We are about to take a huge leap forward in Latino Art representation in the United States, and it’s all thanks to the first-ever Smithsonian permanent gallery devoted to nuestra comunidad.
This is a first for the prestigious institution, which is known as the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex. The Smithsonian celebrates American achievements like no other, and now, we’ll soon be able to see Latino contributions depicted on the museum’s first floor in 2021.
The Smithsonian Latino Center’s first gallery space, The Molina Family Gallery will open thanks to a $10 million donation from the five children of the late Dr. C. David Molina, a healthcare leader who passed away in 1996.
“It is a great privilege to make this gift in memory of our father,” said Martha Molina Bernadett on behalf of her siblings, Mario, John, Janet and Josephine in a statement from the Smithsonian. “His passion for helping others and entrepreneurial spirit helped build a legacy that we are all proud to contribute to today.”
Designed with 4,500 square feet of bilingual stories and rotating exhibitions lined with multimedia activities, the gallery is intended for audiences of all ages and aims to bring people of diverse backgrounds and experiences together. The first exhibit “Making Home: Latino Stories of Community and Belonging,” will take a closer look at the historical roots of Latino culture and how it has shaped national identity.
Even more exciting? You won’t need to leave your house in order to access the gallery’s resources. According to NBC News, audiences worldwide can benefit from long-distance digital experiences and learn about Latino history via podcasts and an upcoming Smithsonian Center app.
More than the gallery’s impressive design though, is what it represents: a momentous step toward recognizing the achievements and presence of the Latin community in American history and culture. As the Smithsonian Latino Center Director Eduardo Díaz stated “Latino history is American history, and we have a responsibility to reflect the stories and experiences of Latinas and Latinos in the U.S. today.”
“We’re thrilled to finally be realizing the dream of having a Latino gallery at the Smithsonian, but we recognize that our job continues outside of the museum’s walls,” he noted.
After all, in creating the space to appreciate and celebrate those latinos who came before us, we can give a greater sense of identity and belonging to those who will come after.