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Garaje Cultural set to open in Mexicantown in late spring

Lydia Gutierrez has a vision for growing up in Southwest Detroit's Mexicantown neighborhood. She sees a place where young people can express their creative sides, take advantage of mentoring and use it all as a springboard to college. She's making that happen with the Garaje Cultural.

The owner of Hacienda Mexican Foods plans to open the cultural center for kids by this summer. The tortilla-making business is renovating a 18,000-square-foot warehouse on Livernois near Otis Street where 8,000-square-feet will be dedicated toward the Garaje Cultural and the rest will be used for Hacienda Mexican Foods warehousing needs. Gutierrez sees the entire building becoming the home to Garaje Cultural within a few years.

"It's an opportunity for us to give back to the community that has supported us so much," Gutierrez says.

She plans to have murals painted on the interior of the building and provide resources so teens can explore their creative ambitions. The Garaje Cultural (Spanish for cultural garage) will also provide mentoring for these young people so they can capitalize on their aspirations. It will also host career fairs and other events that Gutierrez hopes will lead to more young people utilizing the resources there as a springboard to college.

Work is already underway on the building. Gutierrez hopes to open the Garaje Cultural within 60-90 days.

Source: Lydia Gutierrez, owner of Hacienda Mexican Foods
Writer: Jon Zemke

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