Dance performances

Muscatine Art Center, LULAC Muscatine will host mariachi and dance performances

MUSCATINE — National Hispanic Heritage Month is recognized from September 15 to October 15, with the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) holiday being celebrated shortly after on November 1 and 2.

Although her staff’s plans fall somewhere in the middle of those two points, director Melanie Alexander and her team at the Muscatine Art Center felt it was still an appropriate time to celebrate and recognize “the generations of Hispanic Americans who have enriched our community. through a night filled with art, dance and culture.

On Thursday, October 20 from 5:15-6:45 p.m., the Muscatine Art Center will hold its Celebracion de las Artes event – ​​a collaboration between the Art Center, LULAC Muscatine, the Stanley Center for Peace and Security, West Liberty’s Los Cometas Mariach and the Quad Cities Ballet Folkorico (QCBF).

According to Alexander, this is not the first time that the Muscatine Art Center has partnered with LULAC. Previously, in 2021, the two groups had collaborated to present an exhibition centered on the photographs of Frida Kahlo.

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“The event drew many visitors, some of whom traveled all the way to Des Moines to attend,” Alexander said. “Following the success of the 2021 event, we knew we wanted to collaborate with LULAC again. Then, in late 2021, we received a grant from the Mary Jo and Richard H. Stanley Human Conditions Fund of the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine. The grant project was to present shows from various cultures, with Celebracion de las Artes being one of the shows.

Kicking off the evening will be a performance by West Liberty High School’s Los Cometas Mariachi at 5:15 p.m. Produced by Ashley Smith and funded by the Greater Muscatine Community Foundation’s Racial Justice Fund, this band features authentic music and has been teaching culture since May. 2021, when the band held their first public performance.

Then, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., the QCBF will take the stage and show the beauty and flair of Mexican culture through the art of dance. While this isn’t the band’s first time at Muscatine, it’s their first time performing at the Muscatine Art Center.

Throughout the event, the Art Center along with West Liberty Latinos Americanos 4-H and Muscatine UNIDOS 4-H will be offering several different crafts and activities for young guests and families. This will include a mini piñata and a Luchadores paper mask, the latter led by artist Miriam Alarcon Avila.

Although this is a free event, guests will also have the opportunity to purchase dessert, courtesy of Muscatine Community College’s LULAC Group. Attendees will also receive tickets which can then be redeemed for two free tacos from Mexican restaurant Guadalajara.

“This event will provide plenty of family-friendly entertainment and activities and allow everyone to experience the cultural traditions and talent of local students,” said Alexander. She added that this event is one of five events in 2022 that explore different traditions. Other events in this series will include a Japanese drumming show, a French guitarist and a bilingual puppet program.

“An introduction or immersion in another culture helps us better understand or appreciate the experiences of people who have a background different from ours,” Alexander continued. “All are welcome at Muscatine Art Center, and we strive to provide experiences that reflect this and bring people together. We could not have developed this event without our collaborators – LULAC Muscatine, Global Education at Stanley Center and various student organizations.

This will be a rain or shine event, with the festivities being moved to the Art Center Music Room in the event of rain, otherwise the event will take place on the Art Center grounds. Guests are encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs for the show. For more information on this and other upcoming events at the Art Center, residents can visit www.muscatineartcenter.org.