For Immediate Release: July 12, 2016
Contact: Michale Reyes,



Southwest Detroit to Welcome Latino Arts Leaders from Across Michigan


The National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) is hosting the Michigan Latinx Arts Summit on October 7, 2016, to provide a space for artists, educators, activists, and youth to strengthen professional networks and share best practices.


There’s still time to register for the free one-day event which will take place at the Ford Resource and Engagement Center. Register online at


NALAC is teaming up with Arts in a Changing America, an organization hosting the free ArtChangeUS REMAP: Detroit convening on October 6, 2016. NALAC and REMAP will host a joint reception on October 6 at 6:00 p.m. at the Arab American National Museum. Links to the REMAP event can be found here.


Yosimar Reyes, an energetic and humorous poet and performance artist who was born in Guerrero, Mexico, and currently resides in California, will deliver the Latinx Summit Keynote: “Documenting Joy: Shifting the Narrative in Undocumented Storytelling.” Reyes is an Arts Fellow at Define American, the media outfit founded by Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas.


Other national guests include acclaimed artist Favianna Rodriguez from Oakland, CA, and Arnaldo Lopez of the Pregones Theater in the Bronx, NY, who will present a practical workshop on funding your work and best business practices,


“Attendees will want to arrive early to the Summit because a dynamic performance is being planned that morning which will mix musical styles and aesthetics, putting forms like contemporary street dance in conversation with traditional Puerto Rican bomba music,” noted Gabriel Magraner, NALAC Director of Programs. DJ Martha, Lisa Brunk, America del Real of Joyas de America, Motor City Street Dance Academy, poets LadyFireTide and Sam A. Publes of Grand Rapids will participate.


Leaders from Detroit including musician Ozzie Rivera (Community Learning Partnership), Amelia Duran (Garage Cultural), and artist Arturo Herrera will join other panelists from Flint, Saginaw, Grand Rapids. Underscoring the importance of arts advocacy, there will be a town hall with Council Member Raquel Castañeda-López and State Representative Harvey Santana.


With generous support from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, the Summit is part of a larger project to build equal voice for the growing Latino population in Michigan through arts and culture. According to the Pew Research Center, Michigan’s Hispanic population represent approximately half a million people. While Hispanics make up only 5% of the state population, they make up 8% of all K-12 students and their median age is 24.


This young community has a long future ahead, and there is a need to bolster advocacy efforts by and for Latinos in the state. Michigan’s Latino artists, teachers, and organizers are often the ones on the front lines, responding to our communities’ biggest challenges— cultural equity, immigration reform, and equal rights for LGBTQ individuals.  


This past year NALAC has invested in Latino arts and culture leaders in Michigan with the aim that they will share best practices with their peers strengthening the larger field of Latino arts and cultures. Susannah Quintanilla of El Ballet Folklorico Estudiantil in Flint and Vagner Mendonça Whitehead, former faculty member at Oakland University, both participated in NALAC’s Advocacy Leadership Institute in Washington D.C. and met with top-ranking officials at the National Endowment of the Arts, the White House and Congress. 


This summer, three Michigan artists- photographer Lisa Luevanos, poet Michael Reyes, and Emilio Rodriguez of the newly formed Black & Brown Theatre project- braved the Texas heat and attended the NALAC Leadership Institute in San Antonio, sharpening crucial arts management skills.


Through its grant programs, NALAC has supported a number of Michigan organizations, including the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Ballet Folklorico Moyocoyani Izel in Detroit and El Ballet Folklorico Estudiantil in Flint.


The Latinx Arts summit is allowing us as cultural workers and creators a space to connect across the state. It is a time for us to build a network and communicate. There is a lot of great work happening in cities like Grand Rapids and Saginaw but if you live in Detroit or Kalamazoo you may not know that the Latinx community is innovating, creating and developing projects, programs and art statewide. The summit will be that time for us to learn and share with each other.”  -Michael Reyes


The National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures is committed to providing much needed resources for Latino artists and arts professionals to strengthen their work, deepen their relationships with diverse communities, and develop and sustain safe cultural spaces from which to engage critical issues.


The NALAC Michigan Latinx Arts Summit is made possible thanks to generous support from W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Southwest Airlines, Ford Resource and Engagement Center, Matrix Theatre, Living Arts, and La Voz Magazine.


Register now and view the agenda online at

About NALAC - The National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures is the nation's leading nonprofit organization exclusively dedicated to the promotion, advancement, development, and cultivation of the Latino arts field. In this capacity, NALAC stimulates and facilitates intergenerational dialogues among disciplines, languages, and traditional and contemporary expressions. Through its programs and advocacy efforts, NALAC serves as a catalyst for communities' cultural development, positive social change, and the ongoing stabilization and sustainability of the Latino arts field. Founded in 1989, NALAC was born from a common vision shared by a group of prominent Latino and Latina artists.