Puyallup: News

For first time ever, Karshner Museum presents celebration of Latino culture

Bailadore de Bronce will present Mexican dance lessons in Karshner Museum’s Great Hall during Saturday’s Dia de la Raza celebration.
Bailadore de Bronce will present Mexican dance lessons in Karshner Museum’s Great Hall during Saturday’s Dia de la Raza celebration. Courtesy

Children and families will get a chance to explore and learn about Latin culture from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 24), during Día de la Raza, or Day of the People, at Puyallup School District’s Karshner Museum and Center for Culture & Arts. Admission is free.

“It’s a festival of Latino cultures, featuring music, arts and dance,” said Lynda Belt, exhibit designer and event planner for Karshner Museum.

The event, which is presented in partnership with Tacoma’s Broadway Center for Performing Arts, marks the first time Latino culture has been celebrated at Karshner Museum.

The Saturday celebration is the first of six “arts and culture” events presented at Karshner throughout the coming year that aim to engage the broader Puyallup and Pierce County community in the arts and provide opportunities to visit the district-owned museum, Belt said.

The Latino celebration was made possible by grant funding from the Washington State Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, D.C., and Humanities Washington.

“Humanities Washington paid for the performing arts and art supplies,” Belt said. “Broadway Center provided marketing support and event production. We received some in-district funding.”

Belt is also thankful for the help from Antonio Gomez, the assistant director of education at Broadway Center and member of the speaker’s bureau for Humanities Washington.

“(Gomez) is an expert in Latino music and world percussion,” Belt said. “He is in a band that will be performing on Saturday.”

Starting at 1:15 p.m. in the museum’s Great Hall, Gomez’s five-member band, Pachanga Alert!, will perform a broad range of Latin music originating from Chile, Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela, Argentina and Colombia.

Throughout the day there will be Mexican dance lessons taught by Bailadores de Bronce, Latino-themed art projects and screenings of the PBS series “Latino Americans.”

Bailadores de Bronce is a folk art dance troupe based in Seattle that was founded at the University of Washington.

“Different cultures will be represented with different dances,” Belt said. “Each village has different costumes. (The performance) will be done in the Great Hall.”

Some of the art projects will include Papél Picado-paper cut banners common in Latin-American festivals. Artifacts pertaining to Latin culture from the Karshner Museum collection will also be out on display.

Belt said the event has been advertised to local Hispanic businesses and grocery stores. Information about the program was also targeted to Hispanic and Latino families served by the Puyallup School District. But the event aims to serve people of all color and nationalities, she said.

“It’s trying to raise alertness about different cultures,” Belt said. “It’s all about making us more appreciative of different cultures and traditions.”

Belt, who taught art and drama in the Puyallup School District for more than 30 years, will lead some of the art projects Saturday. She’s most excited about watching the folklore dancing.

“I hope (children) take home an appreciation of the variety of cultures, of art and style, and that they take home an art project that they created,” Belt said.

One of the grants received from the Washington State Arts Commission was a $1,000 innovation grant.

“We are going to get a photographer (with the grant) to photograph our community being involved with the performers at all the events over the year and film kids doing the art projects,” Belt said.

The photographer will present a digital art show presenting all the images at the sixth and final “arts and culture” events.

The next event will be Tour of Asia from noon to 5 p.m. Nov. 14.

Dance and art projects will be presented that day, celebrating Asian and Polynesian cultures, in partnership with Asia Pacific Cultural Center. Admission is free.

Andrew Fickes: 253-503-3965