100 Years of Chicago Latino Art Goes Online

Latino Art

The UIC-based Inter-University Program for Latino Research will create a Chicago Latino artist directory with support from a Chicago Community Trust grant

A hundred years of Latino art in Chicago will be showcased in a new online archive, funded by a $40,000 grant from the Chicago Community Trust to a national Latino research group based at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The Inter-University Program for Latino Research (IUPLR), a national consortium of 25 university-based Latino research centers, will establish a Chicago Latino artist directory dating back to the early 1900s that will include image galleries, biographies, artists’ statements and related website links. Users will be able to sort information by artist name, country of origin, gender, decade, art form or theme.

The grant also will support panels and workshops led by Chicago-based artists at Latino Art Now!, the program’s national conference, April 7 – 9.

“Artists, collectors, curators and scholars will benefit from the website as a valuable research and educational tool,” says Maria de los Angeles Torres, executive director of IUPLR. “The related conference programs offer a platform for local artists to share and discuss contemporary issues and influences around Latino art in urban spaces.”

IUPLR will call for submissions for the directory and for Chicago-focused proposals for the conference in February. Conference events sponsored by the Chicago Community Trust grant will be recorded and made available on the directory’s website.

The grant is IUPLR’s second art initiative to receive funding this year. In May, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded the program $20,000 to develop a virtual gallery that will enable users to curate online exhibits of artwork from Chicago Latino artists.

Torres said the program wants to engage artists, museum professionals, students and community organizations in conversations about the creation and dissemination of Latino art in global cities, particularly Chicago.

“The production of Chicago artists deserves greater attention in national Latino art narratives, debates and public engagement,” said Torres, who is professor of Latin American and Latino studies at UIC.

The Latino Art Now! conference, which is presented in collaboration with the Smithsonian Latino Center, will host events at UIC, the Chicago Cultural Center, the National Museum of Mexican Art, and the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance.

“Spring of Latino Art,” a series featuring more than 60 community-based exhibitions and events related to the conference, will run from March through June at venues across the city.

Latino Art Now! conference registration and more information is available online.

Founded in 1983, IUPLR aims to promote policy-focused research and advance the Latino intellectual presence in the U.S.  The group supports research and programs that foster greater understanding of U.S. Latinos in politics, economics, culture, art, history and immigration.

Story By: Brian Flood
bflood@uic.edu