How the Latino Arts Foundation supports young artists

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – As you walk into the Lopez House, you’ll hear hum, laugh, and see a lot of creativity.

Whether painting, crafting or drawing, the Lopez family showcases their creative minds throughout their home, including Adelina Lopez, 14, who has been drawing since she was little.

“When I was very little I saw my dad drawing in front of me,” Adelina said. “I guess there was a day where he kind of forgot his pencils and I was like, ‘I probably could do that too. “”

And she did. It is a passion that she acquired and that she never gave up.

“There are a few characters like movies or TV shows or even music videos that I just loved to jot down,” Adelina said. “And if you look in my room, I’m a huge fan of Hatsune Miku.”

In recent years, she has showcased her art at pop-up events across the Latino Arts Foundation.

“It has gone from simple creative writing classes to visual art, video photography, muralism with a connection to Urban Works KC,” said Deanna Munoz, CEO and founder of the Latino Arts Foundation. “Now we are doing textiles. “

Existing for over 15 years, the foundation provides opportunities and mentoring programs for students to show their creative spirit.

“Just being with people who are like me or who have the same background as me makes me feel welcome,” said Adelina. “I may not know them personally, but they are already part of my family.”

“90 percent of our suppliers are Latino, Chicano, from all different countries,” Munoz said. “They are here to share their stories, their food. They are here to share the things they make with their hands and they hope you support them.”

For five years, the foundation has hosted the Latino Arts Festival.

“It was a way for our art students to move forward and feel like an entrepreneur,” Munoz said. “Like how do I prepare for an art festival, can I sell my work, do I have to sell my work?”

Due to COVID-19, the foundation made the decision to reduce the festival.

“We’re doing mini pop-ups now, which actually gave us the opportunity to get into other communities, so it’s not just one community a year,” Munoz said.

Adelina will showcase her art in one of these mini pop-ups Friday, September 24.

“I can just see her in galleries, in museums, you know,” Munoz said. “I know it’s going to happen and just her spirit and her will to be an artist is going to take her this far.”

For Adelina, the foundation not only provides her with a platform to do what she loves, but paints a bigger picture of her life.

“I wasn’t always like this. I wasn’t always as confident as now, damn it, I was afraid to speak in front of a camera or let my art express itself by thinking I was going to be. shot down and called stupid to pursue something I really love, ”Adelina said. “But just knowing that the Latino Arts Foundation will take people out of that shell and show people that ‘Hey! W What you are doing is beautiful and you should share it with the world’, just means the world. for me .”

It is this type of confidence that Munoz hopes to gain from his young artists.

“Because I needed it,” Munoz said. “I needed it and never heard it. And no child should ever not hear it.”

The pop-up mini event will take place on Friday, September 24 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at El Centro. The address is 650 Minnesota Avenue, Kansas City, Kansas 66101. There will be food, music, artists and vendors showcasing their work.

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