A venue for Latinos to show artistic side | PostIndependent.com

A venue for Latinos to show artistic side

For many Latinos in our area, life is all about survival. From cleaning hotels to building houses, they take whatever jobs they can get. They’re thankful for the opportunity to make more money than they could imagine earning in the economically depressed places from where they came, and often send much of it back home to support their extended families.

Such lifestyles often don’t leave room for much artistic expression. And casual observers might not guess how many working Latinos have a creative side waiting to express itself.

But just as some local Latinos holding down manual labor jobs in our valleys have worked in the medical field, as teachers and in other highly skilled professions in their native countries, others have artistic talents that have remained under wraps since their arrival here.

Now they’re getting a new opportunity to share their gift.

Linda McKeown is opening the Latino Community Artisans Collective in Carbondale in hopes of providing a venue for these hidden talents.

She sees the collective as a means for showing off Latino culture, and reminding Anglos in the valley that Latinos are multidimensional, and not merely laborers.

McKeown’s venture is a welcome new way for improving relations between differing cultures locally. Coming just on the heels of the creation of a Latino Rotary Club, it’s yet another opportunity for breaking down cultural barriers and boosting the bonds between Latinos and Anglos in daily life in our valleys. Such opportunities are becoming all the more important as the area’s Latino community continues to grow.

The collective also will be a chance to show that Latinos aren’t one community, but many, with cultures as diverse as the countries they come from. By showing art from various regions of Latin America, the gallery will remind us of just how much the arrival of Latinos has not only boosted our workforce, but also culturally enriched our valley.

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