by Chanel Ward
History Colorado Museum Presented, Year of La Chicana, in collaboration with Arlette Lucero; artist, teacher of art and self-identified Chicana, along with Director of Community Engagement for History Colorado, Marissa Volpe on September 21.
Over a thousand people attended the event, filling the space with lively energy and a spotlight to shine on the accolades of Chicana women in the past, present and future.
“This is the opening event for Year of La Chicana and Year of La Chicana is a years’ worth of programming that’s coming through the partnership between El Movimiento committee and History Colorado, and it was developed as a response to our exhibit where we didn’t highlight women enough,” explained Volpe.
“We really saw the need to highlight more women through programming, and so we’re doing that through lectures, we’re doing that through an art exhibit, we had a crowd sourced collage of Chicana women, where over a hundred women submitted their photos and bios and that was really exciting,” she said.
“Arlette Lucero was our artist in residence, she was the one that basically spearheaded the collage that was sourced, and she also painted the three murals,” said Volpe, giving credit to Lucero and all of her work. In addition to Volpe and Lucero, the El Movimiento committee that is a group of about 30 activists who worked with the museum.
Volpe also explained that through the year they will continue collaborating with many more partnerships explaining, “we’re doing a digital storytelling where women will interview other Chicana women and we will be adding that to our collection.”
Volpe ended by explaining Colorado History’s next project.
“Next summer, we’ll be opening an exhibit named Hecho en Colorado and that’s a series of Latinx artists who will be coming through a new community space that we have in the Ballantine gallery and so we’re working with Adriana Abarca with the Latino Center of Cultural Arts and she’ll be partnering with History Colorado,” added Volpe.
Lucero explained how one phone call began it all. “Luca Martínez asked me if I would submit and I was going to meet with the Committee after they had selected me in May. May 1st, was my first meeting with them and I said ‘this thing has to be done by September!’ I better give them something to look at so that they can approve of it so I can get going on this.”
“I did the paintings small, I had them enlarged then had to get the Museum on board with my vision,” explained Lucero, who detailed that while Volpe was her go-to person at History Colorado, it was the help of noted community activists, Virginia Castro and Flor Lovato, who really helped her meet the less than three month deadline in addition to her month long work this past June with La Alma Parks summer program through Metropolitan State Universities Chicano/s Studies Journey Through Our Heritage Program.
Lucero thanked many people in her speech including, “Ramón Del Castillo for his poem that inspired me to include Xochiquetzal in Lupe’s painting.” She also applauded her son, Josh Lucero, who created the graphics for the mural.
“It was wonderful! Yeah, in the end everything worked out, it was beautiful, beautiful, beautiful and I feel really pleased about it,” ended Lucero about her labor of love and the recognition it received.
To check out the three murals and two crowd sourced collages, both painted by Lucero, visit the History Colorado Museum’s Fourth Floor throughout the year and to learn more about Year of La Chicana and how become involved you can contact the museum at (303) 447-8679 or at HistoryColorado.org.
Chanel Ward is an Independent Reporter for The Weekly Issue/El Semanario.
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