by Tom Sims
It was a friend’s birthday. As a resident of the Cultural Arts District near downtown Fresno, Ashley Cortes and her husband Sergio decided to showcase four local venues that they love and wanted to support for a movable feast birthday celebration.
My wife and I decided to attend the Arte Americas gathering. It was small, the right time of day, and a place we wanted to visit. We arrived early, early enough to be greeted by Executive Director and Curator, Frank L. Delgado.
Frank is a congenial, enthusiastic, and extremely knowledgeable curator and champion of the arts, especially, the visual arts. The show that month was Four Degrees of Separation. It was the fourth stage of a five-year project, celebrating the artistic contributions of women and especially local Latino women.
I am not a sophisticated connoisseur of art, but I was spell-bound by the variety, depth, expressions, emotions, and creativity on display. Frank’s understanding of each artist, her chosen medium, her stylistic signature, and her experiences breathed life into our own experience. What a privilege it was to receive a guided tour by the curator!
The mission of Arte Americas is “to create a flourishing place for Latino Art in the Central Valley.” With 10,000 feet of well-designed floor space, a location in the heart of the city, and a park for outdoor events, this institution is fulfilling its mission with each major event. It has been doing so for over thirty years. Not only paintings and sculpture have been featured, but poetry, film, photography, music, drama, and non-traditional media. In fact, while we were there, somewhat after-hours, an old friend of the organization from Mexico, a noted concert pianist, came by, was introduced, and proceeded to the piano to accompany our tour with lovely classical music.
According to the website, “Our cultural center is a celebration of arts in Mexico, Latin America, the Southwest, and California today; with a focus on the ability of art to be both culturally specific and universally understood.”
Arte Americas is about creating community among artists and people who appreciate the arts and culture. As a center of influence, they introduce people to each other who need to know each other. These are people that we need to know because of the energy and synergy they create together.
New shows are introduced every few months. For the remainder of July, the museum and the outdoor concert venue are closed preparing for the next show. They will reopen August 2.
Arte Americas’ space includes classrooms, three galleries, two gift shops, a Latino literature and history library, and an outdoor venue for their Summer concert series, Nights in the Plaza, which “features a diverse variety of top-tier musical performances under the stars. The events are hosted in the beautifully landscaped outdoor venue (that measures half a city block) directly adjacent to the cultural center.”
The schedule for August and September can be found on their website. Check the schedule, website, Facebook page, and other links for the best times to visit…but DO VISIT!
Arte Américas – Casa De La Cultura
1630 Van Ness Fresno CA 93721
Directions: 1630 Van Ness Ave, Fresno, CA 93721 Google Map Directions
MAIN: (559) 266-2623
FAX: (559) 268-6130
Thursday-Saturday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
On the Web: Arte Américas – Casa De La Cultura
On YouTube: Arte Americas Fresno
On Facebook: Arte Americas