MILWAUKEE — The "Hyphenated Americans" art exhibit opened its doors on Friday night at Latino Arts in the United Community Center. The exhibit features art from the Latinx community in Milwaukee and explores what it means to be Latinx in the U.S.
"They're exploring the idea that they are Americans, growing up in the United States, being a part of this community. However, their cultural heritage is rooted somewhere else," said Latino Arts Managing Director Jacobo Lovo.
Katie Avila Loughmiller, the curator of the exhibit and co-founder of LUNA (Latinas Unidas en las Artes), said she's hoping to bring more representation of Latinx artists to the Milwaukee community.
"What I really love about this show is it highlights both the similarities and differences. And being Latinx is not a one-size-fits-all thing," Loughmiller said.
Seventeen artists are featured at the exhibit, including digital painter Whitney Selgado. She said her piece in the exhibit, "Hija de Both," represents the different facets of herself.
"I grew up in a very small town that was heavily segregated and it pushed me to separate western ideas vs. Mexican culture because it felt like you had to be one or the other. And it always felt like you had to conform and separate. My piece is about accepting all pieces that make you," Salgado said.
The representation featured in the exhibit is something Salgado said she wished she had more of growing up.
"If I saw something like this growing up, I think it would've helped my self-esteem as far as culture goes," she said.
Lovo said having a space to showcase diverse art and artists is as important as ever.
"To be able to have a space where people can be seen, recognized and not only be empowered [but] to have a voice - it's extremely crucial for us to be able to move forward," he said.
He also hopes the exhibit provides a space for learning about the Latinx and Hispanic communities in Milwaukee.
"Use it as a cultural bridge-builder for non-Hispanics to come to get to know our community through the art. And really there's no better way for people to come together. Because through the arts they find that common place, that human connection of being creative."
And while that creative and emotional connection is important, Latino Arts, LUNA and the United Community Center are taking COVID-19 precautions seriously.
If you want to attend the exhibit, you're asked to pre-register for a time to help with social distancing. You can do that here.
The exhibit runs from March 5-June 5.