SEATTLE – In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, KIRO 7 celebrates the contributions of the Latino and Hispanic communities.
Every year, it is observed from September 15 to October 15.
Tracey Leong of KIRO 7 spoke with a Seattle gallery owner to spotlight Northwest Latinx artists.
Artist Jake Prendez is proud to showcase the incredible talent of the Latinx community inside the Seattle Nepantla Cultural Arts Gallery which he co-owns with his partner Judy Avita-Gonzalez.
“All it is is shining a light on what’s already going on, and there’s an incredible art movement going on in Seattle, and that doesn’t just prove in Seattle how great it is.” great art movement, but really to the rest of the country – don’t forget us around the corner, ”said Prendez.
The gallery opened in February 2019 as a welcoming space for creators and marginalized communities to host workshops, exhibit their work and share their art.
“Growing up here I didn’t see people who looked like my parents, you know, and our community here is so diverse. We want them to be able to see each other, their families and ancestors on the artwork on the walls as well as in the gift shop purchasing items from Latinx artists, women-owned businesses, so that this inspires them, ”Avitia-Gonzalez mentioned.
“Not seeing me or my family reflected in anything and I wanted so badly to feel the same when I went to visit them and be immersed in the culture,” said Prendez.
Inspired by the Chicano movement and his family time on the East LA art scene, Prendez saw an opportunity when he returned to Seattle.
“Right off the bat, I saw that Seattle had the talent, there were some amazing Latinx artists. It seemed like no one knew each other, there was just this big gap, ”said Prendez.
An advocate for youth empowerment, Prendez is also passionate about the healing power of art.
“I used to be that kind of at-risk kid growing up and getting involved in things, and I didn’t have that way of expressing myself,” Prendez said. “I always looked back and wished I had art back then, wished I could express myself differently with what I was facing.”
And as parents, Prendez and Avitia-Gonzalez understand the importance of representation and cultural accessibility for each generation.
“Art is this vehicle, it’s this tool that really helps us face life. And bringing that to the community is invaluable, ”said Prendez.
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