Take Two®

News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by A Martínez

Museum of Latin American Art to include Chicano art

by Michelle Lanz and Monica Bushman | Take Two®

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Outside the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, California. MOLAA is the only museum in the United States dedicated to modern and contemporary Latin American art. (Could this be Santa Fe, New Mexico, or what?) Photo by tracy allison altman via Flickr Creative Commons

Since its inception, the Long Beach Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) has defined Latin American art as that made by Latinos in Latin American countries.

Now the museum will "clarify" how it defines Latin American art to include artists of Latin American descent based in the U.S. and other countries. 

"That's really what the museum was focused on, which was artists living and working in Latin America of Latin American nationality," said the museum's president, Stuart Ashman on Take Two. "There were some exceptions early on and then later as the thinking evolved there were other exhibits that included Latin American artists and Latino artists, but as a matter of policy it was always what was established earlier."

The museum was founded in 1996 by Dr. Robert Gumbiner, a SoCal physician and philanthropist who wanted to bring Latin American art to a U.S. audience. He believed the art of the Americas deserved a wider appreciation.

"I think what he wanted to do was to show the Latino community that the art of the Latino community is as high as the art from the European community," said Ashman. "He wanted to bring that to this community's attention."

Over the years, some from the Chicano community felt the museum's art policy left them out. This new policy will make the museum more inclusive to all Latino artists, regardless of where they're from. 

"For this particular resolution that the board made, that allows us to not only show the work, but to collect it," said Ashman. "That's going to be a very big thing for this community because there has been some sense that they are excluded, even though that that was not the intent."

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