West Valley Arts celebrates the impact of Latino culture

West Valley Arts is celebrating the impact of Latino culture on American culture by introducing the heritage of those of Latino and South American descent. We discussed the eight-month celebration with President and CEO of West Valley Arts, Sandra Bassett.

West Valley Arts launched the program “Imprint” as part of the council’s diversity, equity, and inclusion program. Back in January, they launched their “African-American in the Arts” series, and they have now expanded the program to their “Viva La Cultura” series, which celebrates Latin and Chicano cultures through workshops, art exhibits, and music.

The council also plans on launching their Indigenous program, and Bassett mentions that they are grateful to have the platform to be able to include people of color through their organization.

“The people of color in America, we don’t just leave footprints in the sand that can be washed away with water, but our cultures leave an indelible imprint in American culture that needs to be recognized and celebrated every single day of the week, every single day of the year,” Bassett said.

The eight-month program was initiated on May 1 with a festival. They have an exhibit that continues through June 4, and a monthly workshop that allows people to participate in creating art that highlights a specific culture, and allows them to learn about what those pieces of art reflect, as well as how they can enhance cultural awareness.

The program is also partnering with Westmarc to have a virtual community conversation about Latinos and the South American community. “We’re looking forward to create that type of dialogue…because it’s through conversation, it’s through understanding, it’s through engaging that we’re able to break down the barriers and the walls that create division,” Bassett said.

West Valley Arts continues to ask the public to wear a face mask and socially distance in their indoor exhibits. However, as COVID guidelines continue to change through time, the organization hopes to be able to lift its mask mandate soon and allow the public to experience their exhibits in the way that they choose.

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Sandra Bassett, President and CEO of West Valley Arts

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