific exhibits began and ended. The exhibit we saw, Cosmic Vida, is open through November 28th. Boy Detective found quite a few pieces he absolutely loved, and a couple that he thought were gross. (Sometimes art isn’t pretty!) There was a LOT to talk about, since many of the pieces focus on life, birth, and family.

The gallery space itself was gorgeous. So much light, and such high ceilings!

The staff in both the main office and the gallery were so nice! They had to open the downstairs gallery for us with a key, and they made sure we knew to stop by the education office too because there were some art pieces hanging from the ceiling there. By the time we left, some folks were visiting outside of another office during a break from a performance rehearsal. It felt like a community center should!
AdvertisementFrom December 12th through January 16th, there will be youth art exhibits in both galleries, so we’ll definitely go back for those and for any subsequent exhibits that look interesting.

That was actually our second visit to ESB-MACC, because we arrived after hours when we first tried to go. (It’s not open Sundays or evenings. Check the schedule on their website before you go!) But on the day we went, the weather was great, so we walked around the building just to see what it was like… Bingo, big space for kids to run around!

And an outdoor art piece honoring a family of musicians, which Boy Detective thought was cool.

This is a section of the path behind the museum, which is actually a piece of art. Paved to look like a snake, there’s a beginning shaped like a snake’s head, and an end where it comes to a point for the tail end. Boy Detective hasn’t managed to run the whole length of it yet, but he’s trying.

We actually spent about half an hour just wandering around the building and grounds, before coming back the next time when it was open. You could easily pack snacks and go see some art, then take the kids out to snack and play outside afterwards.

A couple of logistics tips, to make your trip go smoothly:

I was a little confused about its location from looking at maps, so here are directions. From I-35, go west on Holly Street (south of Cesar Chavez). You’ll go through a traffic circle, past a small fenced parking lot on your right. That’s NOT the parking. Keep going straight into the circle drive in front of the large white museum, THEN turn right into the City of Austin parking lot.

You can park, then go inside and pick up a temporary parking pass to use while you’re at the museum. Or just give a buck or two to the parking meter which I found easier. But if money’s tight, free parking plus free admission to the galleries is a win.

Thanks to everyone at ESB-MACC for maintaining such a great spot in Austin for everyone’s enjoyment and education!