Visit Philadelphia Launches Guide to Latino Art and Galleries

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As part of its efforts to promote the city’s global identity and diversity, Visit Philadelphia has launched an interactive digital guide to Latin arts and galleries. From studios to murals to museum collections, the site offers a list of places where Latin art flourishes and inspires in the city.

The online guide, which became available at the end of April, offers 14 recommendations ranging from public art, galleries and studios to permanent museum exhibitions and spaces for the performing arts. Users can navigate the guide on the Visit Philadelphia website by scrolling through the list of entries. They can also access a specific item by category or by clicking on an interactive map that geolocates each location with large red dots.

Rachel Ferguson, head of innovation and global diversity for Visit Philadelphia, said the English-language guide is part of an ongoing series of digital content the private nonprofit organization is producing this year. Ferguson said it’s part of an initiative that shines a spotlight on events, happenings and businesses owned by black, queer and brown communities in the area.

“The idea here is to continue to produce content from a diverse point of view for diverse audiences beyond the Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations,” she said.

Visit Philadelphia has worked with organizations like the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia to consider the entries included in the guide, which Ferguson said will be “a work in progress” that will be updated regularly. Updates will be based on reviews and suggestions.

Curator David Acosta, artistic director of the Casa de Duende, was enthusiastic about the initiative. The cultural organizer has worked with LGBTQ+ and Latinx artists in Philadelphia for over 25 years. He said the guide is a good start for what should be a more in-depth initiative, which includes a wider range of Latino art and events taking place in the city.

He said the guide should include the Fleisher Art Memorial’s Day of the Dead celebrations, as well as the Philadelphia Latin Film Festival. He also mentioned various permanent art installations at Philadelphia International Airport and the ContraFuerte sculpture in downtown by Miguel Antonio Horn, who founded the El Cubo art studio in West Philadelphia and is one of the only three Latinx artists to have been commissioned for the Percent for Art. program. Acosta suggested that the marketing agency reach out to people involved in promoting and showcasing Latinx art in the city, to ensure the guide captures as much as possible.

“I think the guide should also be aware of the scope and content of what constitutes Latin American art, which is quite broad considering the many countries that make up Latin America.”

Rafael Damast, curator and head of the exhibitions program for Taller Puertorriqueño, described the guide as a good “first step” in what could be a deeper and more nuanced initiative.

“I see it as if we were looking at this side of an unpolished diamond,” he said, acknowledging that the guidebook included admission to the Fairhill Puerto Rican and Latinx Cultural Center.

He suggested that adding more details about the uniqueness of the Latino art scene in the city would provide a solid foundation for the initiative.

Ferguson said the guide is one piece of a puzzle in a larger content strategy that has fueled the production of past and current initiatives. Visit Philadelphia produced a Latino-specific marketing campaign in 2019 called Filadelfia – You Gotta Feel It, which aimed to invite Hispanic and Latino travelers to stay and enjoy the city overnight. Other ongoing initiatives include specific social media posts and a podcast series called Love + Grit.

The organization focuses on Philadelphia culture, dining experience, day and night tours, diversity, history and sports. More recently, the Philadelphia Travel and Tourism Agency launched an initiative called Shop Philly, a retail aggregator where users can find curated items created or sold by people of color.

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