The National Hispanic Cultural Center is one of the leading foundations dedicated to promoting education and exposure for the arts of Hispano/Latinx and Chicano art through mediums such as traditional visual arts, performing arts, and other nontraditional arts as well. It is a place where people can come to embrace their heritage and express themselves freely without prejudice. In this blog, I will highlight the National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC) and its commitment to the education of Hispano culture and arts.
The NHCC was first founded in 2000 and has sponsored hundreds of events each year including the competition rounds for the reality tv show Broadway Bound Live. They are also a proud partner with the National Institute of Flamenco serving as the home for Festival Flamenco, a thrilling annual 9-day event that showcases the power of flamenco and honors the legacy of its Institute in New Mexico. It is the oldest and largest flamenco festival outside of Spain and will be held on June 9th-17th, 2023.
In addition to their many performances, the NHCC is also a hotspot for educational programs for all ages through dance classes, acting workshops, and increased exposure to Hispano, Latinx, and Chicano culture. Interim Executive Director, Zackary Quintero said the NHCC is committed to promoting, defending, and uplifting the art of these communities so that people can come here to learn or inspire others while sharing their culture.
“This is their home, this is a place where they are accepted,” Quintero said. “Where they are free to be able to build out the vastness of their creativity, and a place where they can feel connected to their culture and I hope that they will always know that is never going to change.”
The NHCC has an education team known as Instituto Cervantes which specializes in workshops for both children (k-12) and senior programming to promote history and language arts within the community. Their focus is to bring in groups to teach them principles that are engaging and allow people to creatively express themselves. Quintero said it is also a great way to identify talent and help get people the resources they need to get started down a creative path they may be interested in.
One thing that a lot of people may not realize is that the NHCC also has an art museum in the building next to the Roy E. Disney Performing arts center. It is open Tuesday-Sunday from 10 AM till 4 PM and it is $5 for New Mexico residents, or $6 for general admission. It contains a permanent collection of many different mediums of art which frequently have conversations and lecture series prepared about them for tours of the exhibits.
But there is also a rotation of different exhibits that are only on display for a limited time as they highlight the works of different national, regional, or local artists that the NHCC has found through the Cultural Ambassador program. Right now the museum is displaying an exhibit called Nexo Entre Raices which is a collection of print work from artists who are living and working in both Mexico and The United States. Their work traverses themes of culture, tradition, identity, and place, connecting those with Mexican roots across borders.
“That is a story of both Mexican and American artists specializing in print medium,” Quintero said. “Let me tell you, some of the stories that are on those walls right now… Just going through, it’s incredibly powerful and very moving so if you haven’t visited it yet I highly recommend it.”
The Nexo Entre Raices exhibit will be on display until September 10th for those who want to go visit the display before the next rotation. The National Hispanic Cultural Center is a great place to visit to get involved with Hispano communities. Whether it is to take a class, watch a local screening or enjoy a beautiful dance performance, you can guarantee it will offer you an abundance of enriching cultural programs to learn from. If you're interested in hearing more about it from the Interim Executive Director Zackary Quintero, check out this video where I talk to him about the different programs of the National Hispanic Cultural Center.
Daniel Ward is an actor, writer, and contestant finalist of Broadway Bound Live Season 2 and can be contacted on Twitter @wordsofward34 or Instagram @wardledorp