Hispanic Heritage Series Part I of V
A major commemoration of National Hispanic Heritage Month kicks off at the History Colorado Center on Saturday, September 21 when celebrated Colorado Chicana artist Arlette Lucero reveals murals depicting three pivotal Colorado Chicanas. Her project at the state’s official history museum includes a crowdsourced collage project featuring Chicana activists as well. With a performance by Su Teatro and powerful opening remarks, the free reception opens Year of La Chicana, a community partnership between History Colorado and El Movimiento Advisory Committee. This is the inside story of its creation.
El Movimiento Advisory Committee is comprised of Colorado Chicano activists who have worked to direct the creation of the El Movimiento exhibit at History Colorado since 2014. Originally a temporary display, El Movimiento is now a core exhibit on long-term view at History Colorado Center, where it is offered to more than 200,000 visitors each year. It uses artifacts, photos, archival video footage, and activists’ own voices to tell about the struggle for labor rights, student activism, the Vietnam War, and more.
In the spring of 2018, the committee hosted three Chicana activists who voiced concerns that El Movimiento did not adequately represent the role of female activists in the movement. The Year of La Chicana was developed to embrace this feedback and make it the central force driving the partnership between the committee and History Colorado into the future. Its mission is to celebrate and honor La Chicana past, present, and future; to share her story with a wide range of audiences; and to connect the core issues of the Chicano movement with present-day issues of social justice, identity, and inclusion.
“The response to Year of La Chicana programming has been overwhelming. This demonstrates that there are many Coloradans who desire to see and share their own history, especially when it has been missing from the official record. History Colorado realizes in order to do our work, it is essential to be in relationship with a wide range of communities, especially those traditionally underrepresented, “ said Marissa Volpe, Director of Community Engagement.
Members of El Movimiento Advisory Committee include Adrianna Abarca, Magdalena Aguayo, David Atekpatzin Young, Ramon Del Castillo, Deborah Espinosa, Juan Espinosa, Antonio Esquibel, Priscilla Falcón, Cecilia Flores, Gail Gonzales, Charlotte Gonzales, Nicki Gonzales, Ricardo La Fore, Lucha Martínez de la Luna, Emanuel Martinez, Rita Martinez, Ernesto Torres, Roberto Rey, Carlos Santistevan, Pauline Rivera, Daniel Salazar, and Ruth Sanchez.
Free and open to the public, the evening is only the beginning of a full year of opportunities surrounding La Chicana. A Dia de los Muertos altar installation also comes to History Colorado Center in October and November, while forthcoming events include a chicano murals conference on October 19; a lecture at Pueblo Community College on homesteader Teresita Sandoval on November 15; a lecture in Denver about Juanita Dominguez on February 17, 2020; and March lectures by Priscilla Falcon and Shirley Romero-Otero. A “Chicana Women Interviewing Women” storytelling lab arrives in April, and the exhibit Hecho en Colorado opens summer 2020. A speaker’s bureau is also available for presentations to groups and classes. Information is available at HistoryColorado.org/chicana. An online group also facilitates conversation at facebook.com/groups/yearoflachicana.
About the Artist
Arlette Lucero earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Colorado State University in Fort Collins and completed two years of graphic arts through the Community College of Denver. She has taught art education for over twelve years in Colorado and is an active volunteer and current member at the Chicano Humanities and Arts Council of Denver. Lucero also has 30 years of experience as a fine artist, professional graphic artist, children’s book illustrator, and Chicana crafter.