Our America exhibit at Arkansas Arts Center celebrates Latino presence in American Art

The Arkansas Arts Center welcomes the exhibition Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art, a major collection of modern and contemporary Latino art from the Smithsonian American Art Museum,  through January 17, 2016.

The exhibition Our America includes 93 works in all media by 72 artists who participated in various artistic styles and movements, including abstract expressionism; activist, conceptual and performance art and classic American genres such as landscape, portraiture and scenes of everyday life.

Our America presents the rich and varied contributions of Latino artists in the United States since the mid-20th century, when the concept of a collective Latino identity began to emerge. The exhibition is drawn entirely from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s pioneering collection of Latino art.

To enhance the “Our America” exhibition, the AAC is incorporating several digital components including an exhibition preview video on YouTube, a six-part documentary film series and podcasts to accompany several works. The video can be viewed at tiny.cc/YouTubeOurAmerica.

In collaboration with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, the AAC is hosting a free film series in six parts. Latino Americans: 500 Years of History is a landmark documentary produced by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the American Library Association (ALA), featuring interviews with nearly 100 Latinos and exploring more than 500 years of history. Each episode will be shown Sundays at 2 p.m. in the Lower Level Lecture Hall beginning October 18 with a special community discussion led by Dr. Kristin Dutcher Mann, UALR associate professor of history and social studies education coordinator.

The film schedule is as follows:

October 18, 2015 | 2:00 p.m.
Latino Americans “Episode 1: Foreigners in their Own Land (1565-1880)”
Following the screening, Dr. Kristin Dutcher Mann, UALR associate professor of history and social studies education coordinator, will lead a community discussion about the continuing relevance of the colonial and early national periods in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands

October 25, 2015 | 2:00 p.m.
Latino Americans 
“Episode 2: Empire of Dreams (1880-1942)”

November 1, 2015 | 2:00 p.m.
Latino Americans 
“Episode 3: War and Peace (1942-1954)”

November 8, 2015 | 2:00 p.m.
Latino Americans 
“Episode 4: The New Latinos (1946-1965)”

November 15, 2015 | 2:00 p.m.
Latino Americans “Episode 5:  Prejudice and Pride (1965-1980)”
Following the screening, Edma Delgado-Solórzano, UALR doctoral candidate and visiting assistant professor will lead a community discussion about the episode which focuses on the development of the “Chicano” identity.

November 22, 2015 | 2:00 p.m.

Latino Americans “Episode 6: Peril and Promise (1980-2000)”

Additionally, the Arkansas Arts Center will offer several programs and events to complement the exhibition and enhance the impact on both English- and Spanish-speaking visitors.

Our America will feature bilingual labels for each work and a Spanish-language website created by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Select works also feature podcasts with the artist’s commentary. Museum goers can simply call a number, scan a QR code or visit a website for more background on the artist and background on each piece—in English and Spanish.

Artists featured in the exhibition reflect the rich diversity of Latino communities in the United States. Our America showcases artists of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban and Dominican descent, as well as other Latin American groups with deep roots in the United States. By presenting works by artists of different generations and regions, the exhibition reveals recurring themes among artists working across the country.

The 72 artists featured in the exhibition are ADÁL, Manuel Acevedo, Elia Alba, Olga Albizu, Carlos Almaraz, Jesse Amado, Asco (Harry Gamboa Jr., Gronk, Willie Herrón and Patssi Valdez), Luis Cruz Azaceta, Myrna Báez, Guillermo Bejarano, Charles “Chaz” Bojórquez, María Brito, Margarita Cabrera, María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Melesio “Mel” Casas, Leonard Castellanos, Oscar R. Castillo, José Cervantes, Enrique Chagoya, Roberto Chavez, Carlos A. Cortéz, Marcos Dimas, Ricardo Favela, Christina Fernandez, Teresita Fernández, iliana emilia garcía, Rupert García, Scherezade García, Carmen Lomas Garza, Ignacio Gomez, Ken Gonzales-Day, Hector González, Luis C. “Louie the Foot” González, Muriel Hasbun, Ester Hernandez, Judithe Hernández, Carmen Herrera, Carlos Irizarry, Luis Jiménez, Miguel Luciano, Emanuel Martinez, María Martínez-Cañas, Antonio Martorell, Ana Mendieta, Amalia Mesa-Bains, Franco Mondini-Ruiz, Delilah Montoya, Malaquias Montoya, Abelardo Morell, Jesús Moroles, Raphael Montañez Ortiz, Pepón Osorio, Amado M. Peña Jr., Chuck Ramirez, Paul Henry Ramirez, Sophie Rivera, Arturo Rodríguez, Freddy Rodríguez, Joseph Rodríguez, Frank Romero, Emilio Sánchez, Juan Sánchez, Jorge Soto Sánchez, Rafael Soriano, Ruben Trejo, Jesse Treviño, John M. Valadez, Alberto Valdés and Xavier Viramontes.

The exhibition is organized by E. Carmen Ramos, curator of Latino art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art is organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Generous support for the exhibition has been provided by Altria Group, the Honorable Aida M. Alvarez, Judah Best, The James F. Dicke Family Endowment, Sheila Duignan and Mike Wilkins, Tania and Tom Evans, Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino, The Michael A. and the Honorable Marilyn Logsdon Mennello Endowment, Henry R. Muñoz III, Wells Fargo and Zions Bank. Additional significant support was provided by The Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center. Support for “Treasures to Go,” the museum’s traveling exhibition program, comes from The C.F. Foundation, Atlanta.

Our America is sponsored in Arkansas by Donna and Mack McLarty, The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston, Consulate of Mexico in Little Rock and Alan DuBois Contemporary Craft Fund. Media sponsors include ¡Hola! Arkansas and Telemundo Arkansas.