Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio (CLUES) - “Santuario”
CLUES will create “Santuario,” a multi-layered public art & creative placemaking project uplifting Latino cultural heritage, traditions, & identity; ultimately creating a cultural sanctuary space for Latino immigrant communities. The project will be coordinated by CLUES staff, led by 5 local Latino artists, & will involve 100-200 community participants. Through this process, participants will feel a sense of ownership in the space & will invite other friends and family into our community space.
Savita Katarya (Rochester, MN) Savita works in cross-cultural leadership development and was connected to the CEO Tour in 2019. She identifies as an immigrant from India.
Jose Losada-Montero (Marshall, MN) Jose was a contact of a former MHC staffperson (Kirk MacKinnon Morrow). He is a Spanish professor at SMSU. He identifies as an immigrant from Spain.
Juan Fernandez-Iglesias (Winona, MN) Juan Fernandez-Iglesias is a Winona State University Global Studies and Languages professor, and has blogged for MHC previously. He identifies as an immigrant from Spain.
Minnesota Humanities Center
$850,000 the first year and $850,000 the second year are for a competitive grants program to provide grants to preserve and promote the cultural heritage of Minnesota.
The Minnesota Humanities Center must operate a competitive grants program to provide grants to programs that preserve and honor the cultural heritage of Minnesota or that provide education and student outreach on cultural diversity or to programs that empower communities to build their identity and culture. Priority must be given to grants for individuals and organizations working to create, celebrate, and teach indigenous arts and cultural activities and arts organizations and programs preserving, sharing, and educating on the arts and cultural heritage of immigrant communities in Minnesota.
- Community Participation: 100-200 community members participate in the project (tracked through sign-in sheets), and at least 75% of those surveyed will report experiencing a sense of intergenerational collaboration and connection.
- Community Ownership: 75% or more of new visitors or returning clients report feeling welcome and a sense of increased ownership in the space. We will assess this using short surveys and dialogue with visitors.
- Cultural Identification: 75% of participants (artists and community members) report feeling an increased sense of belonging and cultural representation through the arts.
- Community Safety & Mental Health: Latino community members spend time in our building – looking at art, relaxing, connecting with friends and strangers, playing with their children, etc. This success will be evaluated informally by staff who spend time in the lobby, and who can comment on increased participation and happiness in the space. CLUES mental health professionals will be asked for input about how their clients respond positively to the space and the art.
- Uplifting Latino Artists: Latino artists will expand their portfolio and 75% of participating artists will report feeling that they gained increased exposure and connection to other Latino artists through the project.
CLUES is proud to celebrate our achievements over the past year, including updates to our gallery space, exhibits, workshops, and public arts. During this grant period we started our Community-Engaged Latino Artist Collaborative, a 7-month program for Latino artists to work together, learn from each other, share skills, and gain experience in community-engaged art practice and collaborative work. Originally scheduled to start in May 2020, it was rescheduled and started in May 2021.
We could not have anticipated the unprecedented challenges caused by the dual crisis of a racial injustices and the COVID-19 pandemic. To address these challenges, we postponed, cancelled, and or changed many of our programs, community engagement goals, and exhibit plans. This added significant amounts of work because we had to start from scratch several times on most of our programs and goals. However, we remained committed to adapting and changing along with our community as needed.
During the beginning of the pandemic, when we weren’t sure when we would be able to open again, we tried out various new strategies, with varied results, including Facebook Live workshops, outdoor public art as a “street gallery”, virtual gallery tours, etc. After September 2020, we were able to better create successful programming based on what we learned during the summer.
Our gallery was closed to the public, due to COVID, severely reducing our visitors and ability to survey. However, comments from Facebook live and other online events, garnering an incredible 800 to 1,500 views, had overwhelmingly positive comments. Our workshops also had positive responses, indicating increased community connection.
In August 2021, Artist in residence Juan Chawuk created an 8-panel painted mural representing the work of CLUES and the Latino community in Minnesota. Chawuk is a master painter and an indigenous Maya Tojolabal muralist. As part of his residency, he engaged in about a dozen community workshops with CLUES participants and the broader community. The mural was unveiled in September of 2021, at our Fiesta Latina celebration. The mural received a lot of attention, including a story on MPR (https://www.mprnews.org/story/2021/09/17/culture-as-cure), and other outlets. The name of the mural is “Al Ritmo de la Migracion del Universo” which means “To the Rhythm of Migration of the Universe”, representing our movements and interconnectedness as human beings and as Latinos.
In September, we opened our Muralismo Minnesotano exhibit. This was a culmination of our public art project, celebrating 40 years of CLUES and 100 years of the muralist movement. The opening was at Fiesta Latina, where we provided guided tours to several hundred individuals, and engaged families in 10 different art activities with teaching artists, reaching about 1,500 people in person. The exhibit was covered by MPR (see above), and other sources. A virtual guided tour can be viewed here: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ot9F2zlKoHM), and a summary of the exhibit can be viewed here: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uw96GrccCEc)
We exceeded our community involvement goals (community input from 200 community members, and art activities for 100-200 people). The input process for the various murals exceeded 200 individuals, and the estimate for participants at art activities is around 2,000 individuals.