New York artist Jose Flores submits winning design in celebration of Latino heritage

WASHINGTON, D.C. Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino (FRIENDS) announced today the winner of its 10th Annual Design Contest in celebration of Latino heritage in the US. José Flores is an artist from New York with roots in Guatemala. He won for his submission titled, Fly Little Quetzal (pictured above).

I am extremely honored and humbled to be chosen,” said Flores, who is a self-taught painter in watercolors, acrylics and digital art forms. “Our story and history is so often not brought to the surface. Having [a Latino] museum would be a beacon of light for our community,” said Flores, who is founder of Sangre Indígena Art, an art studio in New York that works with indigenous peoples throughout the Americas.

Flores said his inspiration for Fly Little Quetzal was drawn from the ancient traditions of Mayan culture. “Very often, indigenous communities throughout Latin America and here in the US do not see themselves in the mainstream,” said Flores. “I want to help change that. Indigenous people and culture are an important and crucial piece of the general Latin culture and, therefore, it needs to be magnified more. Winning this contest does just that,” he continued.

Each year, the annual contest invites artists from around the country to share their vision of what American Latino history means to them. Flores’ winning design garnered the highest number of votes after the public had an opportunity to vote on a Top 10 gallery of finalists in the week leading up to Cinco de Mayo. 

“The design José submitted gorgeously highlights the strength, beauty and courage of Latinos in the US and beyond,” said FRIENDS Board Chair Lili Gil Valletta. “Telling the story of Latinos Americans through Latino artists is so very crucial to the advancement of our community and the museum initiative because it means we are being seen and heard in an authentic way,” said Gil Valletta. 

This year’s contest received more than 300 submissions from artists across the US, the most entries submitted in the history of the contest. 

“As history has repeatedly taught us, art inspires action. Public interest surrounding our 10th Annual Design Contest reached more than 150,000 people on social media and generated more than 4,000 visits to our website,, proving that telling our story in an artistic manner is a vital part of our grassroots efforts,” said FRIENDS President & CEO Estuardo Rodriguez. 

Flores’ winning design will be featured in 2021 campaign materials, posters, flyers and digital imagery to support fundraising and advocacy efforts by FRIENDS to secure the best location on the National Mall for the future Smithsonian National Museum of the American Latino. In addition, Flores is the winner of a $500 Target gift card.

The 2021 contest was made possible by the generous support of AARP and Target Corporation.