NALAC works with the The Kennedy Center to change to Kennedy Center Honors program

2013 National Arts Advisory Panel Member

The National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) is a legacy organization investing in the Latino heritage of this nation. For over 23 years, NALAC has built a strong foundation for the promotion of Latino arts and culture and its advocacy efforts have advanced issues of cultural equity and raised the visibility and understanding of Latino artistic and cultural expression. NALAC has deep roots in the Latino community and our commitment is to continue providing a strong voice for Latino arts and culture in all its forms, challenge and improve the severe undercapitalization of the artistic communities of color in general, and the Latino arts community in particular. NALAC serves the Latino arts field with programs that provide leadership training, foster innovation and creativity and sustainability.

Since October 2012, NALAC has been engaged in dialogue with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to pursue positive changes in the Kennedy Center Honors program and discuss expansion of its other programs to be more inclusive of our nation’s diverse heritage. We realize that in the case of the Kennedy Center Honors program, such inclusivity is not reflected and NALAC shares in the collective concern for change in this program.

In November 2012, NALAC met with Michael Kaiser, board trustee Gisselle Fernandez and Patricia Tamez of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to recommend strategies to change the Kennedy Center Honors selection process and its programming policies to be more inclusive. NALAC was asked to be part of an 11 member committee that will review the Honors selection process and help develop criteria. NALAC has proposed a transparent process based on artistic merit with a rigorous and fair review. NALAC will meet with a Kennedy Center board committee in early January 2013 and the Kennedy Center has announced it will convene the 11 member artist committee later in January.

Based on our history and experience with the Kennedy Center we know that they’ve been successful in their effort to include Latinos and people of color in their programs of Capacity Building, Arts Management, Arts Education and paying/presenting artists at the Center. We know that many Latino artists, arts organizations and professionals have benefitted directly through participation in the Kennedy Center’s different programs. The exclusion of Latinos in the arts is a national issue that is not confined to the Kennedy Center. This oversight denies our right for cultural expression and recognition.

We understand the Kennedy Center will continue to evolve their diversity policies, specifically around Latino inclusion in all their programs including the symbolic Kennedy Center Honors programs. NALAC is committed to continue its work for cultural equity and inclusion beyond the Kennedy Center.