Our mission is to promote the appreciation of Mexican art in Utah with a vision of a community united by cultural connections.
We use the beauty of Mexican art to draw people of all ages, races and ethnicities together to learn more about Mexico, its history, cultures and people. Through the experience of enjoying and learning through art, people find commonalities, which builds bridges and promotes inclusion. We make sure our events are open and comfortable for everyone (and in English, Spanish, or bilingual, as the audience requests). We do not promote a political or religious position. We teach from a historical perspective and include U.S. history and parallels between Mexico/Latin America and the U.S. We include discussions presenting perspectives of those born in Mexico, immigrants, those of Mexican/Latino heritage born in the U.S. and non-Latinos, in order to promote understanding and cross-cultural competence. We especially seek to help young people of Latino heritage to be proud of their heritage and proud of being part of our country and community.
We provide high quality art education and art activities aimed at uniting our communities by 1) celebrating our rich history as part of Mexico (a fact many deny), and 2) helping Latinos develop pride in our heritage and a sense of belonging. Our programs include: free classes on Mexican/Latino art/history, the state’s only prize for Spanish literature, a Mexican film tour, traveling exhibits about Mexican art/artists, art workshops, and Salón México art talks. Last year we reached more than 205,000 people in our state of 2.9 million.
History and Artistic Programming
We formed in 2010 after seeing how an exhibit of Mexican art united our communities (Latino and nonLatino) during a politically divisive time. (Utah is 13% Latino, but 33-45% in some urban cities; nearly 80% of our 400,000+ Latinos are of Mexican origin.)
We began by presenting exhibits about Mexican art accompanied by academic talks, art workshops, exhibits of local artists, and performances. (These exhibits now travel, presented by libraries, community centers and schools.) We launched an annual Mexican film tour and the state’s only prize for Spanish literature. We present free classes (in English and Spanish) on Mexican art and history, drawing 30-100+ students per class. We connect people: last year a local playwright asked us who might produce her new musical on Día de los Muertos. We connected her with our community college as a way to create opportunities for its Latino students.
We use the arts to teach 1) the rich history of our state; and 2) pride in our Latino heritage. Our activities demonstrate, through the exciting medium of art, the humanity that unites us as a community. (Note that last year Artes de México en Utah rallied our community partners to fund a float in the parade celebrating the Hispanic Heritage of Utah.) Our core programs are:
• Community classes on Mexican art and history in English and in Spanish at free public locations
• Spanish Literature: State-wide Sor Juana Prize for heritage Spanish speakers and nonheritage speakers)(Utah’s only literary contest in Spanish)
• Two-day Mexican Independent Film event, with feature and short films and filmmaker Q&A (Utah’s only Mexican film event). Free community screenings when Mexican films are in Sundance.
• Traveling exhibits (about José Guadalupe Posada, José María Velasco, Agustín Casasola), plus educational support for the presenters
• Hands-on art workshops providing cultural education in local public libraries (piñatas, Día de los Muertos, etc.)
• Salón México: Private events featuring local Latino artists and/or talks on Latino arts by art historians, architects, writers, dancers
• Partnership participation in 1) art exhibits (museums, galleries); 2) book/film discussions; 3) float in Utah History parade; 4) Utah history conferences.
We again face a difficult time politically. As an organization that reaches both the Latino and non-Latino communities and has excellent relationships and partnerships in both communities, we are very motivated to build a sense of belonging among Latinos, and, in the overall community, goodwill, understanding, and appreciation of the contributions of Latinos to our state, thereby helping combat the ignorance, prejudice and racism that threatens to divide us.