Founded in 1989 as the result of a broad community mobilization in the City of San Jose and nationwide on behalf of multicultural arts, MACLA has promoted since its inception a vision of arts programming as a vehicle for civic dialogue and social equity. MACLA produces 50 programs each year in four core program tracts: visual arts; performance and literary arts; youth arts education; and community development through the arts.
A hybrid urban arts space located in downtown San Jose and rooted in the Chicano/Latino experience, MACLA intersects many communities, cultures, and aesthetic approaches. The participation of Latino and non-Latino audiences has been a distinctive feature of MACLA since its inception. Its patrons, audiences, and participants are 70% Latino and 30% non-Latino.