For too many Americans, Cinco de Mayo is merely one more excuse to drink beyond reason. For others, it’s a friendly reminder to spend more time exploring the diverse arts and culture of Latin America. For those of you seeking more than Margaritaville, I’ve assembled a humble rundown of a few places you can explore Latin American arts and culture here in Arizona.
- Arizona Latino Arts & Cultural Center in Phoenix presents visual and performance art. Their “2nd Annual Latina Art Exhibit and Festival” and “What Do Kids Want?” exhibit open today. May’s “First Friday” lineup at ALAC includes the performances by Mystic Events Dance Group, ethnographer Sarah Amira de la Garza and dance group Unidos en Amistad. A Jeremy Gillett play titled “Black & 25 in America” premieres at the center May 12. Learn more at www.alac.mouthtomouthmedia.com.
- Phoenix Art Museum has a permanent collection of Latin American art that includes more than 400 works of art from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries including religious paintings, colonial furniture, decorative arts and more. Featured artists include Frida Kahlo, Rufino Tamayo and Diego Rivera — plus many contemporary artists. Learn more at www.phxarts.org.
- Tucson Museum of Art has more than 1,900 works in its permanent Spanish colonial and folk art collections, in addition to oil-on-tin retablos and Mexican provinical paintings. Current exhibitions include “Frida Kahlo: Through the Lens of Nickolas Murray,” “Tesoros del Pueblo: Latin American Folk Art” and “Frida’s Style: Traditional Women’s Costumes from Mexico.” They’ll present a free screening of the film “Frida” on May 10, and partner with UA to present teacher training in Latin American art. Learn more at www.tucsonmuseumofart.org.
- Xico in Chandler sponsors the region’s oldest “Dia de los Muertos Festival” — a free event that “showcases community performers, folk art vendors, storytelling, cultural music, children’s activities, a community procession and community altar. The 2012 festival takes place on Nov. 3. They also present community exhibitions and “meet the artist” events featuring works by Latino and Native American artists. Xico offers classes with professional artists to underserved youth, plus printmaking workshops (“an art-form with a rich history among indigenous artists”). Learn more at www.xicoinc.org.
Note: Click here if you’re celebrating Keith Haring’s birthday today and here to watch Robert Booker on PBS’s “Horizon” (Booker heads the Arizona Commission on the Arts). If you just like clicking things, simply fondle your remote control.
Coming up: The best pies in Glendale?, Art meets Austria
Update: Works by 2012 Arizona Doodle 4 Google finalists will be exhibited at the Tucson Museum of Art June 1-Aug 31. You can vote online for your favorite Doodle for Google through May 10 by clicking here. 5/4/12; Click here to read “Rescuing the Stories Behind Latino Art” by Holland Cotter published in The New York Times. 5/12.