Monday, September 21, 2020

Kennedy Center to Review Selection of Artists and Engaged more with Latino Community

Kennedy Center
The Kennedy Center announced Monday the formation of a new 11-member advisory panel which will include five prominent Latinos as board members, in addition to a Latino Advisory Committee to foster engagement within the Latino community, after having weathered strong criticism for the lack of Latino/Hispanic presence in past honorees rosters.

In September, the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts criticized the Kennedy Center for excluding Latinos in their past 180 honorees. There have been only two honorees with Latino/Hispanic descent: Placido Domingo from Spain and Chita Rivera of Puerto Rican heritage.

The statement issued by the Kennedy Center says that it will form the committee “to establish a more open and collaborative engagement with the Hispanic community”.

“This is a great step in the right direction,” says Hector Sanchez, Chairman of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda. “The next step is to make sure that our recommendations in the committee actually take place.”

For 35 years, the Kennedy Center Honors have become a major cultural prize that selects artists to receive one of the nation’s highest art prizes. The honor comes with a salute from the president, currently Michael Kaiser, and secretary of state in December, along with performances by famous entertainers.

Felix Sanchez, Chairman of the National Hispanic Foundation of the Arts, says that this advisory panel can also help bring in more balanced and varied performance choices and events to the Kennedy Center

“I think that what we’re looking at here is a seismic shift.  We’re looking at institutional change, and we are seeing it across the board, especially right before and after November’s election,” says Felix Sanchez. “There is a realization and acknowledgement that the Latino community is part of the American mosaic.”

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