Amid Charlotte’s vibrant diversity, the growing population of newcomers from all corners of Latin America has led the Mint in recent years to undertake some of its most exciting multicultural projects.
Through its Latino Initiative , the Mint has developed a close relationship with the local Latino community and has showcased Latin American culture through art, programming, and special events. Local audiences can view one of the nation’s largest permanent collections of Art of the Ancient Americas at Mint Museum Randolph , spanning 4,300 years of human creativity from ancient Mesoamerica, Central America, and South America. Bilingual special exhibitions at the museum have ranged from an international celebration of food to the work of Colombian artist Débora Arango to the recent Mint-organized exhibition Connecting the World: The Panama Canal at 100 .
The initiative has launched programming for all ages, ranging from Bilingual Stories & Music for children ages 0-6 and their families to last spring’s first-ever Arte*Poesía*Música concert, a collaboration with Opera Carolina and ArtSi Charlotte . “Our cultural institutions belong to everyone. We have a social and civic responsibility to use our art to reach our community,” said Maestro James Meena, general director of Opera Carolina. Incredibly strong response to that concert has led the Mint’s Latino Initiative to craft a series of four Latin Music Concerts for the coming year to highlight the musical diversity of Latin America. The first of the series will take place on September 17 at Mint Museum Uptown, kicking off Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations.
Other programming ranges from film to discussions to drama. There’s something for every taste: Evenings of Poetry and Music take place in spring and fall at Mint Museum Randolph; CineMás: Latino Film Series is presented five times a year at the Randolph location to showcase high quality international films that otherwise do not make it to conventional local movie theaters; Round Table Discussions are presented at Mint Museum Uptown and bring the most relevant leaders from economic and cultural sectors to engage in a constructive dialogue about topics including arts and culture, the economy, government policy, diversity, and education; Con A de Arte (A is for Art), an annual event each June at Mint Museum Uptown , showcases the work of local artists from the Latin American community through presentations modeled after TED Conferences which include performances by musicians, dancers, and actors; and each year Mint Museum Randolph hosts the performance of a Spanish-language play.
To further its mission of outreach, the Mint has forged strong partnerships with organizations including the Latin American Chamber of Commerce , Latin American Coalition , Latin American Women’s Association , Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library , and Circle de Luz .
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The Latino Initiative is generously sponsored by the Duke Energy Foundation.
–Claudia Soria in The Charlotte Observer