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Raíces Culturales Latinoamericanas, Inc. is one of several organizations who will be partnering with us for this year’s Art for the Cash Poor 14. Look for work by their artists and learn more about their monthly programming June 7, 8, and 9.

Can you tell me about your organization’s history and how it got started?

Raíces Culturales Latinoamericanas, Inc. (Raices) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts and culture organization founded in 1991 by a coalition of Latin American folkloric dancers and musicians. Our mission is to support, promote and increase public awareness of the richness, beauty and diversity of Latin American cultures and their roots through performing and visual arts, and dynamic educational programs. Raíces translates to ROOTS in Spanish and for 22 years we have been preserving the roots that gave birth to Latino arts & culture, by sharing the beauty, diversity, and tradition of Latin American folklore and art forms.

What kind of programming do you typically hold?

Raíces provides cultural presentations and tailored arts education programs at schools, colleges, universities, museums, hospitals, and other private and public events. In addition to music and dance classes, weekly jam sessions – our signature Tertulia program – present cultural lectures and performances in a café atmosphere , Latin Rhythms & Roots festivals and educational workshops tailored to groups of young people and adults. In 2012, Raíces presented a full season of programs and reached over 62,000 people.

Can you tell me more about your dance studio and what types of classes people can sign up for?

Raíces offers community dancers and musicians affordable rates to practice and teach their craft:
Afro Cuban Orisha- Tuesdays @ 7pm
Salsa Classes for Adults- Thursdays @7:15 pm
Flamenco-Saturdays@4-5:30 pm Beginners: 5:30-7 pm

Can you tell me more about the Tertulias? What kind of turnout do you typically get?

On the last Friday of every other month, we convert the Crane Old School’s White Space to host our signature public program the Tertulia. Tertulia is a term used during the Franco era in Spain for literary salons usually held in a café setting. Raíces presents lectures and discussions on a wide range of cultural topics. At the end of each Tertulia, we open the microphone to any individual or group to share their talents in music, poetry and dance. We call this experience a cultural encounter in the café atmosphere, a retreat for the soul.

Do you have any other upcoming events planned?

Raíces will present Tertulias the last Friday in July, September and November. Upcoming topics include: “Artistic Expressions of Immigrant Youth”; “Hispanic Heritage Month”; and “Why aren’t you buying Venezuela chocolate? The history of Venezuelan Chocolate.”

Raíces holds a weekly Descarga or community (live) music jam session organized by Johnny Cruz Latin Band Ensemble every Sunday, 2 – 5 pm.

This free event provides local artists a great opportunity to practice and share their gifts with their instruments and vocals. It is held at Raices Talentos Studio on 1417 N. Second Street in the first floor annex.

Visit Raices website for updates: www.raicesculturales.org

What is the most important message that you hope people will take away from your organization?

Through artistic and cultural expression, Raíces seeks to give voice to those who are often not heard within our society, to challenge stereotypes and to empower, stimulate and inspire individuals and communities to explore diverse cultures and seek common ground.

Kevin Broad

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