National Hispanic Heritage Month

Artwork from ALAC in Phoenix

Some of the Valley’s richest cultural resources are tucked away in places you might not even know exist. I stumbled on one just the other day as I was parking for the Phoenix Symphony/Phoenix Theatre performance of “The Music Man.”

It’s the Arizona Latino Arts & Cultural Center, just across the street from Phoenix Symphony Hall.

The center, also known as ALAC, is a consortium of local Latino groups and artists featuring Galeria 147 — which includes art exhibit spaces, a multi-use performance venue and a gift shop/bookstore. Their current exhibit, “La Phoeniquera,” features the works of Latino & Latina artists in Phoenix.

I wasn’t able to enjoy it because it’s closed Sundays and Mondays, but I look forward to touring the space in the future — perhaps during one of Artlink Phoenix’s “First Friday” events. I’m also eager to see their exhibit of newspaper sculpture and costumes by Christopher Plentywounds, which is titled “The Fine Art of Fine Print.”

"Hechale" by Eduardo Oropeza

ALAC is one of several organizations identified as a partner by the CALA (Celebracion Artistica de las Americas) Alliance, which will hold its kick-off event on Sept 24 at Phoenix Symphony Hall — a “signature concert featuring the exciting Grammy Award winning Poncho Sanchez and his Latin Jazz Band.”

Plans are underway for the first bi-annual CALA Festival — a two-month Valleywide celebration spotlighting “the vibrant artistic, musical and culinary offerings of the regional Latino community through various exhibits, concerts, street fairs and more.” Interested artists can visit their website to learn about the jury process.

"The Love That Stains" by Maya Gonzalez

Other alliance partners include XICO, which “promotes Chicano artists by nourishing the appreciation of the cultural and spiritual heritage of Latino and indigenous people,” and CPLC (Chicano Por La Causa, Inc.), “an organization dedicated to the well-being of Arizona’s economically-deprived communities by providing the tools to empower people and families to achieve their aspirations.”

If you’re eager to learn more about Hispanic culture, you’ll have plenty of opportunities during National Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrated Sept 15 through Oct 15.

Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama, notes that the month “celebrates the cultures of Americans who trace their ancestry to Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.”

Local family-friendly events include “Fiesta Surprise” on Sept 18 and “Tempe Tardeada” on Oct 10. “Fiesta Surprise,” being held at the Surprise Stadium, features live music and dance, a kids’ fun zone and more. “Tempe Tardeada,” taking place at the Tempe Community Complex (near the Tempe Public Library), features music, dance and art exploring Tempe’s Hispanic roots and culture.

"First Aztec on the Moon" by Santiago Perez

Stay tuned to local venues — including museums, community colleges, universities, performing arts centers, libraries, parks and recreation centers, and bookstores — to learn about National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations in your area.

Online resources include www.pbskids.org, www.smithsonianmag.com, www.smithsonianeducation.org, and www.hispanicheritagemonth.gov — which notes that “the observance started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period.”

September 15 is the anniversary of independence for several Latin American countries, while Mexico celebrates independence on Sept 16 and Chile celebrates independence on Sept 18. Columbus Day (Oct 12) also falls during the 30-day period designated as National Hispanic Heritage Month.

"Cumpleanos de Lala y Tudi" by Carmen Lomas Garza

If your organization or venue offers events and activities to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, please feel free to comment below to let our readers know.

–Lynn

Note: To enjoy more Latino art, visit www.latinoartcommunity.org.

Coming: More season previews

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One response to “National Hispanic Heritage Month

  1. I had the privilege of working with 4th and 5th graders to create daily morning announcements for the school during the Hispanic Heritage month. This is the final note we will end with Heritage is the KEY TO HISpanic Heritage MOnth
    Honored our Past learning about Our Rich Culture Hispanics are one of of the largest cultural groups in the United States, Hispanic Americans, and we have made contributions to this country and to the world.
    Attend school, learn, choose to be positive and learn the power of knowledge is to Making a Positive Impact on American Society for the future our future. Remember Strength in Unity Faith and Diversity Gracias!
    Nuestras NOtas hispanicas finales son….celebrar nuestra diversidad en aprender Y NO OLVIDAR
    LLA SEA EN CANCIONES, ARTE,POSTRES COMIDAS, DEPORTES, CELEBRACIONES, TRADICIONES, CELEBREN SU DIVERSIDAD EN APRENDER Y NO OLVIDAR DE NUESTRA CULTURA……CONTRIBUYE A NUESTRA COMMUNIDAD, SOCIEDAD, Y NUESTRO MUNDO … PARA NUESTRO FUTURO EN AMERICA Y PRESENCIA MUNDIAL.
    GRACIAS!”
    Tears and a knot is in my throat as I have just spoken to my 27 year old and my mother about how I have to smile and pretend all is good and I have chosen a positive attitude to try and keep a positive working environment and being a role model for those of us who are judged, discriminated, and hyprocritacilly being helped and being provided with an education, service, and jobs. We have come a long way but we are still being discriminated against, yet we will prevail we will go on and make our positive contributions, quietly, faithful, respectful, and knowing that God and La Virgencita will take care of us. Theirs is their educated mannerisms with no education in respect and lack of true faith. The true strength – we are good at heart and strong in faith and with that we are becoming large in numbers, contributions, and if we unite in unity we do prevail and will survive.

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