The recently renovated 17,000 square foot Villa La Paz Conference & Education Center combines the history of a rambling 1929 complex where Cesar Chavez held strategy and training sessions for movement leaders and activists with a modern, state-of-the art education and conference facility.
There are two large banquet halls/meeting rooms, an executive boardroom, breakout meeting rooms, Cafe Lounge and bar, fully equipped theater room, multi-purpose room and patio plus Pan y Vino, La Paz's community kitchen.
All rooms feature fully adjustable lighting and audio-visual capabilities, and are well insulated and constructed with double-pained windows for sound and energy efficiency. View the Seating Capacity Charts.
Entrance and foyer. Visitors arrive up a driveway outside the elaborate main entrance. Entering Villa La Paz, they pass by an original six-foot 5,000-pound lantern, underneath original Santa Barbara Movement tiles and through massive 12-foot double doors. Before making their way into the rest of the structure, people are welcomed into a large L-shaped lobby-reception area featuring a fireplace, leather sofas, a colorful, large original Andy Zermeno farm worker movement painting and a recently commissioned life-sized bronze sculpture of Cesar Chavez sitting on a pedestal. Numerous framed photos depicting historic events in the farm worker movement fill gallery-style exhibit spaces that are spread throughout most of the facility.
A hallway leads directly into a foyer forming the center of the main building that can be used for registration, receptions, buffet presentations and exhibit space. Three large wrought-iron chandeliers light it. The flooring is composed of 24-inch Mission tiles.
The foyer connects on either side with large men and women's rest rooms decorated by brightly colored tiles and wooden stalls serving both indoor and outdoor events. Next to each of the main halls are separate beverage stations serving each wing. Also off the main foyer is a complete food holding and staging area equipped with large warmers and refrigerators.
Library & Reading Room. It offers visitors books, materials and historical photographs about Cesar Chavez and his movement as well as related topics. Many of the books replicate original publications from Cesar's library-office in the National Chavez Center's Visitor Center so visitors can experience his eclectic reading and study interests. A computer terminal also allows visitors to access on-line historical resources.
East Wing. This is a multiuse venue with majestic views of surrounding hills and mountains through large windows and French doors. The doors spill out on the north into the Patio Los Florales and on the south into a veranda that leads down to a spacious green lawn, also available for staging outdoor events such as weddings and other ceremonies. This large hall, which can accommodate 182 people in theater seating, can be darkened for video presentations, can host large formal diners or luncheons, conferences, receptions, dances and social gatherings.
The southern veranda and its stairway can also serve as a reception area and stage for musical groups performing for outdoor audiences.
The West Wing. With a beautifully finished original wood floor from the 1929 construction, the West Wing, which can also seat 182 people theater style, is designed for more formal occasions, ceremonies and presentations. Also blessed with beautiful panoramas of surrounding hills and mountains, the western view frames a monument strategically placed by Cesar Chavez and dedicated to the farm worker movement martyrs. It is adorned with a Star of David, a Crescent and a Cross, representing the faiths of the four men and one woman who sacrificed their lives for La Causa, the union's cause. The south side of the room spills out onto a wide, long veranda leading once more down onto a large lawn. The veranda and its cascading stairway can also serve as an informal stage and host receptions and musical groups.
Theater. With built in fully equipped audio-visual facilities, it can host lectures, presentations and news conferences, and is easily darkened for film and video shows. As part of Villa La Paz's educational resources, the Theater offers screenings for visitors from a menu of documentaries and historical films.
Executive Boardroom. Dominated by a massive custom-made Mahogany conference table with Birch inlays comfortably seating 12 to 14 people in executive-style leather chairs, this room is ideal for board meetings and small special gatherings. It is well insulated to keep out ambient noise. Next door is the Green Room with an adjacent rest room that can serve as a holding or preparation room. Across the hall is a small private media or break out room. The Executive Boardroom is fully carpeted with a coffered ceiling and a full service counter in the rear. It offers views on three sides of surrounding mountains and the patio.
Cafe Lounge/Multi-purpose Room. The Cafe Lounge features a beautiful Mahogany and copper full-service bar plus Bistro tables and stools. It includes a gourmet coffee-espresso bar. A beautiful portal wraps around three sides of the Cafe Lounge and adjacent Multi-purpose Room with massive rustic beams and breathtaking views of surrounding mountains. The portal also empties onto the patio. Three sets of large Hacienda doors open on the portal and patio. Both rooms have finished wood floors from the original 1929 structure. There is a semi-private lounge area with leather couches and adjacent unisex powder room.
The Multi-purpose room is built around a large fireplace. The Cafe Lounge and Multipurpose Room can be completely separated by a restored wood pull down divider that is also original to the building.
The Cafe Lounge, with its full service bar, is perfect for small receptions, more intimate gatherings and as a place to also serve sit-down meals. Or if the pull down divider is used, the Multi-purpose room can serve as a larger break out room or as a setting for staff retreats or the service of meals.
The Cafe Lounge's double-doors can be opened up to connect guests with the patio and beyond it to the East Room, forming a unique indoor-outdoor Old California venue.
The Patio Las Florales. This open-air patio takes advantage of the beautiful climate and weather with fresh mountain air above the valley fog and smog, and where the sun can be enjoyed much of the year. It is set between the Cafe Lounge/Multi-purpose Room and the East Room, and alongside a long running portal. The space is enhanced by Mission style architectural features and varying elevations along with massive beams and wooden doors, ornamental iron, rustic lamps, gabled Mission-tile roofs and a tower framing the west view that is spectacularly lit at night. The patio is lined with large terracotta macetas or pots planted with laurels that provide year-round greenery and accented by colorful annuals. Centered on the patio is a soothing fountain with flowing water. On the west side of the patio is a built-in powered stage that can host live bands, Mariachis, DJs or a podium.
Library & exhibits. A resource library with books and reference materials about Cesar Chavez and the farm worker movement are in the reception area at the entrance of the complex. Archival and documentary films, which can be shown in the theater, are also available. Extensive gallery space at Villa La Paz feature rotating exhibits with photographs depicting landmark events in the history of Cesar and the movement.
Pan y Vino. Located on the other side of the 187-acre grounds at La Paz is a full service commercial kitchen that can feed sizeable groups. It also contains two large dining areas with informal seating. A huge blown up photo of Senator Robert F. Kennedy helping Cesar Chavez break his 1968 fast for nonviolence dominates one dining room. The other dining room leads out through French doors onto an outdoor patio or eating area with Saltillo tiles.
* * *
To help plan out your event, call or contact Villa La Paz and supply your wish list. Organizing and planning an event, conference or retreat can be overwhelming. Villa La Paz can help customize a gathering that's just right for any need or group.
E-mail: Monica Parra email@example.com