Mission Statement: Making the valley a flourishing place for Latino arts
Our Building and Plaza
In 1987, Arte Américas operated out of a store front office at the Warnors Theater. In 1995, with community support and funds obtained through a Community Development Block Grant, we were able to purchase our current building on Van Ness and Calaveras in downtown Fresno from Bank of America. The building was originally the stately residence of Frank H. and Nellie C. Short built in 1910. Prior to his death in 1920, Mr. Short was a lawyer specializing in corporate and water law. In those years Fresno was at the center of a growing agricultural community of 10,000. The Short family was known for its support of the cultural arts and their will specified the property be used by the City as an art gallery, concert and lecture hall and reading room. The property was first sold to Southern Baptist Church, later in 1954 it became the property of I. Magnin, and in 1975 the property was sold to the Bank of America for its corporate offices. It took a circuitous route before becoming the site it was intended to be as Arte Americas in 1995. The Ruiz Family, founders of Ruiz Foods, Inc., provided a major donation to help begin the remodeling efforts that transformed the space into gallery spaces.
Years later, in 1998, Fresno native author Gary Soto, was instrumental in helping Arte Américas acquire the two adjacent lots that are now our beautiful outdoor performance space, Plaza Paz. Landscape architect Robert Boro and local wrought iron artist Carlos Sanchez designed the plaza and fencing. Over the years community volunteers and donors have helped maintain the beautiful outdoor space where several cultural and community events are held. In 2017, the Paz Family contributed a major donation to support the outdoor plaza.