FRIENDS APPLAUDS THE SMITHSONIAN’S ANNOUNCEMENT TO PRIORITIZE FOUR LOCATIONS FOR FUTURE LATINO MUSEUM

Washington, D.C. – Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino (FRIENDS) celebrates the Smithsonian Institution’s statement this morning announcing that it will prioritize four locations for the future National Museum of the American Latino and the National Women’s History Museum. Those locations include the Arts and Industries Building, the Northwest Capitol site, the South Monument site, and the Tidal Basin site. This announcement is a clear statement on the significance of these museums to our American history, and highlights the importance of placing them front and center, shoulder-to-shoulder with all of the other significant museums on the National Mall. 

“FRIENDS applauds and is grateful to the Smithsonian Institution, Secretary Lonnie Bunch, Director Jorge Zamanillo, the Board of Trustees, and the entire leadership team for prioritizing the recommendations of the National Museum of the American Latino Commission 2011 report,” said FRIENDS President & CEO Estuardo Rodriguez. “Choosing a location for this spectacular museum is a momentous decision, which is why we remain committed to working in a unified and collaborative manner in support of the Smithsonian to ensure that a pathway is clear for each of these identified locations.” 

The locations announced include three of the priority locations recommended by the National Museum of the American Latino Commission in their 2011 report. Each one of these locations, apart from the Arts and Industries Building, will require action by Congress and/or federal agencies with jurisdiction. 

“The work for the community, public officials, and corporate leaders is clear. Now, more than ever, is the time to form a collective effort to elevate the importance of the four sites, offer support to the Smithsonian in its work to secure the best locations, and ensure the sites are available to the Smithsonian for both museums,” said Lili Gil Valletta, FRIENDS Board Chair. “FRIENDS remains committed to ensuring the White House, Congress, and related federal agencies, do everything in their power to build the National Museum of the American Latino, along with the National Women’s History Museum, on the National Mall.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Friends of the American Latino Museum (FRIENDS) today announced its 11th Annual Design Contest with a call for artists to submit their best work that depicts and celebrates Latino history and culture in the United States. This year’s design contest theme is “Build it on the National Mall.” The top 10 designs will advance to a national round where the public can vote on their favorite design. As in previous years, the submission with the most votes will be deemed the winner and receive a $500 gift card. In addition, their artwork will appear across the many digital and in-person platforms of the FRIENDS campaign, including posters and promotional materials throughout the remainder of the year.

“It is a great honor to have provided artists over the past decade an opportunity to share their vision of the future National Museum of the American Latino through art,” said Estuardo Rodriguez, President and CEO of FRIENDS. “Artistic expression is something that leaves a lasting impression in our country’s collective hearts, minds and history. Our nation’s Latino and Latina artists have been telling the authentic story of our community for hundreds of years. We must honor them and lift up the next generation. It is my hope that our Design Contest will help spotlight the next great Latino artist and one day their work will be displayed in our future museum on the National Mall for the world to see.”

“There are so many undiscovered talents that we hope to bring forth into the spotlight through this competition. Latino artists and their artwork have been, historically, left out of Smithsonian museums, according to a 1994 report called ‘Willful Neglect,’ which is what spurred the movement to create a National Latino Museum. Until we build a National Museum of the American Latino on the National Mall, it is our duty to continue to highlight those who are bringing together their talent, creativity and culture to elevate our voices and impact to this great nation,” said Lili Gil Valletta, Board Chair of FRIENDS and President & CEO of Cien+.

Presented with the generous support of Target and AARP, the 11th Annual Design Contest celebrates the Latino community’s rich heritage and talent, inviting artists to share their vision of what American Latino history means to them.

“As Chief Diversity Officer, I am immensely proud to sponsor the American Latino Design Contest this year. AARP’s commitment to inclusion started with our founding in 1958 and we continuously work to become a model DEI organization. The level of passion the Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino brings to their work on the National Mall is admirable and something AARP strives to emulate,” stated Edna Kane Williams, Executive Vice President & Chief Diversity Officer at AARP.

Previous winners have included Latino painters, designers, and illustrators from coast to coast and everywhere in between who represent the full diversity of American Latinos in the US.

The deadline for artists to submit their designs is April 28, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. PST. Public voting begins on our Facebook page from May 2, 2022, through May 4, 2022. The winning artist and design will be announced on Cinco de Mayo, May 5, 2022.