Rogelio T. Núñez, co-founder of the Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center (NMCAC) in San Benito, will be celebrating his birthday on Saturday night, January 9, with a major fundraiser that will benefit two organizations. Núñez, who will be turning 64, will have the proceeds of his celebration going towards the NMCAC and Casa de Proyecto Libertad, an organization in Harlingen where he has served as the executive-director since 1990.
The idea for the NMCAC, which is entering its 25th year in 2016, first started to develop when Núñez returned to the Rio Grande Valley in 1983, after he had been away studying in Kingsville and Austin.
"When I was in college, I got influenced by, and became part of the Chicano movement," Núñez said in 2014. "So that movement began to tell me that it was important that we do things to better our community of Chicanos. So one of the leaders of the Chicano movement was a guy named Jose Angel Gutierrez, who was the founder of La Raza Unidad (political) party. He used to say things like, 'We need to create institutions by us, for us, and about us.' Because it wasn't being done by the institutions that existed."
Since its formation on October 29, 1991, the NMCAC has presented a variety of events, showcases, classes, exhibits and festivals. This year will be the 25th anniversary of their highly popular NMCAC Conjunto Festival.
"Probably come February, we are going to start looking at bands," Soledad A. Núñez, coordinator of the NMCAC, said. "I know the bands that were cancelled on Saturday (for the 24th annual NMCAC Conjunto Festival due to weather issues) will be playing this year's festival."
According to their website, Casa de Proyecto Libertad "was founded in 1981 to provide legal defense and advocacy for detained Central American immigrants seeking asylum in the United States."
Soledad notes that there will be food available, beverages, and live music from yet to be confirmed musical artists for this birthday gathering.
The featured attraction of the evening will be a photo exhibit titled "Texas Farmworkers Valley March 1975 and Muleshoe to Austin 1979" from photojournalist Alan Pogue.
"He dropped the photos a while back," Soledad said. "We combined the photo (exhibit) and the fundraiser. Anybody that is interested can come down, listen to music, grab a bite to eat and check out the photo exhibit. There are probably a good 20 and 30 photos."
Soledad and the NMCAC are happy to be able to present this as the first event of 2016.
"It's for two great causes," Soledad said. "The cultural arts center and Casa de Proyecto Libertad. This is so we can keep on doing the work that we are doing. Come on down, and you will have a good time."
What: NMCAC and Casa de Proyecto Libertad Fundraiser
Time: 5:00 PM
Phone Number and Website: 956-244-0373 or visit https://www.facebook.com/nmcacsb/?fref=ts
Location: Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center, in San Benito