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The Royal Chicano Air Force (RCAF) is a Sacramento, California-based art collective. It was one of the main centers of the Chicano art movement in California during the 1970s and 80s.

In 1969, poet and art instructor José Montoya joined with some of his talented Mexican American students to further the aims of the Chicano Movement. The Rebel Chicano Art Front was founded to foster support for Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers in the heavily-agricultural Sacramento-Davis area. When Montoya discovered that because of the group's the initials, they might be confused with the Royal Canadian Air Force, the artists decided that rather than change the name of the group to create a different initialism, they would keep the initials RCAF and change the name of the collective to "Royal Chicano Air Force" as a humorous gesture. From that point on, the artists used the "Air Force" motif in their artworks, programs, and activities.

The RCAF began operating out of the Washington Neighborhood Center and frequently held events at Sacramento's Southside Park. To fund their activities and to support the farmworkers, they held dances, performances, and other fundraisers, for which they created promotional posters that visually incorporated the themes of the Chicano Movement. They also received funding from California State University, Sacramento.

The RCAF painted murals to throughout Sacramento, as well as several in San Diego's Chicano Park and one in Burley, Idaho. Community art workshops included the Barrio Art Program and the Anciano Art Project, for children and the elderly, respectively. For high school and college students, there were workshops in silkscreening and muralism.

The members of the RCAF did not restrict their activities to the arts. Inspired by the free breakfast programs of the Black Panther Party, was instrumental in implementing the Breakfast for Niños program for impoverished schoolchildren in the Sacramento area. They also ran an automotive repair cooperative called Aeronaves de Aztlán.

The RCAF organized cultural activities such as a yearly poetry readings called "One More Canto", and revived indigenous Mexican practices such as celebrations of harvest ("Fiesta de Maíz") and the rainy season ("Fiesta de Tlaloc"). The also encouraged modern aspects of the Chicano identity such as the modification of lowriders by hosting and promoting car shows and jumping contests.

Founding members

  • José Montoya
  • Esteban Villa
  • Ricardo Favela
  • Armando R. Cid
  • Juanishi V. Orosco
  • Rodolfo "Rudy" Cuellar
  • Luis "Louie the Foot" Gonzalez
  • Juan M. Carrillo
  • Irma Lerma-Barbosa
  • Eve Garcia

References

External links

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