PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – There’s a place where local art, music, food and Hispanic culture meet. Just head on down to Peoria’s Warehouse District. 

“We wanted to have some place where we could have you know new artists, local artists show their work and have some drinks,” said Arturo Vargas.

He, alongside his wife, Carmen, came up with the concept for Casa De Arte or House of Art translated in English.

Vargas said, “I’m first generation Mexican-American, so it’s very important for us to kind of claim our heritage, keep our traditions. And that’s one of the reasons why we started Casa De Arte.”

“We’re not forgetting our background and we want to promote our history and promote the historical aspect of being Mexican-American.”

Arturo Vargas

Casa De Arte started as an art gallery and lounge in November 2018. The space also served as a way for Vargas to showcase his personal talents as an artist. His paintings line the walls of the building, along with other local artists.

Over time, the Peoria native expanded the artistic avenue into a restaurant and a haven for Hispanic culture. 

“I always knew that Peoria needed a Latin nightlife. You know something where you can have some drinks and something cultural, where you’ll hear Spanish music playing in the background and not just your typical Mexican restaurant,” Vargas said.

And while Vargas has been intentional about showcasing his Mexican heritage, he says Casa De Arte is also a space to celebrate other Latin communities. 

“So it’s not just Mexican-American. It’s Puerto Rican. It’s Cuban. It’s Guatemalan,” he said. “We have that population here in Peoria that don’t have a place they can call their home. So we want to be that place.”

Casa De Arte is located at 1227 SW Adams St. in Peoria.