Bert Acoma Portal 3 Image3 webpage

Art Credit: Guillermo Bert


Latino Arts and Cultural Organizations in the United States: A Historical Survey and Current Assessment

Beginning in 1995, NALAC undertook the necessary task of collecting data on constituent Latino arts organizations throughout the nation. As the first ever national study of its kind, the survey and assessment was a response to the lack of factual data and general information that existed on Latino arts and cultural organizations. Through this research NALAC fulfilled the need to know its constituency better, and fostered mutual understanding among Latino arts and culture organizations and gave others the opportunity to gain insight into this often unrecognized community. During the first phase, two field researchers conducted in-person interviews with 43 organizations throughout the nation. A survey instrument was designed and distributed to each of these organizations. Whereas this first phase consisted of data collection and documentation, the second phase involved some data analysis so as to identify significant conditions and trends that have possible implications for policy. The summary report is based on this research, which focused on the history, development, current conditions and future prospects of these organizations with the goal of documenting this information for further analysis and synthesis. Interviews were divided into two geographic areas- the Southwest/West Coast Region and East Coast/Chicago Region, and the report compiled and synthesized information on key areas such as history, mission, current status, funding, governance, programs, audiences and issues which provided a thorough collective profile of the organizations in that region. The research showed certain unmistakable trends and conditions that have confronted and challenged Latino arts organizations.

Nebraska Arts Council Latino Arts Initiative: Composite Report Listening Sessions August 22-25, 2005

The Nebraska Arts Council initiated the Latino Arts Initiative in 2005 in an effort to help develop a comprehensive strategy for providing services to the Latino arts field in Nebraska.  A ten member Steering Committee representing organizations from across the state was formed to facilitate local connections, and NALAC supported outreach efforts to identify Latino artists and organizations and assess their needs. A series of listening sessions were held.  NALAC prepared a synopsis of the sessions based on observations and our conversations with artists and community representatives from across the state.  The report made suggestions for the Nebraska Arts Council to promote an environment of meaningful support to the Latino arts community and promote diversity.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Survey Analysis

In order to measure the impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding on Latino arts and culture organizations, NALAC conducted a survey focused on the distribution of National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) ARRA grants to Latino organizations. A total of 96 Latino organizations participated in this survey.

2009-2010 Organization and Artists Economic Survey Analysis

In response to the economic downturn in 2008, NALAC conducted a series of surveys in 2009 and 2010 to assess the economic condition of Latino artists and arts and culture organizations. The data collected shows that the Latino arts field experienced significant decreases and delays in funding, diminished revenue and reductions in staff and programs. Additionally, the results indicate that a significant number of Latino artists surveyed experienced an increase in requests to donate performances, to absorb production expenses and to provide their own equipment and labor in order to present their work. Both artists and organizations explored different strategies to maintain artistic production and provide much-needed programs and services despite harsh economic conditions.

National Conversations: Building Latino Leadership, Cultural Equity and Creative Innovation

Between 2010 and 2012 NALAC conducted six National Conversations to examine innovations, promote national dialogue and gather information on how demographic shifts and economic conditions are affecting the leadership structures, artistic production, organizational capacity and cultural equity in Latino communities. The first three conversations were convened in January 2010 in New York, San Antonio and Philadelphia. These historic conversations resulted in the publication of three white papers (now christened by NALAC as brown papers) that were presented to a national audience at NALAC's 7th National Conference in San Jose, California. NALAC convened the second iteration of National Conversations in 2011-2012 in San Francisco, Chicago and Miami to gather additional perspectives from the diverse national Latino arts sector. Each conversation was followed by a Town Hall meeting to gather feedback from the arts community in each city. NALAC invited accomplished Latino artists, leaders, legends, scholars and others from around the country to participate in its groundbreaking National Conversations Project in order to identify solutions to issues of capitalization, next generation leadership development and capacity building. After the 2010 sessions, acclaimed journalist Elizabeth Mendez Berry, whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, Vibe, the Village Voice, Smithsonian, The Nation, Time, among many others, prepared a series of three brown papers edited by Dr. Maribel Alvarez. The three papers are “Aesthetics”, “Leadership”, and “Organizations.”

Michigan Latino Arts Initiative and Houston Latino Arts Initiative

Current research projects that are launching include identifying the existing ecosystem of Latina/o arts communities and efforts throughout the state of Michigan and Houston, Texas that will include asset mapping, preparing surveys, conducting interviews, creating data visualizations and conducting analyses to serve as a tool for research, advocacy, and policymaking.