From Adriana Rios, Program Assistant, National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures –
Villa-Calvo’s work, Barrier Free supports the power of art to celebrate diversity, create empathy, and unite communities. Reflecting on the controversially proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, Barrier Free is a large-scale art installation that engages the audience to express themselves by questioning physical and intangible barriers that divide families and communities through deportation, travel bans, mass incarceration, intolerance, and discrimination. Barrier Free uses symbols centering around nationality, race, religion, sexual orientation and identity, gender and socioeconomic status. The goals of Barrier Free are to engage diverse groups in self-expression and reflection, to provoke empathy and to encourage active civic engagement.
“Our newest NALAC Fund for the Arts grantees represent the possibilities of a more equitable future for Latinx people in the United States,” said NALAC President & CEO María López de León. “NALAC is committed to directly supporting artists who continue to create new work amplifying the stories of our diverse communities and identities. Likewise, we champion and advocate for Latino arts organizations that create safe spaces for expression in these uncertain times.”
To date, NALAC has awarded over 500 grants to the Latino arts and cultures field, reflecting an investment of $2.5 million across 35 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and México. NALAC has also supported transnational partnerships, most recently through our Transnational Cultural Remittances Travel Awards that allowed artists to collaborate with peers in Mexico, Costa Rica, and Cuba.
The NALAC Fund for the Arts was launched in 2005 with major support from the Ford Foundation. This year’s NALAC Fund for the Arts grants are made possible with generous support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Ford Foundation, Southwest Airlines, Surdna Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, City of San Antonio Department of Arts and Culture, and the Donor Collaborative of the Adán Medrano Legacy Award.