January 11, 2011
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Anthony Garcia merges theater and classroom to promote Latino heritage
Chicana/o Studies Affiliate Professor Anthony Garcia is also the longtime artistic director of Su Teatro.
For nearly 15 years, students at Metropolitan State College of Denver have had the opportunity to role-play with Chicana/o Studies Affiliate Professor Anthony Garcia, who happens to be the longtime artistic director of Su Teatro.
Garcia, 57, was recently recognized as the Denver Post “Theater Person of the Year” for his work with the oldest Chicano theater company in the United States. The mission of the 38-year-old company is to create, produce and promote theater and other art that celebrates the experiences, history, language and heritage of Latinos in the U.S. and the Americas.
He’s fulfilling that mission in the classroom, with one of the outcomes being the ability to mentor Chicana/o students. He’s proud of that and the reality that he is truly mentoring all students “because the need is there. I like the students, respect and understand what it takes for them to be there. They have children and jobs. I feel I have tools to share with them to help them in the next phase of their lives, their children’s lives and the community."
These tools did not go unnoticed by Deputy Provost Luis Torres, chair of Chicana/o Studies at the time he was recruiting Garcia to teach at the College. “I told him I thought Su Teatro was one of the prime jewels of the Latino community in Denver and that we would be honored if he’d teach a class,” Torres said.
Torres believes awards such as the Theater Person of the Year “have just begun to recognize what (Garcia) has been doing all these many years. I think (artists such as Garcia) are attuned to not just reflection of society, but improving society.”
While he's nationally recognized for his work with Su Teatro, he's proud of “staying pretty rooted,” says Garcia, a displaced Aurarian who grew up in the Westside neighborhood that is now the Auraria Campus. “I haven’t gone very far (geographically). I was baptized in St. Cajetan’s Church, (and) went to elementary school where the King Center is now.”
A self-professed “average guy,” Garcia says his success with Su Teatro can be attributed to his being “hungry and impatient. Nobody is going to outwork us.”
Chair and Professor of the Department of Chicana/o Studies Ramon Del Castillo, who has known Garcia through theater circles since the 1970s, says, “I love that he has a very strong relationship with the Chicana/o Studies Department and the school as a whole. He’s well respected and connected to every Chicana/o theater group in the country. Through his contacts, we are on the map. People come to see him at the theater and then stop by Metro State.”
Learn more about Garcia in the Dec. 26, 2010 Denver Post article or the spring 2010 edition of Metro Magazine, the College’s alumni magazine.