I recently had a conversation with someone that told me there wasn’t an “official” institution in the United States for Puerto Rican preservation of culture.
This led me to decide it was time to write a piece on Latin American art museums in the United States who are dedicated to preserving all Latino and Caribbean art and culture. Included is a museum dedicated to specifically preserving the art and culture of Puerto Rico.
Museum of Latin American Art: Opened in 1996 in Long Beach, MOLAA’s architecture is art itself. The structure was designed by Mexican architect Manuel Rosen. The museum continuously showcases modern and contemporary Latin American Art that pushes the boundaries of the genre. They have an outdoor sculpture garden, a café selling delicious Latin cuisine and desserts, and inspiring events going on year-round. $10 GA. Wed thru Sun, 11am to 5pm. Extended hours on Friday, 11am-9pm.
The Mexican Museum: This museum is currently located in the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco’s Marina District while they build their permanent home in downtown San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Arts District. The museum’s permanent collection is over 16,000 art objects of Pre-Hispanic, Colonial, Popular, Modern and Contemporary Mexican and Latino, and Chicano Art. Their vision is to reflect the evolving scope of the Mexican, Chicano, and Latino experience. Free admission. Thurs to Sun, Noon to 4pm.
Latino Art Museum: Located in Pomona, the non-profit’s goal is “to promote the works of talented Latino American contemporary artists living in the United States.” Past shows include The Immigrants in Pomona, Independent vs Independence, and Hispanic Heritage. Free admission. Wed to Sat, 3:30-6:30pm.
The National Museum of Mexican Art: Originally founded by Mexican-born, Chicago-raised Carlos Tortolero with $900 and a group of fellow educators who wanted to establish a Mexican art presence in the Illinois area. Today the institution showcases 3,000 years of creativity from Mexican artists from both Mexico and the United States. They house the largest Mexican art collection in the country. Free admission. Tues to Sun, 10am to 5pm.
The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture: The only self-standing museum showcasing Puerto Rican Arts and Culture in the country is located in the heart of Chicago’s Puerto Rican community, Humboldt Park. The museum dedicates itself to community, exhibitions displaying art from Puerto Ricans and the diaspora, and cultural events. Free admission. Tues thru Friday, 10am to 4pm; Sat, 10am to 1pm.
Museo de las Americas: With a growing Latino community in Denver, the museum was created on the basis of promoting Latin American art and culture and educating the community through innovative exhibitions and programs. They house and showcase ancient to contemporary Latin American art. GA $5. Tues to Sun, 12pm to 5pm.
Gary Nader Latin American Art Centre: Owning the largest Latin American Art collection in the nation, Lebanese-Dominican art collector, Gary Nader is a big player in the art world. If all goes well with obtaining the land in downtown Miami, he plans to open up the largest and most creatively structured Latin art museum in the world (see image below) that will house 188 pieces by Latin artists. He currently has a gallery in the Wynwood area opened since 1985. Mon to Sat, 10am to 6pm
Perez Art Museum Miami: While the museum is not exclusively for Latin American Art, it is named after long-time trustee and collector of Latin American art, Cuban-native Jorge A. Pérez ( who donated $35 million to the project). PAMM continuously shows solo and group exhibitions featuring Latin American artists. The building is also something to rave about. From afar, it looks like the museum is an island. GA $16. Mon & Tues, 10am to 6pm; Thurs, 10am to 9pm; Fri thru Sun, 10am to 6pm.
El Museo Latino: A resource and center for Latino Studies in the Midwest, el museo located in Omaha not only curates exhibitions but in addition develops educational programs that include lectures, films, art classes, workshops, gallery talks, and dance classes. GA $5. Mon, Wed & Fri, 10am to 5pm; Tues & Thurs, 1pm to 5pm; and Sat, 10am to 2pm.
El Museo de Barrio: Founded 45 years ago by artist and educator Raphael Montañez Ortiz along with a group of parents, educators, artists, and activists in Spanish Harlem, presents and preserves the art and culture of Puerto Ricans and all Latin Americans in the United States. El Museo exhibits bold art and curates varied cultural bilingual programming. GA $9. Wed to Sat, 11am to 6pm; Sun, Noon to 5pm.
Mexic-Arte Museum: Founded in Austin in 1984 by a trio of artists who wanted to share the art and culture of Mexico with Texas. The museum is now dedicated to preserving and presenting traditional and contemporary Mexican, Latino, and Latin American art and culture for visitors of all ages. GA $5. Mon thru Thurs, 10am to 6pm; Fri & Sat, 10am to 5pm; Sun, Noon to 5pm.
Smithsonian Latino Center: Created in 1997 to promote Latino presence within the Smithsonian, the center uses various spaces collaborating with museums and research centers to showcase the contributions of the Latino community in the arts, history, national culture and scientific achievements. Check out the website for current exhibitions in different locations in DC. The website also has a virtual museum.
Harwood Museum of Art: The Harwood was founded in 1923, and is part of the University of New Mexico. The vision of the museum is that it “brings Taos arts to the world and world arts to Taos.” Collections include Early 20th Century and Taos Society of Artists, Hispanic Traditions, and Native American. Tues to Fri, 1o to 5pm, Sat to Sun, 12 to 5pm. Admission fees here.
National Hispanic Cultural Center: A division of the State of New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, the National Hispanic Cultural Center is made up of an art museum, library, geneaology center, and educational resources. The center presents over 700 events each year. You can see the various admission times and fees here.
Heard Museum: The Phoenix-based museum, founded in 1929, “is dedicated to the advancement of American Indian art.” It was the only North American stop on the limited world tour for the Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera exhibition, which was said to have drawn in over 100,000 visitors. Admission fees here. Mon to Sat, 9:30 to 5pm; Sun 11 to 5pm; First Fridays (except in March) 6 to 10pm.
Casa San Javier, Enjoy beautiful house in a quiet area where everything is at hand, schools, shopping centers, self-service stores; You can walk to the Center and you are 3 minutes from the main roads to León, Dolores and Celaya.
Get more info in: https://t.co/EGwreRKNxB pic.twitter.com/rWp4x4IAyE
— AgaveSIR (@AgaveSIR) March 23, 2020
Casa Dolores, Center for the Study of the Popular Arts of Mexico: Casa Dolores, a 1843 adobe house in Santa Barbara, showcases art from several parts of Mexico. This includes Huichol art from the highlands; black pottery whistles and toys, and Alebrijes from Oaxaca; blue pottery from Tlaquepaque; Talavera pottery from Puebla; and more. Free admission. Tues to Sat, 12 to 4pm.
The Hispanic Society of America Museum & Library: Founded in 1904, the Hispanic Society of America was created “with the object of establishing a free, public museum and reference library for the study of the art and culture of the Spain, Portugal, Latin America, and the Philippines.” There, you will see over 900 paintings, 6,000 watercolors and drawings, 15,000 prints, over 175,000 photos, 300,000 books and periodicals, and countless examples of jewelry, furniture, textiles, and more. The museum is currently closed for renovations, but should reopen in 2019. In the meantime, the library is open on a limited basis, by appointment only (email here).
LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes: The LA Plaza (a museum and cultural center), an official project of Los Angeles County and a Smithsonian Affiliate, serves to celebrate and appreciate Mexican and Mexican-American culture, with a focus on the Chicano culture of L.A. and SoCal. It is located by the site where Los Angeles was founded in 1781. Free admission. Mon, Wed, and Thurs, 12 to 5pm, Fri to Sun, 12 to 6pm.
Here is a full list of Latino Cultural Sites in the US.