A youth arts and leadership center is set to open at the Crawford Street home of former Arizona Gov. Raul Castro in late spring or summer.

A multimedia youth art center meant to develop local talent and opportunities is set to open in Nogales in the late spring or summer.

VozFrontera, to be located in the former home of Gov. Raul Castro on Crawford Street, will be “a center for youth leadership development through creativity and art,” said Southwest Folklife Alliance Director Maribel Alvarez, who is spearheading the project.

The center plans to offer lessons in audio and video production, graphic design, journalism and other creative mediums. VozFrontera also aims to offer a co-working space, host artists-in-residence and hire local paid interns to help run its programs, Alvarez said.

As part of the project, participating youth will also develop and execute a creative project such as a magazine or podcast, Alvarez said. Through that process, they will “become the managers and the talent and the knowledge remain in the community,” she said.  

“What we want is not to just bring things to Nogales and then come back to Tucson. We want to build the resources and the capacity and the talent there,” she said.

Alvarez said the idea for VozFrontera came from interviews with Nogalians who said there are few places for youth to gather and be creative. She said the center will partner with local organizations like Nogales Community Development, Startup Unidos, and Seeds/Semillas.

The arts center is being launched with the help of a $350,000 two-year grant from ArtPlace America and a small portion of those funds will go to the renovation of the Castro house, according to a news release.

VozFrontera is just one program intended to be housed at the future Castro Center for Border Studies and Outreach, a project of the University of Arizona’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Other plans call for the center to serve as a research center, meeting space and home for public educational and cultural events.

During a May event in Nogales, SBS Dean John Paul Jones, III said renovation of the home would begin in the new year and the center will open by the fall of 2018.

For more information about Voz Frontera, contact Alvarez at (520) 621-4046 or alvarezm@email.arizona.edu.

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