The Smithsonian Latino Center has announced it will grant funds from the Latino Initiatives Pool to nine Smithsonian projects in support of research, collecting, exhibitions and programming related to the impact of COVID-19 on Latinos. An internal review panel selected five Smithsonian museums and centers for support totaling $199,800 during a special, out-of-cycle call for proposals.
“Given the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on the Latino community and the exigencies of these times, we felt it necessary to provide opportunities for the units to address the pertinent issues,” said Eduardo Díaz, director of the Smithsonian Latino Center.
The Latino Initiatives Pool is a federal fund managed by the Smithsonian Latino Center. It provides financial support to Smithsonian units for exhibits, research, collections, conservation, archival work, and school and public programs. LIP-funded projects further the understanding and appreciation of Latino contributions in the areas of science, history, art and culture.
These are the selected projects, the requesting units and project summaries:
- “Latino Art in a Pandemic,” Archives of American Art, conducts a series of short oral-history interviews to gauge the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on diverse communities, the consequences of social isolation and the economic crisis, and enrich the understanding of the Latino experience and identity in American art during this time.
- “DC-area Latinx Food Workers and Food Businesses in the Era of COVID-19,” Anacostia Community Museum, documents the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Latino food workers and food businesses in the region for a future exhibition.
- “Empowering the Latinx Community Through Digital Design Resources,” Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, increases access to the museum’s Latino and other design resources as well as underscores the shared humanity and vulnerability during this time.
- “Collective Care: Responding to COVID-19 in Puerto Rico,” National Museum of American History, starts a research and collecting initiative that builds on ongoing work in and with communities in Puerto Rico to document and collect physical objects and born-digital assets related to the impact of COVID-19 on the island.
- “¡Escúchame! Spanish-language Television in the United States, 1950–2020,” National Museum of American History, explores the impact of COVID-19 on Spanish-language broadcasting.
- “Mary’s Center during COVID-19,” National Museum of American History, documents the experiences of the staff and patients of Mary’s Center, a Washington, D.C., community health center, and its affiliated bilingual public charter school. Digital engagement and collecting strategies will also be piloted.
- “New York City Latino COVID-19 Collecting Initiative,” National Museum of American History, collects Latino stories of front-line workers, patients and their families, business owners and employees affected by the work stoppage, and undocumented recovery workers.
- “Día de los Muertos at the Portrait Gallery,” National Portrait Gallery, creates a Día de los Muertos program on the steps of the museum, featuring a video and sound installation that will be projected onto the facade of the building. The artist produced installation will incorporate images of victims of COVID-19 and traditional Día de los Muertos iconography.
- “Telling Our Stories: Portraits by Latinx Youth and Their Families in the DMV,” National Portrait Gallery, develops a workshop series in collaboration with a local artist and equips participating students and caregivers with the tools to recount their own stories.