Wisconsin Conference on Latinx Art and Culture Will Highlight Local Latinx Artists
Latinos Organizing for Understanding and Development (LOUD), a statewide initiative focused on promoting collaboration between Latino arts and service organizations, artists, and the communities in which they operate, will organize its Wisconsin’s first annual conference on Latinx art and culture on October 15. 15.
Oscar Mireles is the founder of LOUD and is hosting the virtual conference which will spotlight artists who have lived or had significant experience in Wisconsin.
“A big impetus for this conference was the large exhibition taking place at the MMoCA called “Box of Visions” (Caja de visiones). A professor from the 20s and 30s collected all these prints by Diego Rivera and all the masters and he gave them to the museum… and they are simply incredible prints,” says Mireles. “Thinking about this big exhibition, I thought maybe it would be a good time to organize a conference.”
Mireles created LOUD in 2016 to support his efforts as Madison Poet Laureate, a position he held from 2016 to 2020. Mireles had has been doing a lot in the arts lately and felt the time was right for the Wisconsin Conference on Latinx Art and Culture. Originally, Mireles says, they wanted to hold an in-person event at the Arts & Literature Laboratory, a community arts space in Madison.
“The goal was to have 120-150 people at the event for the first year and make it a great post-pandemic opportunity to bring people together and make it a very exciting event,” Mireles says. “But then the Delta variant came along, so we had to move it to a virtual format.”
The Wisconsin Conference on Latinx Art and Culture will have two keynotes and 10 interactive breakout sessions with artists.
“Because everyone and their brother are tired of virtual and Zoom activities, we will structure the sessions and workshops around 18-minute TED Talks,” says Mireles. “We ask speakers to talk about what sparked their interest in their arts, three lessons they learned, and what they would have said to themselves at 15.”
There will be a live Q&A, adds Mireles, so “be sure to bring your questions.”
In addition to hosting conversations and awareness, LOUD has been dedicated to commemorating the moment and the movement captured by the murals installed in downtown Madison during the summer of 2020.
“LOUD has been a way for me to do different things and really promote the many things that are happening in the arts,” says Mireles. “We have been involved in various things like the Art Party that LOUD organizes. We just held one last Tuesday at the Arts & Literature Lab and were able to stage it on the fifth floor parking ramp.
“Our slogan is: ‘Free wine, free beer, free food, no speeches and no one will ask you for money’,” adds Mireles with a laugh.
Mireles is hoping for a big turnout at the Wisconsin conference on Latinx art and culture and says he expects many high school and college students to attend the event. Zarco Guerrero, a sculptor, mask maker and performance artist working in Mesa, Arizona, who has dedicated his life to creating positive social change through the arts, will be one of the keynote speakers at the event.
His wife, Carmen Guerrero, will be the other keynote.
“Zarco Guerrero, our keynote speaker, he came here to Promega [Summer Art Showcase] two to three times. I met him in 1976 when I was at university. His wife is the other keynote speaker and they work a lot in the Pheonix, Arizona area,” says Mireles. “They’ve done a few shows at Promega – even though they’re not from Wisconsin, they have a long history of being here. We look forward to hearing from them at the event.
Latinos Organizing for Understanding and Development (LOUD) is hosting its first annual Wisconsin conference on Latinx art and culture on October 15. For more information or to register, Click here.