Hispanic Heritage Month runs from Tuesday, Sept. 15 to Thursday, Oct. 15, and the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery is celebrating with a variety of virtual programs to highlight the cultures, traditions and stories of Americans with origins in Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
The weekly, bilingual virtual programs will give people the opportunity to explore portraits by Latinx artists, as well as hear stories about people like Sandra Cisneros, Marisol, Selena, Pedro Martínez and Sonia Sotomayor.
Programs include Young Portrait Explores, geared toward children, on Wednesdays at 11 a.m. on the Portrait Gallery’s Instagram, @smithsoniannpg, and “Introducing …” a storytime program on Wednesdays at 11 a.m. on YouTube.
Participants are also invited to delve further into the life and legacy of activist Dolores Huerta through an online adaptation of the National Portrait Gallery’s exhibition One Life: Dolores Huerta (2015–16), which highlighted Huerta’s key role as a co-founder and leader of the California United Farm Workers movement in the 1960s and 1970s. The online exhibition is available on the Portrait Gallery’s Google Arts & Culture page.
And, on Monday, Nov. 2, the series of events will culminate in an outdoor installation by DC-based artist MasPaz (whose artwork can be found through murals throughout the NoVA region), which will highlight the tradition of Dia de los Muertos in the context of the current COVID-19 crisis.
MasPaz will project a video and sound installation on the G Street facade of the museum’s building. The video will weave together images of COVID-19 victims that have been donated by their loved ones, and, to commemorate the Latinx individuals who have died, MasPaz will also create an altar with a painted mural, which will be displayed outside the museum’s G Street entrance.
“As part of the Portrait Gallery’s mission to celebrate the diversity of U.S. history, we commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month and the Latinx community more widely by linking the past to the present through our collection, special projects and accessible virtual offerings,” said Taína Caragol, the Portrait Gallery’s curator of painting and sculpture and Latinx art and history, in a recent press release. “Representing this growing community is particularly important as projections indicate that the percentage of Americans who identify as Latinx or who are of Latin American origin will exceed 20% in the next five years.”
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