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K-State Today

November 28, 2017

Broyles-González participates in Latino/a Arts and Culture Kansas City summit

Submitted by Russell Norris

Yolanda Broyles-González, head of the American ethnic studies department, was among the 30 invitees of the Kansas Department of Commerce Creative Arts Industries Commission to a Latino Arts and Culture summit on Nov. 14.

The commission invited 30 "leading Latino/a arts leaders from across Kansas and the Great Plains region" to assess the state of Latino arts and culture in the area, to create communication networks, to develop strategies to increase artistic resources, and promote the status of the Midwest in national cultural conversations.

Among the 30 cultural arts and civic representatives from across Kansas and the Great Plains were Maribel S. Arbelaez, the Museo Latino in Omaha, Nebraska; Teliza Rodriguez, the Museum of Nebraska Art in Kearney, Nebraska; and Robert M. Ruiz, the Academic OKC in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and the Scissortail Community Development Corporation of Oklahoma City. The event included individual artists as well as representatives from organizations such as the Latino Writers Collective; Mary Lou Jaramillo, the Johnson County Latina Leadership Network; and Armando Minjarez, the Seed House-La Casa de la Semilla of Wichita.

The all-day event was held at the Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center in Kansas City. In some measure this summit was responding to a relative lack of infrastructure to meet the reality of a skyrocketing Latino/a population in Kansas, the Great Plains and the entire United States. Latinos/as are already the largest United States ethnic minority group, the largest minority group in Kansas, and they form the majority in several states. However, their "inclusion" within existing organizations remains to be seen. The Kansas City event is historic because it was the first of its kind, and because it has established a strong new network of cooperating organizations and key individuals across the Great Plains.

History was revisited through remembrances of how parts of Kansas were part of Mexico before Kansas was annexed by the United States. Various participants recalled the longstanding history of Latina/o presence in what is now Kansas, under discussion was the theme of "We did not cross the border; the border crossed us." Another main topic discussed was a model arts and culture ecosystem: Arts and cultural organizations operating characteristics, decisions, and outcomes. This event marks a significant path-breaking beginning.