The Magdalena Contreras Cultural Forum opened in 1979 in the facilities of an old textile factory, “El Águila,” that is, The Eagle textile mill. It’s actually a fairly large campus with the cultural center occupying one of the larger buildings in the middle.
People today don’t often remember that the neighborhood’s biggest stone building had served as a movie theater since 1940. It had been called the Victor Manuel Mendoza Cinema for all those years. Today it’s the pride of the community and still just about the biggest stone building around. It’s at the center of a giant complex of 19th-century industrial buildings that lend their particular ruddy character to the entire area.
The Foro complex is best known for the giant amphitheater which is used for theater works, dance recitals, conferences and film screenings. It has a capacity for 300 spectators. Another auditorium inside has space for 270 more. There’s also the Ultimo Rio Gallery used for art exhibitions. The Reception Hall houses the main entrance to the Foro and is often used as exhibition space too. There’s a terrace and café, there.
The Magdalena Contreras Cultural Forum complex is just across the street from the old Conchita Church and the Casa de Bellas Artes Juventino Rosas. Named for the late-19th-century composer, he wrote some of his best-known works in the home of the former textile industry magnates. At what seems like the crossroads of the entire community, it’s easy to get from the forum to just about every other place in La Magdalena.